Résumés are a necessary part of every job search. As tired a concept as it seems at moments, we still have to hand over a list of our accomplishments and work history to prospective employers. Nonetheless, the résumé deserves some attention. Here’s how to hack yours for the best results.
Sometimes the résumé gets you an interview. It’s almost like a bigger, more contextual business card; between listing the things you’ve done and the places you’ve worked, prospective employers can decide in a heartbeat whether or not they even want to talk to you about their open roles.
Because of this, the résumé is critical to your job search; it’s sometimes the only tangible way to get noticed at the outset of the hiring process! However, nothing is worse for selling your skills than some unremarkable Word document listing your chronological work history.
Updating a résumé should include more than adding your most recent employers. To keep up-to-date with existing skills and trends, and take ego out of the equation by focusing only on what’s important. Does it read well? Would you hire you?
If your answer to those questions caused your brow to furrow, it’s time to start fresh. Capstone Résumé Services’ Amy Gies says adding some context can help. “Your backstory needs to include the human side,” Gies said. “Who did you consult with? How did you work with them to resolve the problem? That’s what they want to know.”
In line with that, make sure that your résumé always shows the results of your work. Did your skills result in a big win for your division? Did your last project astound your audience? Make sure to list it (with appropriate metrics).
Keep in mind who’s hiring, and what they’re looking for. As you apply to specific companies, make sure your résumé highlights the specific skills they’re looking for. Also, be prepared to back up those skills during the interview process. For example, if your history involves a lot of data analytics, a hiring manager may attempt to challenge that skillset.
As you narrow and streamline, don’t dumb your résumé down. The initial recruiter might not know what the R language is good for, but don’t hide that skill away. Let your knowledge and skillset shine! The hiring manager and prospective employer can judge your true worth.
Just avoid being braggadocios. An effective, honest résumé loses its steam if you’re simply bragging about what you’ve done rather than delving into some detail. Most efforts are team ones, so don’t forget who helped get you there; make sure to emphasize your collaboration abilities.
But what should you do if there’s an unsavory company on your résumé? The answer is simple: get even more personal, especially if that company’s wrongdoings were made public. A good practice is not to minimize the space that company earns on your résumé. If you did good work, be proud of that, regardless of where you worked.
At the same time, don’t ignore the issues your former employer faced. Ignoring known, well-documented issues, even in a résumé, might accidentally strike a combative tone. Acknowledge that you did valuable work for the company in your résumé; in the cover letter, and during the job interview, you can admit that you weren’t privy to any institutional problems.