7 Tips on Boosting Your Resume Writing Skills
Looking for a job can be challenging. You need to attend to many details, including conducting due diligence on potential prospective employers, seeking professional references, practicing how to respond to interview questions and how to conduct yourself during an interview, and researching the salary range for the role that you are targeting. All these can be overwhelming and exhausting tempting you to recycle your old resume and top it with the latest work experience.
However, it would be best if you resisted the impulse. You need to grab the recruiter’s attention from the start to get an interview invite for that dream job. Let us look at some tips on how to write a resume that does precisely that:
1. Craft a Lead
All resume writing tips will tell you to always lead with your contact information. That is, the header should have your name, phone number, email address, and even social media and personal website links. However, the top of the page is an important area. If you hope to give the reader a reason to do more than a scan on your resume, you need to have something there that grabs their attention.
Hiring managers expect to see a summary paragraph that is more like a profile below the contact info that, in two to three sentences, briefly talks about your experience and training, and highlights the skills you possess relevant to the role you are seeking. Save the details for the latter part of your resume and cover letter.
2. Show Impact
The bulk of your resume should showcase your work experience and achievements. You should list the roles you have held in the past in chronological order starting with the latest to the oldest and adopt a results-driven approach to describe your duties and accomplishments. You should include meaningful information about how you impacted a project or a company.
You should use action verbs, and give specific examples and quantifiable results to show how you excelled in a position. For example, instead of saying, “I oversaw project management,” you could say, “I was project manager for a six-person team with impeccable deadline accuracy”. Additionally, you should include concrete numbers to show impacts such as saved costs, percentage growth in sales, solutions delivered, or other outcomes. The aim is to show that you made an impact.
3. Include Soft Skills
Interpersonal skills are critical to your career success. Skills such as effective writing and verbal communication, critical thinking, time management, creativity, and problem-solving are all priceless today. You should include these skills in your resume and not just list them but show them.
A skillfully written resume and cover letter are good places to showcase your writing skills (see tip No. 7). You should frame your work history and accomplishments to showcase your collaboration, adaptability, and leadership skills.
4. Highlight Tech Skills
Showcase your software skills and technical knowledge. For example, if you are seeking an administrative assistant position or similar role, you should highlight your Microsoft Office skills. Going further to indicate the level of proficiency against each of the suites is recommended.
Some jobs will require more advanced tech skills which will be listed in the job description. List the tech certifications you have and mention the software you have used in a previous role to show experience.
5. Be Unique
Be sure to highlight talents that you possess that are specifically relevant to the position or company. For example, being multilingual can give you an edge, or your role in organizing a meetup group of professionals can show leadership skills. Use your unique abilities to stand out.
Most hiring managers like an all-rounded employee who has more to offer than the required job skills. Therefore, do not shy away from mentioning some outside interests. Just do not include lots of personal pursuits as a resume is a professional document.
6. Include Keywords
Some hiring managers are busy people and employ the use of tech to scan through hundreds of resumes and cover letters for the keywords used in their job postings. Therefore, it is a good idea to use the exact words used in the job description to tailor your resume for the jobs you reply to. For example, use “maintaining executives’ calendars,” as it is instead of a more casual phrase like “keeping track of schedules.”
A recruiter sorting through a dozen or more resumes of qualified applicants is looking for a reason to remove an applicant from consideration. So, to ensure you do not give him/her one, you should meticulously proofread your resume for fluff and ambiguity, and run it on grammar and spell-checker software. Read your resume aloud and slowly focusing on each word and even ask a friend to double-check it for you. One typo could make all the difference.