In today’s job economy, hundreds and often thousands of resumes are submitted to any given job offer online. This makes it incredibly difficult to craft a resume that stands out from the rest. On the surface, a resume is nothing more than a piece of paper with a few over exaggerated bullet points, yet it is one of the only tools we have for getting noticed by recruiters. Crafting a stand-out resume takes time and effort, but it will pay back ten-fold when you land a job that fulfills you and pays you what you’re worth.
The Art of Resume Crafting
Fortunately, there is a way to craft a resume that gives you an edge over the majority. I’ve spent the last several years crafting and perfecting resumes to get noticed over thousands of applicants at top firms such as Ford Motor Company, Tesla Motors, Mercedes-Benz, and UPS. Today, I want to share the sections, keywords, and details to include in your resume that will tremendously boost your visibility and impact.
The One-Sentence Pitch
Including a one-paragraph career objective is no longer necessary, and can actually hurt instead of help you. The average recruiter spends an average of six seconds glancing at your resume, and it’s your job to give that recruiter something to get excited about. At the very top of your resume, write a highly descriptive one-sentence summary statement about yourself. Think of this as your elevator pitch to the recruiter.
Here’s an example of a pitch I wrote to get noticed by one of the most revered companies in the world, Tesla Motors:
Experienced analyst with an entrepreneurial mindset looking for a highly challenging, collaborative and diverse role within a progressive, innovative, young, and growing company in the Bay Area.
This sentence is simple, but is packed with almost everything the recruiter needs to know in order to offer me an interview. Without even looking at the rest of my resume, the recruiter has a good idea of who I am, what my experience is, and where I want to work.
Notice how the pitch specifically describes the type of company I want to work for in terms of location, culture, and prosperity. This shows that I know exactly what I want, and gives the impression that I’m going to get it, regardless of whether or not this specific company hires me. Even if you are unsure of what you want in a company, write down what you think you want and use this pitch to your advantage. It’s best to cater this one-liner specifically to every job you are applying to.
The Education Section
This is simple and should be included in every resume. Here, include your highest level of education, your GPA, your major/field of study, and the year you graduated.
The Work Experience Section
In the one-sentence pitch, you showed that you are experienced. Use this section to prove it. Write, in reverse chronological order, the companies you’ve worked for. For each company, include the following:
a) The name and location of the company
b) The years you worked at the company
c) Your role at the company
d) A descriptive (more below) summary of your role
e) A descriptive but short summary of a project you worked on
Every description in this section should start with a powerful action verb. Be sure to correlate your action verbs to the words you find bolded, highlighted, or repeated in the job description of the job you are applying to. If the job description lists “analytic skills” ten times, include it in your resume several times.
Most big firms use algorithms and resume management systems to filter resumes for certain keywords before a human will even look at them. Use the words you find in the job description to bypass this automated system, and get your resume in the hands of a recruiter. This is one of the best ways to get noticed, without doing too much extra work.
If going through job descriptions proves to be too much of a burden, use the following list of action-verbs as a start: created, developed, compiled, led, prepared, analyzed, and organized. I’ve found that these are strong words that are commonly found in most job descriptions.
The Leadership Experience Section
This section is more important for recent graduates, but can be applicable for everyone. In this section, list one or two organizations in which you’ve shown your leadership skills. These should preferably be out-of-work but work-related experiences. For example, I founded a personal development club in college, so I put that in my leadership section. Again, use key action words to describe your experience in this section.
The Activities and Skills Section
This section is where you can let your personality shine… a little. Don’t tell the recruiter about your problems, your last diary entry, or how much weight you benched last week, but use this section to show the recruiter that you are human, and not just some robot looking for a job. Here are a few points worth including:
a) Technical Skills: List any programs or coding languages you are proficient in.
b) Languages: List any languages you are at least conversationally proficient in.
c) Activities/Interests: Don’t be shy here. I’ve found that the more real and honest I am, the better my chances are at connecting with a recruiter. If you have a favorite activity, sport, or organization you belong to, be sure to include it here. I add world travel, meditation, surfing, yoga, blogging, and running to my interests section. One of the hiring managers at a company I worked for a few years ago was a big runner. Almost our entire interview was spent talking about running, and the next day I was offered the job. I’ve found the more I can connect with the interviewer, the higher my chance is of getting the job, regardless of my skills. After all, recruiters are human and love hiring people they feel connected to.
Odds and Ends
The most important aspect of your resume is that it gets you noticed. With the detailed one-sentence elevator pitch alone, you should have a tremendous advantage over many other standard resumes.
Make your resume interesting, and give the recruiter something to think about. What makes you unique? Add it in your interests, or in your one-sentence pitch. People can sense when you are being yourself and when you are being fake and phony, so experiment with ways you can present them with a little slice of “you” in the most professional way possible.
Best of luck on the job hunt!
About the Author: In addition to our regular posts, written by members of our team at English Trackers, we also encourage those who have something to say about language and are interested in penning a guest post for our blog to get in touch with us.
Alex Flores is a former financial engineer, now living in Medellin, Colombia. He helps craft top-tier resumes for college graduates with degrees in finance, business, and engineering. For more tips on resume writing, visit his website at resumechief.com. Alex also writes about lifestyle design, travel, fitness, and productivity on his personal blog: http://thescientistandthehustler.com/
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