In my lifetime, I have submitted my resume to hundreds of positions. For a long time, I didn’t realize that it wasn’t about what was on the paper, but rather how it was on the paper. I knew I was overqualified for many positions I applied to, but regardless I began to receive automatic responses of “After careful consideration, we have decided to pursue other qualified candidates…”
In managerial positions, I have done my fair share of hiring and interviewing. There are some key points employers look for, and if you don’t have them visible within 30 seconds – sorry steady student loan payments – you’ll be heading to deferment for a while.
Some of you recent grads may have spent hours poring over your resumes and cannot figure out why no one is calling you back. Well, you are likely amongst the majority of people – piecing together a mess of objective statements and skills that have absolutely nothing to do with the position you are applying for.
I’m here to tell you what you are doing wrong and how to fix it:
1. No one cares about your objective in a career.
I get it, you are broke and need a job. Tell me what skills you can contribute to the position. Take the active voice in what you do and not the passive “Professional with hopes and dreams of being a digital marketer.” WRONG! If you have the objective statement in your headline, your resume will be in the trash real quick.
2. Be smart about how you order your experience.
If you are applying for a real position, e.g. social media manager, don’t have your camp counselor experience listed first on your resume. I’m here to tell you that it is ok to embellish. But, remember the golden rule: Back it up.
Don’t call yourself a personnel manager and explain how you watched a bunch of teenagers while texting and doing it for the ‘gram before their parents picked them up. Discuss how your experience developed your patience in managing a variety of personalities. Talk about time management and the understanding of keeping people on a tight schedule. Get my drift? But always remember: confidence is key.
3. Start off with your skills, not experience.
Speaking on positions, don’t start off with your previous jobs. Start off with skills. Even if you have had two jobs working as a server and a social media intern, that is ok. You can come up with at least 10 skills to elaborate on before listing your (maybe) unimpressive experience. Remember the actual skills are what you bring to the table, not where you have been.
4. Remove your GPA and courses.
To that point, I’m going to burst your bubble. Here in the real world, where we exchange paper money for real things, grades don’t mean a damn thing. No one cares that you had a 3.0 at the University of Miami if you cannot create an excel spread sheet.
Remove coursework, grades and any more information than School, Degree and Year. Sometimes I even omit the year, as some employers may rule out fresh grads. Unless you are going to a position that deals with people’s lives, freedom or money, I promise no one will call up your school asking for transcripts. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
5. Adapt your resume to fit the position you’re applying for.
The last tip, put some effort into it. Looking for a design position? Turn that resume into a creative document. Create something that someone wants to look at. Don’t give me that 1995 style that everyone cringes at if they have to read. Boring!
Also double, triple, and quadruple check your facts and spelling, people! You will be immediately disqualified if any basic details are wrong. Think about the other person meeting you via a piece of paper for the first time.
I can’t guarantee that you’ll be interviewed, but by using these principles you are taking the first steps to getting the interested party to reach out to you.