Two Secrets to a Successful Resume (to Get Past the ATS and Impress the Hiring Team)
I’m going to let you in on TWO little secrets that will drastically improve your resume, ensure it gets past the ATS, and make writing a lot easier:
#1. YOUR RESUME IS NOT ABOUT YOU.
Sure, it includes your accomplishments, education, and credentials, but your resume isn’t for YOU.
Your resume is for your potential employer, so we have to target your resume to them, detailing the benefits they will get from hiring you.
In order to succeed in today's job market, you have to think of your resume as an advertisement targeted towards your future boss.
This is the single biggest hurdle you have to overcome when writing your resume, but will give you a huge advantage over the other candidates who aren’t writing their resume with the employer in mind.
Just think: when the hiring team is searching through the stack of resumes, what are they looking for? They’re looking for an ideal candidate that matches the job posting, someone who can help THEM succeed in achieving THEIR goals.
They sadly don't care much about what you want (which is why an Objective Statement that describes your career desires is now outdated).
So, what are THEIR goals?
Well, nearly all companies exist to MAKE MONEY. Companies and even schools, hospitals, nonprofits, etc. cannot operate without money, so it is the driving force behind most businesses.
If you can demonstrate how you can help the company make money (by increasing profits, saving money, saving time, or preventing/solving problems or issues), you have a much better chance of getting the hiring team's attention.
#2. YOUR RESUME NEEDS A CLEAR FOCUS.
The most successful resumes are targeted to a desired job, with a clear focus. In other words, you need to target your resume to the job posting.
Every other resume writing trick you implement is useless if your resume never gets seen in the first place because you didn’t target your resume to the desired job.
Realize that the company you're applying to has a specific job to fill with specific duties, skills and requirements and is trying to find the BEST match for that job.
To help them find the best match, they use applicant tracking software (ATS) to search for important key words, skills, duties and requirements from the job posting in each resume. If your resume does not have those key words, you aren’t picked up as a possible candidate for that particular job.
MOST candidates are immediately disqualified at this step - don't be one of them!
This is why a compilation of every little thing you’ve ever done just doesn’t work anymore. Your resume should focus on the few things you’re GREAT at (achievements) and give the reader a clear idea of what kind of job you’d succeed in next (hopefully the exact job you're applying for).
How do you do this?
Once you figure out what type of job you’re looking for next, study multiple postings for that job title that you want to apply to, picking out or highlighting keywords and requirements that seem to hold the most weight.
Then, focus your resume around these keywords/phrases/requirements.
Sprinkle these words into your Skills section and throughout your Profile and Experience section. Make sure you back up your claims in your Experience bullets to prove you really are experienced in these areas.
Once you do this, it will give you a better chance of passing through the software, and be easier for an actual human reader to see you as a great fit for the job.
The time it takes to study job postings and focus your resume can take less time than one of your social media scrolling sessions. And the payoff of targeting your resume is priceless (landing your dream job, getting a higher salary, being happier at work, etc.).
If you're still a bit stuck on this, I have a much more in depth section on this topic in the "Guide to Landing the Job" that comes with every resume template purchase - it includes an example job posting with keywords highlighted if you need a visual!