I’m currently offering resume review services but thought I would share some insights on what has helped me land interviews and land jobs for myself and my friends/family.
This post is for people who have sent out resumes and:
1. not gotten even a single response back,
2. Have not updated their resume recently,
3. Don’t know how to improve their resumes, and/or
4. Want a job and don’t know where to start.
Ideally you’ll be well connected and able to to find a job through a friend or family who can recommend you for a position you really want, and therefore increasing your chances of landing it. But if you’re like 90% of the rest of us, you are not well connected and have no clue how to get you first or next opportunity. So you’ll do cold applying for job postings in your area. You’ll draft up a resume and send it out in a quick email.
Here are some ways to increase your chances of an interview.
A) Tailor Your Resume:
You might be applying for any job or a very niche job in your field. The biggest mistake I see is people not tailoring their resumes. They just slap all their experience together like, “Look how much I’ve done with my life. Hire me!” Nope, does not work like that. A recruiter or hiring manager might get hundreds of applications and spend 10-30 seconds reviewing applications for a specific job. The less specific your resume is to the position, the longer it will take a hiring manager to discern if your experience fits the role, making it more likely that they will cast your resume to the side.
You should be editing your resume for every single job you apply for. Yes, this is annoying and probably a very time consuming part of the search, but it works.
Ex: You previously had experience in retail, ringing up customers and meeting sales goals, keeping an area clean, and answering questions. Now you want to bar-tend and you just took a course in bar-tending. Your resume is tailored to retail, since that’s your previous experience. It would be a mistake to send it out to restaurants as is, because at first glance the hiring managers is going to be like, “this persons experience has nothing to do with the job.” They’re going to think about all the training they’ll need to invest in you, something they DON’T want to do. Rather, you should tailor your resume to show you graduated bar-tending school recently, education should be at the very top as most relevant and the work experience will be specific on what is transferable to bar tending. You’ll focus tailoring your retail experience to show you have customer service skills and sale skills to upsell drinks.
A resume for that purpose might look like this:
B) Keep It Simple
You want to keep your resume as digestible as possible. So that anyone scanning for specific information can find it. Resumes should be no longer than 1 page. You can adjust margins, text size and spacing but 1 page is enough to show your skills.
If you have limited work experience, add in any volunteer work that may be relevant
If you have a lot of experience in a specific area, you’ll want your experience to include ONLY what is both recent and relevant. You’ll want to include maybe 3-4 jobs you’ve had but be very detailed in the responsibilities you’ve had and tailor that to the job you are applying to.
Resumes don’t need to include ALL experience, just relevant experience.
If you’ve only worked at 1 company for a majority of your career you might want to break up your resume first by the company you worked for and then by the different roles you may have had in the company.
C) Write A Cover Letter In The Email Of The Job Post Response
This is essential. Too many people skip this step. They send out a generic “Hello, I’m interested in position X and am available X days. Please contact me via email or phone to schedule a visit.”
A message like that pretty much says you put zero to no thought into a message and are just hoping to land a job through mass mailing.
The body of the email is your opportunity! It’s the first thing a recruiter is going to read. It’s a great way to discuss your passion for the work you do or explain a gap in work. It can captivate, inspire and get that recruiter to open up the attachment. Then your perfectly tailored resume is going to tell the story of why you should be hired.
FYI- Never paste your resume in the body of the email. I’ve seen this before and it done to get recruiters to look at the resume right away. However it looks ugly, disorganized and is hard to share with other people if there are other decision makers. Don’t do it.
Hopefully you find this post useful in your job search. Let me know your feedback and feel free to like, share and follow!