Getting an interview is tough. The ease with which jobs can be applied for online has created a flood of resumes. Recruiters face a near impossible task in picking out the best ones, and will use any excuse to shred applicants from the pile.
- Over 90% of resumes are submitted online, up from just 22% in 2000
- Nearly half a million are uploaded onto Monster Jobs every week
- Google gets 200,000 every month
- Recruiters spend seven seconds or less deciding whether a candidate deserves an interview
In today’s competitive jobs market, an unprofessional email address, irrelevant information or lazy typos are enough to cripple any chance you have of getting an interview.
With so many resumes competing for those few seconds of a recruiter’s time, you need to jazz it up a little. Your resume needs to be a showreel of your achievements that projects you as a firecracker in the workplace that’s driving the agenda and taking names everywhere you go.
So how can you give your resume that extra sugar coating that makes it gleam among the glut of cookie cutter resumes? These resume copywriting tips will help:
1. Focused structure
Too many resumes are binned because they provide too much irrelevant information on hobbies and interests. Recruiters don’t care about your golf handicap. They want to know why you deserve an interview. Stick to the basics:
- Work history
Your resume should be punchy, concise and pack in just enough information to get you to the next stage of the process. The nitty gritty of your career choices can wait for when you meet eyeball to eyeball. If you have less than 10 years experience, try to compress it into one page, or about 700 words.
3. Proofread it backwards
In a 2013 survey, CareerBuilder found that 58% of resumes have typos. To recruiters this makes the candidate look sloppy, lacking in attention to detail and low quality standards.
Typos are like gremlins who hide under the keys and cause mischief when you’re not looking. Three ways to beat them are:
- Proofread your resume a couple of days after you first write it
- Ask someone else to check it for you
- Read through every line backwards
Trust me, it’s worth the effort.
4. Remove weak words
ZipRecruiter did an analysis of 3 million resumes of the factors which earn five star ratings and those that suggest an employment dud. It found that words which suggested a lack of experience or low achievement put off recruiters. This includes: me, need, chance, hard, first, learning and myself.
5. Pack in the power words
ZipRecruiter also found that the following words got recruiters excited about the future CEO they had on their hands: experience, management, project, development, business, skill, professional, knowledge, team and leadership.
6. Make your summary a shining beacon that draws them in
Your summary needs to succinctly distill your experiences, achievements, mindset and ambitions into one punchy paragraph that sucks recruiters into believing in your employee of the year star potential. Be creative. Try to sidestep the normal cliches and say something from the heart about why you’re the demanding go-getter just waiting to roll up your sleeves and jump into driving the business to new heights.
7. Make each job different
Remember, you need to be unique if you want to stand out. Consider how you can frame each job placement in a way that reveals a different strength or skillset. Use some of the power words to give it impact and to show the innovation, confidence and drive you bring to every role in many different capacities.
8. Be specific about your accomplishments
When all things are equal, the way you frame your offer is what gets you the gig. Instead of using general statements about ‘participating in projects’ say how ‘you were selected’ for the role and give details about the results. If you can, provide quantifiable figures on sales increases, cost savings or any other golden nuggets that backup your claims.
Remember, your resume is a proposal for why the recruiter should give you an interview. Not a dry statement of fact. Use it to dazzle them with the skills and accomplishments that set you apart, and justify why you’re a shining diamond which any organisation should pay good money for to have it in their crown.