"I want pizza every time I see that ad."
July 1, 2015
It’s the question every job seeker tries to answer: How can I stand out to a person I’ve never met before with my resume? If you did a simple internet search you’d find thousands of opinions which all boil down to one idea. Make your resume an advertisement for you. It takes skill, and tact, but with a little help you can craft a resume that makes your phone ring.
Know your audience
A foundational piece of advertising is knowing who the audience your trying to reach is. Are you applying to a large corporation with hundreds of people in the HR department, or are you applying to a small start up where the founder will be hiring you? What’s the company culture like? Are they laid back, or more formal? If you know who your audience is you can tailor your verbiage, format, and design to speak best to whoever is the gatekeeper to your job.
Use action words
Words create worlds. The language you use in your resume will directly affect whether or not
you will gain an interview or not. It’s not just about utilizing active instead of passive voice, but finding the right words to make your application rise to the top. Since most employers utilize a search engine like software to help narrow down candidates the right verbiage can be the difference between having your resume even be seen, and it being lost in an endless database.
Heather from Hershey’s shared her process, “The software we use has a search function built into it. We use the keyword searching function for past applicants that could be interested in a current opening. The keywords used depend on the job requirements they are looking to hire someone for. For example if it is a sales role keywords could be: sales, account, business development, representative, territory, etc”
Tell a compelling story
If you’re an entry-level job seeker you have one page to convince a recruiter to give you an interview. This means every character on the page, every element of the design has to be perfect. The best authors understand great stories show the reader only what they need to see. As Stephen King put it, “There are books full of great writing that don't have very good stories.” Make your story compelling. If you worked through college to leave school debt free—tell that story. If you took internships which tested you every day tell the story.
An expert from ManpowerGroup, Dana, said this, “Include your unpaid roles or activities, too. This could include volunteer events, your affiliation with various clubs or councils, etc. There are valuable skills you may have learned, and valuable experiences worth sharing with prospective employers. Being involved with non-profits or other service organizations is a huge plus, and many companies really prize this type of experience tremendously.”
Your resume should be designed to speak to your target audience. Whenever you write it be sure to include language which makes you a compelling prospect, and that will get you found when an HR representative searches through resumes. It’s also vital to agonize over every syllable of your resume, because the story you’re telling matters. Make your resume an advertisement, and get that job.