Do you struggle to grab the attention of targeted organizations and key decision-makers? Do you have decades of achievements but are not hearing back from job applications when you know you would be a good candidate?
Typically, the resume is the first port of call in an executive job search and ensuring that your executive resume stands out cannot be understated. Even at the executive level, it is common today that your resume will be vetted through applicant tracking systems [ATS] and ensuring that your accomplishment statements are crystal clear is important (think “big data”. Companies want their data stored neatly away).
When you sit down to write your resume, please remember that the content of the document far outweighs the design and format of the resume.
Format is important, as is the design, because you do not want to bore your reader with a dull design; however, focus on the content first. It is the content of your resume that will pique the interest of algorithms in ATSs.
Here are a handful of simple strategies you can begin using immediately in that will grab the attention of both the ATS and the human reader:
- The number-one important consideration when writing your resume is that it contains the keywords and keyword phrases of the job posting. As a human resources consultant and executive resume writer, I see stellar job applicants overlooked for opportunities because they failed to follow the instructions of the posting and include the keyword phrases provided in the job posting. Remember that your resume will need to be defended in front of decision-makers and if you cannot “prove” you are a good candidate through the resume content, you won’t get an interview. Without the interview there is no job offer.
- Ensure that your resume follows a logical reverse chronological format because applicant tracking systems will expect it and so will human readers. It is okay to use a hybrid approach, but ensure that in your career history section that you use reverse chronological order. You may wonder whether you should include both the month and the year in your career history section. This is a matter of much debate and if you are unsure whether to include the month, I recommend contacting the firm to ask their preference. I have had good luck in the past contacting the technology department of the company to ask them. Since they maintain the ATS, they will know the protocol for the firm.
- Front-end load your accomplishment statements so that the most important information is at the beginning. An example is: “Increased revenues by 11% in 6 months by developing a new telephone training program for the inside sales team.” The most important information is at the beginning.
You will realize good results from your resume writing efforts by following these three simple strategies to grab the attention of your targeted companies. Good luck!