May 12, 2022
A CEO friend of mine was ready to offer a six-figure marketing job to an individual who had presented himself well during interviews. The candidate had all the right qualifications and specifically mentioned that he had excellent written communication skills.
After his final interview, he sent the CEO a handwritten thank you note. Unfortunately, he misspelled her first name on the envelope and inside the card. She decided not to offer him the position because she felt that if he couldn’t spell the CEO’s name correctly, he could not be relied upon to manage marketing communications.
With so many people competing for the same jobs these days, you need to ensure your résumé is working for you, not against you. Here are nine tips to help you power up your résumé and increase your odds of landing that next great job:
1. Proofread your résumé carefully for accuracy and professionalism.
A single spelling, grammar, or typographical error on your cover letter or résumé tells the prospective employer that you are not reliable.
2. Create multiple versions.
Tailor your résumé to fit specific job qualifications. Identify how your current skills and talents apply directly to the responsibilities of each job for which you are applying.
3. Avoid clichés or over-generalizations.
Outline measurable results that you have achieved in previous jobs. For example, you can write, “Increased customer retention through my solid customer relations skills,” rather than, “I’m a people person.”
4. Make your résumé brief and easy to read.
Limit your résumé length to no more than one or two pages, and highlight your skills by putting keywords in bold.
5. Write a two or three-sentence “branding” paragraph.
You are your brand. This paragraph is your commercial and an opportunity to sell yourself as an energetic, upbeat, talented individual.
Highly motivated and experienced communicator bringing marketing strategies to life across various digital, print, and multimedia channels. Team player with a passion for maintaining brand integrity and a proven track record collaborating with cross-functional teams.
6. Create a bulleted list titled Summary of Qualifications
Center it directly below your branding paragraph and use bold keywords. For example:
Summary of Qualifications
• Proficient in developing training and professional development programs
• Experienced in strategizing and implementing creative sales campaigns
• Skilled in writing, designing, and directing direct mail programs
• Extensive media relations experience
7. Put your résumé to work for you.
Create a targeted list of companies where you’d like to work and share your list with friends, colleagues, and family members. Then, ask people you trust to let you know if they have a contact at any of those companies.
8. Carefully manage your social networking sites.
Most human resource professionals search sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook for prospective employees. Be sure to post a professional profile with no embarrassing photos or information. Check it frequently to manage content and keep it up to date. Post your résumé on as many online job boards as possible, specifically those focusing on jobs in your targeted region. For example, Indeed.com is an excellent national resource, and MilwaukeeJobs.com is a popular job posting site in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
9. Actively network.
Don’t sit around waiting for the phone to ring. Instead, get out there and network like crazy at industry-specific events, professional associations, community organizations, and job fairs. Join or create a mastermind group with other job-seeking professionals where you can brainstorm ideas and garner support.
Job searches can get discouraging, but it is important to stay upbeat. Avoid singing the blues to everyone about your need for a job. Instead, demonstrate enthusiasm and a positive attitude. Also, be willing to help others with their job searches. A positive, outgoing personality is likely to open more doors for you.