I do the hiring for my company and recently got together with a few other small business owners and hiring managers to ask them which resumes get noticed. This is what they said – in order of importance.
- Show me, don’t tell me. An applicant may say they have exceptional communication skills and that’s all well and good but SHOW ME. I’m far more impressed by someone who has won a Toastmaster’s Advanced Communicator Gold Ribbon than someone who says they’re a great communicator. I need to be able to quantify your claim. If an outside source is validating your skill, I’m more comfortable trusting it.
- Have the right focus. Your objective may be to “secure a position with room for advancement” but (not to be callous) your resume is an opportunity for you to show me what you can do for my company – we’ll get to what I can do for you later. Your resume should reflect that you’ve read my job description and that you’re familiar with the needs of my company.
- Skip the cliches. I want to see that you have a mind of your own. Saying you’re a dedicated, problem solving, team player with excellent communication skills tells me very little about you. Don’t guess what I want to hear or offer generic platitudes. Cull out the skills you have that I need and then tell me about your accomplishments in those areas.
Proofread and polish your resume and then give it one more look to be sure you’re showing and not telling, that you’re focusing on the needs of your potential employer and to catch any cliches.