Let's face it: resumes are not fun to read. For hiring managers especially, reading through piles and piles of resumes can be a monotonous chore. If you want to go far in the hiring process, you have to make your resume compelling. Here are a few ways to do just that, without sacrificing integrity.
Use a Career Summary
Replace the objective statement at the top of your resume with a brief career summary. While many candidates are leading with a dull sentence about what they are seeking, you start strong with a quick blurb that explains who you are and what you can do for the company. Your career summary is somewhat like an elevator pitch: it sums up your key accomplishments and strengths in a 30-second paragraph. If a hiring manager only devotes a few seconds to scanning your resume, at least they'll get the juicy bits first.
Focus on Achievements, Not Responsibilities
Listing your mundane day-to-day responsibilities under each job entry doesn't add a lot of value or panache to your resume. The reader doesn't really care to know that you can answer phones and operate a fax machine. Instead, think about what you did really well in your previous positions: what are a few things your former boss would remember you for? This is the type of interesting information a potential employer would like to see in your resume. Wherever possible, amplify your achievements with real data, such as statistics and monetary figures.
Use a Simple Format
Keep your resume as concise and clean as possible; no one wants to forge through blocks of text to get to the interesting information. Use bold text to separate sections, and focus on bullet points instead of full sentences. It should be easy to scan your resume within a few seconds and get the gist of what you can offer. Unless you're going for a graphic design or very creative job, steer clear of fancy text and images, as they can be distracting.
Get Rid of Clichés
So many candidates use the same words and phrases in their resumes that after a while, hiring managers' eyes glaze over. Words such as "communicated," "assisted," "managed" and "detail-oriented" appear so often that they lose their power, so get creative where you can. Try using powerful verbs in place of common ones: for instance, say you "inspired," "guided" or "directed" a project or group of people, rather than simply managing them. It basically communicates the same thing, but the language is amplified. Consult online thesaurus sites and lists to help you come up with more interesting words to use throughout your resume.
While you're revamping your resume's language, be sure not to toe the line of truthfulness. The focus should be on making your work history and accomplishments shine, not padding your resume with falsehoods and embellishments. Use these strategies to bring interest to your resume and increase your chances of getting an interview.
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