Quick Ways to Ratchet up Your Resume
It is imperative, now more than ever, to truly differentiate yourself from a prospective employer. Your experience, your expertise, and your persona need to be showcased with a distinctive blend of style and precision. With the wild unpredictability of a turbulent economic climate, the world continues to adapt to new ways of working, and the convergence of new technology and conventional strategy in the talent acquisition process, standing out is essential. Many positions within the Cyber Security and Cloud Computing spaces which used to be on-site have transitioned to virtual. A such, it’s important to know how to apply and differentiate yourself since you are competing with a national pool of candidates rather than regional, now.
So, you have two choices: Hire a professional resume service (which is an option) or fine-tune your resume and LinkedIn yourself. We’ve got you covered if you choose the former, but if you want to hazard a go at the latter, here are some tips to consider.
1. Blend the Art & Science
Not so long ago, before the advent of the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), resume construction was largely an artistic pursuit. You took your accomplishments and job duties, laid them out in a chronological list, maybe included a few little hints of a personality, and that was that.
However, with companies of all sizes using ATS to streamline their talent acquisition process, you have to assemble your career chronology first for a robotic eye, trained to focus on specific keywords, skills, and job titles. Study the job posting, utilize language and skills within it to custom tailor your resume to sound like their description. Utilize a Skills or Competencies section to ramp up your keyword saturation with relevant skills (within reason and as long as they’re true, of course). You can keep this section of your resume fluid and dynamic and customize it with each application. It’ll take a little longer, but your odds of success will improve exponentially. If you’ve recently received a certification from Intellectual Point, be sure to showcase this prominently on your resume, particularly if you’re transitioning from another industry, as this will be a way to open the door to new opportunities.
But, you still have to be mindful of the recruiter who will read your resume if you get past the electronic gatekeeper. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to have your resume stand out visually. Use a few strategic pops of color (perhaps consistent with the color schemes of your target company). Organize your information logically and make it easy to read and flow. Focus on accomplishments first, day-to-day duties second. This will allow a recruiter, who may only dedicate 30 seconds to the first pass, to put your resume in the ‘maybe’ stack to come back to.
2. Don’t Bury the Lead
The “Objective” section on a resume is a vestige of the past. It tells a company what you want, not what you can do for them. Instead, start by utilizing a strong, on-point Branding Statement. It is usually a tidy summation of your position experiences. If you’re applying for a position with the job title of Security Analyst, and your experience profile supports it, call yourself a Security Analyst. Or Cyber Security Specialist. Keeping your brand image consistent with the position further reinforces your strength as a candidate for the position.
After the branding statement, utilize a Profile in-lieu of an objective. Write a clean, crisp paragraph that explains who you are, what you’ve done, and the volume of experience you bring to the table.
From there, craft a Skills or Competencies section which can be customizable based on the position for which you’re applying.
Then you’ll dive into Experience followed by Education. No need for “References” anymore – the employer will ask when they’re ready for them.
So, your document should look something like this:
- Contact Information
- Branding Statement
In your Experience section, focus on the key contributions you made to your company. A quick trick is to bold the first 10-12 words of a bullet point (and yes, USE bullet points – no run-on paragraphs need to apply) so that when a recruiter is scanning the document, it facilitates their snap “yes/no/maybe” decision in your favor. And use a variety of action phrases. “Directed” “Led” “Spearheaded” “Managed” – those are much stronger than the boring “Responsible For” of yesteryear.
3. Cover Your Bases
Don’t forget about the cover letter. While the formal cover letter is a thing of the past, it helps to have a quickly customizable cover letter template that is focused on your industry of interest. You can swap out company names and position titles as needed, but keep the core of the document intact. This will allow you to crank out a custom cover letter in under 5 minutes.
Infuse your personality into it. Whereas the resume still shuns first-person pronouns, you can be more convivial and conversational in your cover letter – and the use of “I, me, we” is totally acceptable. Make an impression and make the cover letter an invitation to read your resume and ask straightaway for the interview.
Combine these core elements into your document and you’ll exponentially increase your odds of an interview.
Visit https://www.intellectualpoint.com/resources/resume-packages/ for more resources. Or, if you prefer to leave these matters to the professionals (like me with plumbing) you can reach out to us to set up a free critique on the website.
Good luck out there!