Getting ready to job search in the new year? Use these tips to infuse your resume with energy and communicate a clear story about what you can bring to your next job.
1 Create a personal brand to show employers your uniqueness.
Personal branding is about communicating your identity and showing what sets you apart from others in your field. It combines the personal with the professional, since a brand encompasses your skills and talents, along with personality and style.
When competing for a job, you need to stand out. Besides helping you identify your personal strengths, having a brand can pull your resume to the top of the pile, make you shine in interviews, and leave your social media readers positively wowed.
Are you ready to start thinking – or re-thinking – your personal branding strategy?
Consider several of your best work experiences and how you contributed to them. What skill or characteristic is reflected in your best work stories? How did you use it? With what result? Ask yourself: “Why do people like to work with me, or employ me?” What earns you compliments or accolades? What do people depend on you for?
Here are two examples to get you started:
- Do you take unusual care to ensure details are thoroughly thought through, and accurate? Your brand could be “willing to take on the precision that scares others away.”
- You might be an outstanding supervisor who makes operations flow, and brand yourself “a problem solver who excels at developing talent.”
2 Your transferable skills are a major selling point; make sure to highlight them.
An important part of what makes you valuable to an employer is your skillset. There are probably some skills unique to your particular work history; take time to note these and include in your resume.
Transferable skills are those that are used in many different careers and help make you an attractive job candidate. If you have a hard time coming up with a list of skills, take a Skills Assessment, or try listing the key tasks from your previous jobs and highlight the verbs – or action words – you wrote down.
3 Promote your accomplishments to advertise what you can achieve.
The first thing an employer wants to learn from a resume is “how could this person help my organization?” Your resume should give the employer a clear answer by including your accomplishments.
Think about what you did in past jobs. What problems did you solve? What solutions did you come up with? What benefits did this have for the business, customers, or employees? Think in terms of the challenge you confronted, the action you took to resolve it, and the end result and how it benefitted the employer.
4 Tailor your resume to get through the initial resume review conducted by applicant tracking systems software.
Many employers use applicant tracking system (ATS) software to make an initial sort of resumes; the software indicates whether or not a resume should move on to human resources staff for further review.
For a given position, employers specify in the ATS the skills, education and training, years of experience, and other details needed to qualify candidates for a position. As applications are received, the ATS scores each one and puts it in rank order based on how well it meets the employer’s list of criteria.
But unlike a human reader, the software is likely to reject resumes because:
- Qualified candidates fail to use the employer’s chosen keywords
- The system doesn’t recognize unusual fonts or formatting
- Candidates lack the preferred experience, but may have qualifications that could make up for what’s missing
Once you complete your resume, be sure to post it on your state’s job bank to extend your reach to as wide a variety of job openings as possible. Find your state’s job bank here.
For more detailed help and strategies for every step of resume development, check out CareerOneStop’s Resume Guide. You will also find sample resumes and cover letters.