One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make is thinking their resume is about THEM. They want to wax eloquent about all of the things they’ve done (the laundry list) and hate to leave out a single thing. Take a few steps back…
How much of the information you are including in your resume is relevant or interesting to your target audience — the employer you want to hire you now? How much jargon from your old job does your *next* employer understand? Are you speaking a language that seems foreign to the person who will be reviewing the resume?
Have you really evaluated the keywords you believe the employer will be seeking when the applicant tracking system (ATS) reviews the resume?
When it comes down to it, your resume needs to be forward facing — it must reflect what your next employer wants to see, which means you shouldn’t be looking in the mirror; you should be looking closely at the job description and at what the employer shares online, in-person and via social media (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, website).
This week, I spoke to a group of job seekers and emphasized how the vast amount of information we can find online is a bit of a double-edged sword: one one hand — WOW — look at all the information you can find out without ever leaving your home or office!
- You can learn where the hiring manager went to school and maybe even read about what he or she thinks is important to do when applying for a job (via LinkedIn and his or her blog).
- It’s easy to find out something about the organization’s culture (via reading their websites, Facebook page or even viewing their YouTube channel).
- You can connect and engage with people who work at organizations where you want to work without boundaries or barriers (via Twitter or Google+).
All of this information allows you to figure out what to include in your application materials. The more you learn, the more targeted your materials can be and the better chance you have to structure an appealing resume.
On the other hand, having this information available puts the onus on you (the job seeker) to track down the useful information and to put it to good use! I’m not going to sugar-coat it — it’s not easy, but it isn’t rocket science.
When you write your resume, put yourself in the reader’s shoes and consider what he or she wants to know. What skills and accomplishments does the perfect candidate possess? If you are that candidate, be sure to showcase your best information.
Omit details that aren’t relevant or won’t make sense to the employer. (Including them is like ordering your pizza in Chinese and your Chinese food in French. You’ll probably not have the meal you’re expecting. (Or land the interview you were wanting.)