As a job seeker, you know you need to make sure you do everything you can to get your resume
noticed by hiring managers. While a resume and a cover letter are the two most important things you can have in your arsenal of job search tools, they won't do you any good if they don't stand out in today's crowded field of candidates.
- Start out strong
Recruiters and hiring managers typically take only 30 seconds to decide if they want to continue reading your resume, that's why it has to be attention grabbing from the get go. Career management practitioner Lewis Carvel suggests job seekers headline their resumes
with an opening statement that gives the reader a clear idea of what type of role they are seeking and highlights their experience and skills.
- Tailor to ATS
By now you probably know that just about every time you submit your resume online it first goes through an applicant tracking system (ATS). Therefore, you must tailor your resume with this in mind by first making sure you read the job description thoroughly and include keywords that will stand out.
"ATS technologies can filter candidates by those whose responses dovetail best with specific job descriptions. For the best response rates, make sure your content and experience match up accordingly," Colin Day, founder of ICiMS talent software, tells U.S. News and World Report.
After you have crafted your opening statement, it's always a good idea to add a summary of your skills, education, career path and a short description of your achievements. Here's a good suggestion on how to write a well-rounded summary by resume expert Jerome Young - use the acronym CEASE - characteristics, experience, achievements and expertise - and begin with your strongest area.
- Include an attention grabbing cover letter
Your cover letter is also extremely important so make sure you give it the attention that it deserves. Carvel says a well-crafted cover letter should contain brief information about your current role in an industry, convey how you can bring value to the company you are applying to, and include a short description of your skills, achievements and qualifications.
Remember, your cover letter and resume are introductions to who you are and what you have to offer, and they should interest hiring managers enough that they will want to get to know you better.