Writing a resume to get hired during unprecedented times
The world is different today than it has ever been before. Over the past five weeks, unemployment has reached the highest point since the Great Depression and is currently predicted to reach 16% prior to the end of 2020. How can you get your resume noticed by the companies that are still hiring?
The first step is to work with a company like ours. Automated Systems (ASI) has been providing staffing solutions to our clients for over 30 years and have strong relationships that cut through the red tape of the hiring process. At ASI, we still do things the old fashioned way; we read each resume that comes to us. Unlike some of our competitors, there are no “robots” prescreening for keywords or previous job titles. However, resumes must still be easily readable and well-formatted. A resume is your first and sometimes only contact with a company, it must tell your story accurately, truthfully and concisely.
Although it varies by job and company, an average job opening attracts 250 applicants. Because of this, on average a recruiter spends a mere 6 seconds scanning a resume. They scan for things like your career highlights, qualifications, and specific skills. And unless they can see that you are relevant in a single glance, chances are you’re not getting a phone call, let alone an interview. This means that you must make those first 6 seconds count, but how?
A well-written summary at the top of your resume is the best personal advertisement that you can utilize in today’s job market. This is the first section a recruiter or hiring manager is going to check. Look at it as an introduction to your resume. Do this right and your resume summary will be a giant flashing sign that says “Call me!” and “Hire Me!”
In the past an objective statement was used at the top of your resume to tell the hiring manager what job you were applying for and why. This was useful when all applications were hand-delivered or mailed in, so it was important to label your resume to make it stand out. However, objective statements have gone the way of the mullet, and are no longer considered contemporary. Objective statements take up precious space on your resume, stating something that doesn’t need to be said. “I am seeking an opportunity to work at your company” – would you have applied otherwise? Most applications are done electronically now and are directly tied to the original job post, no longer requiring the labeling.
A good resume summary, in a sentence or short paragraph, highlights some of your biggest achievements to date, mentions your profession and includes 1-2 of your top skills. You are not trying to explain your whole career in this section, you are just trying to get the person scanning your resume to continue reading. If you think of your resume as a fishing line, this is the bait and you can hook them once they have nibbled on it.
Example of a summary that needs work:
- Passionate and high-skilled project manager with over 5 years of work experience with a sound knowledge of the industry. Hoping to take on new challenges and learn more on the job.
- Qualified engineer with many years of experience. Would love to join your company to keep developing professionally and seek new challenges. Commended on numerous occasions by superiors and peers for dealing with difficult problems and resolving complex issues.
An example of a great summary:
- Project manager with a proven track record of working with agile and waterfall project management methodologies. Managed 7+ teams of software projects over the past 3 years. Basic understanding of several programming languages, including Java, C+, and Python.
- Experienced mechanical engineer with almost ten years of med device development experience. Created cutting-edge designs that met deadlines, budget restrictions, and product specifications. Using CAD technology, modeling, and analysis of structural components. Successfully participated in a trial team to enhance existing products.
An effective resume summary typically follows the following structure:
Your experience summary (how many years, doing what, etc.)
Your general experience (more specific skills, what’s your focus)
Your top achievements (career highlights, include quantifiable data)
Personalize your summary as much as possible for each role that you apply for. If you have experience in the software or job task that they have listed in the job description, try to highlight it. Be specific and include numbers if you are able, such as a budget amount or percent improvement. This is your chance to tell the recruiter or hiring manager that you are the candidate they are looking for. Grab their attention.
Although times are challenging right now, job searching still has the same fundamentals. Have a personalized, well-written resume and let it advertise for you. The phone will ring, make sure you answer it and we will get through this together.
Tune in for our next blog post in this series on how to make small changes on your resume for a big impact.