Recently, I received a candidate’s resume for a Sales Position I was working, which did not contain any past success even though this candidate had been a sales person for 20+ years.
When I spoke with this candidate, I told him it would look better if he updated his resume with yearly quota attainment, large deals closed and/or sales awards – some way to show the company that this candidate was a successful Account Executive.
The updated resume I received back only had 4 words added to it in the career summary – “met quota every year” indicating either that: the candidate didn’t see the value of showing his success; he was lazy; or he wasn’t proud of his accomplishments.
While I know in the past we had to go to a professional printer to get copies of our resume printed making it difficult to update our resume for each job opening, this is no longer the case. Most if not all companies now accept digital copies of resumes.
Considering that companies receive numerous resumes for each job posting, follow these below steps to make sure your resume stands out:
Step 1: Ask yourself “Do I really want this job?”
While you can send the same generic resume to all job postings as was done in the past, you will have better results if you customize your resume so that it stands out among all the other resumes received. Are you willing to invest the minutes or hours to do this? If not, it may indicate you are not ready to leave your current position or it may indicate this opportunity is not for you.
Step 2: Ensure you meet all the requirements of the job opportunity
Make sure you meet ALL the requirements of the job opportunity. As a professional sales recruiter for the past six years, not meeting job requirements is the biggest reason resumes get rejected. For example, if one of the requirements of the job opportunity requests 5 years of Java programming and your only Java experience is a class you took in college, you are not a fit for this job.
To make sure your resume is noticed, it is a good idea to first print out the job opportunity and then beside each requirement, write down how you think you meet each requirement. See Best Writing Tips for 2014.
Step 2: Why me?
Once you determine that you are a great candidate for this position and you want this opportunity, list out two or more reasons why this company would benefit from hiring you versus any other candidate. Assume that your competition is someone who also meets all of the requirements of the position.
This determining of why you are the best candidate may take some time to figure out. You want to emphasize strengths that are unique to yourself which will benefit this company. As an example, if the requirement is data entry and you are a very meticulous person, this would be one of your strengths.
If you have a gap in your resume, identity what you have been doing to stay productive during this time.
Finally, if you switch jobs to different companies in the past because former managers reached out to you, this speaks very highly to your work ethic. Be sure to include this on your resume.
Step 3: Update your resume
Identify from the requirements and your strengths, why you are the best candidate for this position and then make it visible on your resume- see Your Resume will get More calls if you do this.
It should not require a total rewrite of your resume but instead it may require a few wording changes or adding of bullets. For example, a requirement could request scripting in Perl but on your resume you have “experienced at scripting languages”. You would add the word Perl into this line – “experienced at Perl and other scripting languages. “
Also, if one of the requirements you meet is buried under a job description in one of the lower bullets, move that bullet to the top of that job description.
For strengths, make sure these are clearly visible and examples identified in as many job descriptions as are relevant. For example, if you are sales rep that is great at closing net new business, under each sales job have a bullet that lists out 4 or 5 companies where you closed new opportunities.
Next, verify that your cell phone number, address and email address are correct in your resume.
Finally, review this article “7 Mistakes that make your resume look old” to ensure your resume is updated.
Step 5: Save resume file
Since this resume has been customized for a specific opportunity, remember to save this resume file accordingly (i.e. “John Doe Resume for ACME company”).
Take the time to update your resume with how you excel and see your chances of getting an interview increase significantly.