As a jobseeker, you would like to believe that a hiring manager is reading your resume thoroughly and is looking minutely as to how you would be the best fit for the organisation, right? Well, in reality, hiring managers only spend about six seconds skimming a resume.
But don’t get discouraged! In this post, we’ll cover three secrets executive resume writers use to write resumes to help clients stand out from the crowd and beat the competition—and catch the attention of the hiring managers.
- Focus on your accomplishments more than your responsibilities
A role or responsibility only describes what you did, whereas an accomplishment details how well you did it. For example, “trained sales executives” would be a job duty, whereas “increased sales 20% by training 5 sales executives through webinars, ride-alongs, and mentoring” is an accomplishment—it answers the “why” and “how” questions.
Before you begin to write your resume, jot down all your achievements from your current and past roles. Ask yourself the following:
- How did I increase the bottom line?
- Did I implement new strategies?
- Did I win any new accolades or awards?
- What hurdles did I overcome?
- What made me stand out at the job?
- What new processes did I incorporate to improve things?
- How did I help the company save money?
- What recent training and certifications do I have to my credit?
- Was I recognized by a supervisor for a job well done? If so, when and what was it for?
Once you have your list of accomplishments ready, add metrics—numbers, figures, and facts that corroborate your accomplishment. Quantifying your accomplishments not only makes it easier to understand how you contributed to the organisation but also allows the employer to analyse and grasp your level of responsibility.
For an accurate display of your skills consider using the CAR (Challenge-Action-Results) strategy. In this 3-step approach, first describe the situation (challenge), what you did about it (action), and then the outcome (result).
An example of using C-A-R strategy would be:
Original Sentence: Improved efficiency of operations in the production plant.
C-A-R Strategy: Increased operational output 15% in spite of outdated equipment and increased employee efficiency by developing training comprehensive manual and applying lean manufacturing methodologies.
- Write your resume from the perspective that everyone is tuned into WI-FM – What’s In It For Me?
Resumes that get shortlisted always have a strong answer to the question: what’s in it for me? Avoid using an objective statement that details your career goals and objectives. Instead, write a strong summary section that will display how you are a great fit for the reader—your potential employer.
The idea is to clearly depict to the employer that there is a distinct match between your skills and their requirements. If you are unsure about the relevant skills, start by doing some research. Go through job postings and job descriptions for similar positions and note down the common requirements.
Another great way of getting your resume noticed is by having an area of expertise section. Include a list of keywords that highlight your skills and knowledge. You need to customise the core competencies to match the skills mentioned in the job description.
A resume that gets the desired result is successful because it has the ability to draw a vivid picture for potential employers. If your resume is focused and targeted towards the employer, contains an impactful summary, and uses stories with metrics and numbers to drive the message, the reader will quickly see that you have what they’re looking for.
- Gather Evidence
It’s a tough job to market your persona in an interview, let alone on paper, without sounding like a braggart. But, blowing your own trumpet is an art you need to become comfortable with in order to first sell yourself on paper.
One of the best practices is to save the recognition and compliments you’ve received as you work with an organisation. Make sure to collect recommendations, keep year-end reviews, and ask past/current bosses and colleagues for quotes and more. This makes it easier to incorporate them when updating your resume.
The difficult task is to incorporate verbal and written compliments. A performance appraisal may or may not contain good content for your resume, but it can definitely provide you with applicable words to describe yourself.
Here’s an example:
Compliment: “Thank you for your great work on the sales target. The management appreciates your effort and wants you to lead the next sales promotion.”
Resume Translation: Reached $20K monthly sales targets and exceeded management’s expectations by designing and executing detailed and productive sales strategy throughout team.
Similarly, if you have received a letter of gratitude or email from a manager, vendor or client, highlight the specifics in the same way as the example above.
As Australia’s first and only certified career storyteller and executive resume writer, I approach writing resumes differently—and strategically. If you’re struggling to find the WI-FM for hiring managers, unsure about your accomplishments, or not able to write without the fear of sounding boastful, the team at Total Resumes can help you shape your career documents to get you interviews.