Getting a job interview can be tough, especially with the tremendous competition for each position. Even if you are qualified, you can easily miss out. If that’s your case, it’s time to seriously study your resume to find out how you can improve it.
Why the resume? Well, your resume is what gets you the phone interview. Your resume won’t get you the job, it won’t get you a face-to-face interview. No, it can only get you the initial talk. That’s what you want.
Ignoring the 4,786 conflicting rules about how your resume should be formatted, and assuming it doesn’t contain the things that get your resume thrown out in under ten seconds, these three items will put your resume into virtual trash if you don’t do them right:
1. You Don’t Use Industry Standard Job Titles
Hang with me on this one. Consider your company and how they hand out titles like candy. It makes your job sound more important, doesn’t it? So when you put a company job title that doesn’t match the industry job title, all those nice search engines looking for that standard will simply pass you by.
Look, if you’re a business analyst, but are called a “business consultant senior,” change it back to “business analyst.” Because that’s the job you do. I’ve seen consulting companies take “senior” out of the title — you want the interview and the rest of it is about money sometime later — so tailor the title to the standard.
Ask yourself this: Do you think when you’re gone that your company will try and find a “business consultant senior?” Or will they look for “business analyst”? There you go.
2. Your Resume Doesn’t Tie Your Your Work to Business Results
Hiring managers want to know that the person they are interviewing can produce business results to help meet their department goals. That means you have to show that when you worked on the XYZ project as a project manager, the business results were ABC. Otherwise, the person reading your resume will think nothing of the work.
People in IT have a hard time translating their work into non-IT business results. They don’t state how the work helped the business. Or the end user. Or how it made it easier to work with the customer. Or increased reliability of the system for users. Or helped the company eliminate a platform, saving money.
Look at how your work translates into faster cycle time, increased productivity, dollar savings or increased revenue. That’s the magic you want people to find when reading your resume.
3. You Don’t Have the Key Words Needed to Get Hits From the Software
We all like to think that some nice (or not nice) person is actually reading our resume. The truth of the matter, though, is that large companies process resumes by looking for key words that a recruiter types into a search engine. Maybe they want a business analyst that works in an Agile environment and has experience in health insurance in Dallas. They put that into the search engine and out pops matching resumes to consider for an interview.
Yet, if you fit that profile perfectly and don’t have business analyst, Agile, health insurance, and Dallas in your resume, the search engine won’t consider your resume as a good match.
List every job skill — including the soft skills that every job is supposed to have — because it increases the probability of a hit. Standard job titles. All methodologies. All locations. A person can’t see your story unless your resume gets spit out of the search engine as a possibility.
If you aren’t getting the calls for interviews when you think your skills are a slam-dunk for a position, it’s time to go back to the foundation — the resume — to see where it can be improved to better reflect your work. You can’t shine in an interview unless you actually get an interview.