Six ways to push your resume into the 'green pile'
We have all heard that a hiring manager only needs a 30 second (or less) glance at your resume to decide whether they will consider you for a position. This statistic assumes, however, that you are one of the lucky ones whose credentials get reviewed in the first place.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics February 2010 report, there are 6 job seekers for every job available. With these odds, candidates need to be more aggressive than ever in their job search. Most importantly, they need to know that it is ultimately that one document their resume that will get them a call for an interview.
Here are six tried and true ways to ensure that your resume gets viewed and placed in the "green pile" and not the "red pile" in 2010:
Individualize it. There are countless resume books that offer fancy canned resume phrases, but a savvy recruiter will see right through them. It's fine to use those phrases as writing prompts, but make sure to personalize them to reflect your unique capabilities. Ask a trusted colleague or a supervisor to provide insight into your qualifications and strong points.
Quantify it. It is great to write that you improved your company's sales numbers, brought in new clients, or reduced excessive expenditures, but the hiring manager will ask you to "show me the money". Make your resume stand out by quantifying your successes with hard numbers and statistics such as "Improved 2009 Q4 sales numbers by 24%" or "Signed 15 new clients during 2009". These numbers will help prove your worth to a company make you a much more attractive candidate.
Energize it. Avoid the temptation to use the same verb over again and again and remove ho-hum verbs like "provide" and "coordinate." If you need a little inspiration, try dictionary.com and conduct a synonym search.
Optimize it. Include keywords and tags at the bottom of your resume before you post it to the various online job sites and networks so it's searchable. You'll more likely be found by the human resources or hiring manger if your resume is tagged for words that describe your discipline, experience, and industry knowledge. Be very specific with tags and keywords that relate to your industry as this makes all the difference.
Trim it. Take a timeless tip from Mark Twain who said "If I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter" and remove all extraneous words until you get down to only the essential facts that will sell you.
Overnight it. In the digital age your resume can be read via e-mail in seconds. If it's a job you really want, you should mail your resume overnight so the human resources or hiring manger has to sign for it. They will be much more likely to read it.
Stephanie Daniel is vice president at Keystone Associates, a Boston career consulting firm.