Is it time to toss out your old approach to your job search?

A new decade is upon us and it’s time to toss out those ill-conceived notions on how to format a resume and apply for jobs.  You have, at most, ten seconds to make yourself stand out from the thousands of other candidates pointing and clicking at the same jobs you are, so it’s important that you have done your homework.  Here are a few tips on how to break through and make sure that your resumé accurately represents that you are the one that will solve the employer’s needs.

  1. Tell employers what you accomplished, not what you did.  This is an important differentiation, and sometimes a difficult one, to make.  Use as facts, figures and statistics to help show that you were a valuable member of your former employer’s team.  This is difficult to do once you have left your job, so it is always important to track your performance and metrics in everything you do.  Keep a list of your sales #’s, revenue generated, new accounts, reactivated accounts, etc.
  2. Be sure that you are putting key information up front about you and your professional qualifications; the top of your resumé is not the place for a generic objective or “catch-all” summary.  This part can be all that a recruiter or HR professional reads, so make sure you show a good fit for the position you are applying for instead of throwing up a professional bucket list.
  3. DO NOT TRUST SPELL CHECK!  You truly do not get a second chance to make a first impression and I can’t think of a worse way to say “I’m careless, don’t care about your time and rush my work” than a resume with typos or grammatical errors.  It only takes one error to take you out of the running.  I know that when screening candidates for our openings, you don’t make it past phase one when you have an error in your introductory e-mail, cover letter or resume.
  4. Network, use all job resources and pay attention to timing!  The more people you have that are both aware of your job search goals and willing to help is priceless.  Attending industry association meetings, reaching out to recruiters, contacting old co-workers and attending special interest seminars are great ways to learn more about job opportunities and gain contacts likely to recommend you should a position open up.  Just because a company is not hiring at the moment, a vacancy may open up in the near future and you will be the first to know.