(NEW YORK) — Whether you just graduated college or are looking for that next step in your career, finding a job is one of the most difficult things you will ever do in your life.
Gone are the days where you could just cram overnight for a test and get by with a solid C-plus.
Get ready for a long, grueling experience filled with cover letters, interviews, job sites, LinkedIn and more. Then there’s the excitement, rejections, no answers and other challenges that can really mess with your confidence.
It’s hard to know where to begin, but the first step should be having a killer resume ready to stand out and really impress any hiring manager.
But what are these people looking for and how do you get your resume to them?!
“GMA” spoke to Etta Barmann, president of Your Resume Partners in New York City and a 25-year veteran of the career -boosting business, to help you land that dream job.
‘It’s a marketing document,’ so market yourself
Barmann said your resume should not include everything you’ve ever done in your entire life.
So take out your Merit Badges and your Yoga certification (unless you’re applying at a Yoga studio, of course) and tailor your resume to exactly the job you are applying.
Yes, that means you might have to have multiple resumes if you are applying to multiple jobs.
Give me your best elevator pitch
Say your resume does make it far enough to be seen. A summary up top of your accomplishments is a good idea. That’s not an “objective” — everyone knows your objective is to get hired.
A summary offers a paragraph on what you’ve accomplished and why you are a good fit for the job.
It’s the Cliffs Notes version of your professional life, which may or may not be what a hiring manager sees first. So dazzle them!
Also, this is a good place to get some of those “keywords” in.
What’s a keyword, you ask?
An applicant tracking what?!
Think about your dream job. Now, think about how many other people want that same job. Yeah, it’s gonna be tough to get.
Companies and hiring managers just don’t have the time to look through thousands of resumes, so they use what are called “applicant tracking systems.” They search for specific keywords that relate to each individual job. Many companies set the bar at, say, 70 or 80 percent, and if you don’t meet those required minimums, your resume won’t get seen.
Companies such as JobScan can match your current resume and the job description to see where you land on the percentage scale. Then, they’ll give you specific examples of words you may need to change or add to get your resume seen.
Use strong, active verbs
Barmann says verbs like “helped” and “worked with” are weak and just kinda lame.
“Be more active and dynamic,” she said.
So, instead, write “collaborated with” or “was integral in” getting a task completed or making an income goal for your company.
You have to tailor what you did to what you want. So, if your leadership was key to closing a deal, say so.
Make sure to use facts and figures
Always, always, always add in specifically how much you helped the company grow, or the millions of dollars you helped the company make.
“There’s a lot of emphasis these days on achievement,” Barmann said, so if you have stats from your time at a job, use them.
If you don’t, you can always talk about how you were crucial to growing income while you were an intern, or about the project you were the team leader of during your final years in school.
Barmann sometimes has clients bring in and use their performance evaluations to see what a manager thought about them and then she can add those good thoughts into the resume if they are bad at tooting their own horns, which more people are then you’d realize.
Yes, you can add some personality!
“It’s sort of boring looking at your resume,” Barmann said, looking at the resume of a certain “GMA” reporter, who is writing this article.
You don’t exactly want a photo of yourself on your resume, but design it to show off your personality.
Barmann suggests adding graphics and a splash of color or a fun font to make it stand out from the countless others.
“Just something to make it more interesting,” she said.
No, don’t make your resume hot pink, unless you’re applying to work at a florist or something.
Two pages is OK, but only sometimes
For years, the conventional wisdom was that you needed your resume to be just one page.
Not so, says Barmann, but only if you need it. This may be for someone bursting with accomplishments — a real boss, if you will.
“It depends on how much material you have,” she says. “I’ve seen people cram so much into one page, it looks terrible.”
Plus, with everything digital these days, gone are the times where you just handed over a piece of paper and wanted it to look clean. It’s all about LinkedIn and sites such as Monster now.
So, if you have a ton of experience that pertains to the specific job you are applying to, sure — break that dreaded page one line and venture into the unchartered world of page two. It’s also a nice way to sneak in some extra keywords.
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