Tips to help you get your resume noticed
How jobs postings are advertised and how we apply for jobs has certainly change in the last few decades. Gone are the days of scanning the “Help Wanted” section of the local newspaper. Rarely are you requested to send hard copies of a standard resume with lots of formatting like bold and italic by regular mails. These days, companies harness the power of the web to cast a large net when searching for just-the-right-person by using job search sites, such as CareerBuilder and Indeed. You will most likely be asked to complete an online application, and submit your cover letter and resume with it. Often, the first look at the resume is done by a software program that scans resumes for key words related to the open position.
Read on to find out how you can tailor your resume so it has the best chance possible of finding its way to the desk of the hiring manager for further review!
Keep it simple
Make sure your resume looks professional, but keep it simple, too. Here are some formatting and content suggestions that can help your resume make it through the computer scanning process, and hopefully into the hands of a real person.
- Use an easy-to-read font like Arial, Tahoma or Verdana.
- Don't use bullets or automatic numbering.
- Avoid using bold and italics. That goes for headers and footers as well.
- While you make want to make your resume look “pretty,” it's best to skip any art, graphics or logos.
- You can save your resume on your computer as a Word, PDF and text file, so that you have all three, but it's best to submit it as a text file as these are the easiest for the scanning programs to read.
- Keep your objective/summary statement updated on your resume. Think of it as your personal statement that highlights why hiring you would be a benefit to the potential employer.
- In addition to your job and educational history, include your experience and skills that are relevant to the job.
- Emphasize your tech knowledge. Can you navigate specialized programs specific to your field, software and apps? Being tech savvy is a big plus in today's world. Let the potential employer know this valuable information.
- Employers like to see that their employees are actively involved in giving back to the community. Make sure to list your volunteer activities.
Balance your use of keywords
The resume scanning systems searches for keywords, which are content clues to show that your resume contains relevant information in relation to the specific job description. By picking up these keywords, the software can weed out resumes that might not match the job, which in turn means a real person will only have to spend time reviewing resumes that appear to be a solid match. And by including keywords in your resume, you increase your chances of yours being one of them!
For example, let's say you're applying for the position described in this sample job description:
XYZ Physicians Group is seeking a medical assistant to become an integral member of our healthcare team. The qualified individual will be responsible for ensuring patients receive efficient, attentive, and high-quality care. Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:
- Assisting physicians and nurses during exam and procedures
- Recording patient vital signs and history
- Phlebotomy and lab test preparation
- Office duties including scheduling and answering phones
Medical Assistant training program required with one year of experience in a physician's office preferred.
You might include something like the following in your resume to match the description above and using keywords such as phlebotomy, healthcare, medical assistant training, and one year of experience.
I gained experience in lab-test preparation by working at AAA Physicians Healthcare Group for the past year. I also completed the medical assistant training program at ABC School in 2016.
While it's important to use keywords related to the job you are applying for throughout your resume, be sure to include them in ways that make them sound like a natural part of it. And don't overuse them. Balance is the key.
Write that cover letter
Even if the job posting states that the cover letter is optional, write it! It will show the potential employer that you are serious about wanting this job and willing to take the extra steps to land an interview. It is also another opportunity for you to show your professional personality as well as a chance to insert some strategic key words. If you're nervous about writing one, don't be. These letter writing suggestions will help you complete a strong letter to include with your resume.
Do your research
Spend some time reading and reviewing the company's web site and LinkedIn profile. The more you know about the company and the position you are applying for, the more you can tailor your cover letter and resume to match what the company is looking for.
Ask for help
Don't be shy about asking a mentor to review your resume before you send it off. If you are currently in a training program, stop by your career services office and ask for help. They may have helpful suggestions or catch pesky typos that you may have missed. Having a set of experienced eyes on your resume can only make it stronger and increase your chances of having it shine above the other resumes in the pile!
A word about social media
It's important to develop your professional social media presence. You can use platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to share articles, news, and discussion about your field. It can show potential employers that you follow the latest trends in your industry and that you are willing to continue to learn and grow as a professional. If you have personal social media accounts, now is the time to spruce them up and delete any questionable comments or photos. Even if you have you're account set to private, you always want to put your best professional foot forward and not risk a potential employer seeing an embarrassing post or photo.
We hope you've found these tips to be helpful. Good luck as you get your resume ready to send out into the world!
This post is part of the Branford Hall weekly blog where we support our students and prospective students as they seek new careers. If you are interested in our programs, please request information, schedule a tour, or call a career advisor at 800-959-7599.