Finding a job can be a long and excruciating process. Weeks of uncertainty, unfulfilling interviews, feeling like you can’t find a job you want, etc.—all of these can leave you feeling like you’ll never get your career back on track. What many job candidates overlook, however, is that one of the main causes of a prolonged job search is having a sub-par resume.
We get it: writing a resume can be tedious and downright boring. But don’t worry, with just a few small steps, you can make your resume stand out from the crowd. Before you know it, you’ll have the job you’ve always wanted.
#1: List your accomplishments, not past job descriptions.
Especially in fields like engineering, hiring managers are looking for people who can fill a particular role in their company or solve specific problems. So, how do they know you can fix those specific problems if your resume doesn’t say you’ve done that in the past? Focus on what you did during your past jobs, not what the job title was. What were the benefits of what you did? How did that help move your previous employer in the right direction?
#2: Quantify everything.
Similar to the previous point, it’s imperative that you show the numerical value of your hard work in your resume. In other words: show, don’t tell. Avoid using generic statements and, instead, back up your claims with numbers. Take these two relatively similar statements: “Improved workflow, resulting in increased efficiency and profits” versus “Improved workflow, which brought about a 9% increase in output and 2% higher margins.” Which candidate would you most want to higher?
#3: Tailor your resume to different jobs and industries.
Do you have one resume you use for every application? Get rid of it! Different jobs require different skill sets, so make sure you are highlighting the pertinent skills for each job you apply to. Use relevant keywords and showcase past accomplishments that fit in well with the role. If your resume shows the hiring manager that you are perfect for a specific role, your chances of being hired have just shot up dramatically.
#4: Avoid clichés.
Savvy, multitasker, hardworking—these are all the kinds of cliché buzzwords that hiring managers see over and over again. At first, using these kinds of words may sound like a good idea. But, keep in mind that thousands of other job applicants have used these words before you and will continue to do so after. As such, they have been used so much, that they have become meaningless. More importantly, however, they don’t really saying anything about you.
#5: Put a “career summary” instead of an “objective.”
In a similar vein to #4, the objective statement at the top of a resume has become a worn-out cliché. Most of them sound the same: “Seeking a fulfilling, but challenging position in the X field where I can do X, Y and Z.” This doesn’t say anything about you. Instead, fill it with a brief summary of your career. Tell the hiring manager who you are and what you do. That’ll grab their attention.