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This is How a Resume Wins You Interviews (Part 1 of 2)

Hiring managers are notoriously pressed for time. So how do you make sure that your resume makes a compelling case for you to land you an interview?

It requires a strategic combination of written content and visual elements to catch the reader’s eye, because it’s the difference between you getting called in or being passed by.

In part 1 of this series, I’ll discuss how your career narrative gets you there.

Tell your Story…

As far as scripted content goes, make sure you cover all the relevant points that hiring managers are looking for in a resume; first and foremost, measurable successes from your past that you can tie to a prospective employer’s priorities.

All hiring managers have some problem or another they need new job candidates to help solve. So, rather than giving them a general list of responsibilities, which they can read on the job description their HR representative crafted when they placed the vacancy, give them the kind of career stories they need that specify how you’ve solved problems similar to theirs. Show how you’ve achieved the results they want, and you can get things done in the future—especially when it comes to these key priorities:

  • Developing / growing business and making money
  • Saving money and time
  • Making work easier and solving particular problems
  • Helping the company be more competitive
  • Elevating image and communications
  • Attracting new customers and retaining existing customers
  • Building relationships / alliances and business image both internally and externally (e.g., customers, vendors, and the wider community).

Make sure you highlight your relevant skills, industry experience, employment history, and just the right kind of keyword-rich content that’s going to spark interest without overwhelming your reader.

To that end, too much narrative is a common mistake I see on resumes. Make your writing clear, concise, and relevant! Word-heavy resumes earn a sure-fire trip to the bin fast.

Spice It Up…

A little creative resume formatting, word design, and color makes for quicker visual impact of your content. Be strategic about it, though. Always ask yourself, “Who is my target audience?” and write in that direction. Written content is all about brevity, without sacrificing the sizzle.

That means keeping it simple, clean, and getting right to the point. That’s the easiest, least complicated way to grab your reader’s attention.

You don’t have to get too intricate but the use of simple writing principles, like incorporating the Psychology of Numbers or Rule of 3 (e.g., headlines, bullet points, lists, etc.) as well as effective use of white space, are visually compelling. The right combinations of these principles do a great job of hooking readers and drawing them into relevant content. Think about mobile recruiting and the fact that readers are viewing your resume on a tiny smartphone or tablet screen. Just don’t overdo it—especially if you don’t have a marketing design background.

Join me next month for Part 2, when I talk about how incorporating visual branding elements clinches the deal for an interview call.