Without question, your resume is the most valuable item in your job search tool kit. It’s usually the first formal document your potential employers will see, and it’s impossible to overestimate the power of a first impression. But even the most brilliant resume won’t get you all the way to the finish line without the support of a compelling cover letter and a warm, interesting, meaningful interview that showcases your sparkling personality.
In the job search, as in life, everything happens in stages. We have to crawl before we can walk, and once we’re on our feet, we want to start sprinting. Resumes are invaluable, but a truly effective resume only has one goal: Convincing managers to pick up the phone and schedule an interview. So you’ll need to create a summary that can bring you a step closer to the next stage in the process.
Your summary will need to wake your readers up and get their attention faster than a strong cup of coffee. And to make this happen, you’ll need to address the specific details mangers are looking for and not realistically expecting to find (at least not before a long and tedious review of dozens of “almost-but-not-quite” applications.) Here are a few phrases that DON’T fit this bill:
“I’m smart and hardworking.”
Sure, but so is everyone.
“I have a bachelor’s degree in this field from XYZ University.”
Great, but what else have you got?
“I have three to five years of experience, as required by your post.”
Terrific, but if you didn’t, this is where we would stop reading.
“I have three years of clinical experience dealing with the (exact types of disease pathologies and patient demographics you encounter at your medical facility).”
That’s amazing! What are the odds?
“I can help you solve (the specific problem your company is facing) and help you gain a foothold in (the market you’d like to enter). Here’s why.”
Tell me more!
“I am a XZY/ABC certified programmer.”
That’s EXACTLY what we need!
“I’m a licensed welder/technician/X machine operator certified to practice in your state. I’ve already completed the basic training program you require of new employees, and I’m ready to start right away.”
Somebody get me a phone!
To gain this level of specificity, keep these four moves in mind:
1. Before you write, read. Review the post carefully. Look for requests and requirements that can’t be found in the general population, and if you have these credentials, state this in your summary using the exact wording that appears in the post.
2. Check the company website. You may not have time for exhaustive research, but take a quick look so you don’t miss an important opportunity. For example, if you speak Portuguese and most of the company’s clients are Brazilian, make a note of this and mention it in your summary. Mention it again in your “skills” section.
3. Keywords are essential. They don’t just help your resume appear in search results—they also have a psychological impact on your readers. Search the post for words and terms that stand out and find a way to include these in your profile.
4. Cut the fluff. Draw the reader’s attention to your message—don’t bury it in an avalanche of clichés and empty buzzwords (like “synergy,” “optimization,” “systematize,” and “paradigm”).
Leave your readers wanting more, and you’ll convince them to make that all important call. And of course when that call comes, be ready to fulfill their highest expectations and make a brilliant presentation during your interview. Visit LiveCareer for resume templates, editing tools , and application guidelines that can take your job search to the next level.