New Year, New Job: The Secret Ingredient Your Resume Needs

by Tom Lamendola
New Year, New Job

One of the most popular resolutions is our commitment to changing jobs in sequence with the calendar year. However, with the unemployment rate at 4.1% in November 2017, the likelihood that you’ll find greener pastures in January 2018 will be more difficult than it has been in the past ten years. Just to throw a little salt on the wound, the U.S. created 16,000 less jobs in November 2017 than October 2017.  I’m sure this hasn’t sounded like a pep talk up to this point, but there’s hope for you (and this commentary) just around the corner.

You see, the above statistics are just that…statistics; and they’re reported at a macro level with the goal of telling a story about the economy. Yet, identifying, applying, and ultimately receiving a job offer is at a much smaller, personal, micro level…which is you and your resume. The rapid increase in job application services, social media, and professional digital networking has made it all too easy for anyone to apply to any open position at any time. Not only are your competition the economic job report indicators, but you also must contend with artificial technology (AI), bots, and humans conditioned to search for key words. So, how do you win?

Customize your resume to the specific job and description you are applying to every time. In another blog I explained the six things every awesome resume possesses to help hiring authorities (and recruiters) recognize rock-star status candidates purely by resume alone. By customizing each resume and application based on the specifics of a job advertisement you are instantly raising the “hits” your resume will receive by a gatekeeper. Make sure you thoroughly read and understand the description.  Although, often what you see in a job advertisement doesn’t tell you the whole story, it does tell you what the company is looking for regarding resume content. Once you have read the job description, you must get real with yourself to avoid what many job seekers feel is the “application blackhole”, which is sending a high number of resumes to jobs without receiving a response. Ask yourself, “Am I the most qualified candidate for this position?” rather than, “Can I do this job?”.  You most likely will be able to convince yourself you can do the job. But, if you are not highly qualified for the position, you will not get past the gatekeeping system.

Now that you’ve established your qualifications, begin to match your current resume to that of the job description. Do you have similar industry experience? Does the content on your resume match the content within the description? These are the crucial words the gatekeeper will look for. If not, it’s time to edit your resume to match details of the job description. However, this doesn’t mean to exaggerate your skills or the experiences you possess; you must stay within yourself. Pay close attention to the product, process, technical, and specific service knowledge and be sure to include in your resume.

Lastly, consider the format of your resume. Stay away from any non-traditional fonts, styles, graphs, and pictures (unless you are a graphic designer), as most do not transition well from one system to the next.  Make sure spelling and grammar is correct, too. Bullets and spacing should be consistent, and perhaps have another person proofread it for you. Once you’re confident your resume matches your qualifications—which match the job description—hit the apply button and be the first to fulfill your 2018 New Year’s Resolution!

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