Career advice

Resume tips that impress hiring managers

You want to stand out from the competition when applying for jobs. There can be dozens, even hundreds of applicants for any given position at any time, and many of those will be qualified for the role.

How do you set yourself apart? You know you’ve got a winning personality, the most excellent skill set, the best qualifications, and your work ethic is second to none. But how do you convey that in a one or two-page document to someone you haven’t met in person? It isn’t easy. But there are some resume tricks you can use to grab the hiring manager’s attention.

7 resume tips that impress hiring managers

Resume tip #1: Keep it succinct

Your resume should not exceed two pages. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have; nobody will read more than that. Omit any experience beyond your last five jobs or 10-15 years. Cut unnecessary words and fine-tune your editing to include only the most important and impressive information.

Resume tip #2: Customize your resume to the job you’re applying for

Most people send out the same resume for every job application without changing a thing. Don’t just send out one resume, blasting out dozens of carbon copies of the same document for every job you see. Tailor your resume to every specific job you apply for. This means looking at the keywords, qualifications, and required skills and including those exact skills and qualifications in your resume. If they list time management, Excel, Photoshop, and/or Hubspot in their job posting, state that you have time management, Excel, Photoshop, and/or Hubspot skills. Check out the company website and see what you can glean about the culture and if there is a way to demonstrate cultural fit in your resume, do so. For example, if there is a major social responsibility component at the company, draw attention to any volunteer work you’ve done related to the cause or any involvement you might already have.

Resume tip #3: Use relevant keywords and optimize for the Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

It’s also imperative to use relevant keywords found in the job description. As previously stated, include the exact skills. Also include other qualifications and echo the language in the description. If the job title you’re applying for is “Marketing Coordinator,” write “Marketing Coordinator” in the headline next to your name. If the description asks for the ability to build and maintain strong client relationships, find ways to say this using a mix of those exact words and variations thereupon. The software that will probably read your resume before a human does will look for these keywords (and their variations). More ways of getting past the ATS, including spelling out acronyms and using bullet points instead of tables, can be found in this article here.

Resume tip #4: Highlight your achievements and show your value

Most people write in their experience section about their “duties and responsibilities” at their previous jobs. This is not a good use of resume space. It’s dry, dull, and usually unnecessary. The person looking at your resume probably already has a general idea of what an admin assistant or a sales account manager does throughout the day. Rather than listing the obvious, highlight any unique duties and your accomplishments. If you were a regional account manager for Latin America, talk about the number of accounts you managed and how much you increased sales. If you implemented systems, won new business, or found ways to save time, save money, or make money, talk about that. You can refer to your job responsibilities within the context of these achievements rather than just making a list of stuff you did. Use numbers wherever possible (increased sales by 76% in six months). This helps employers see how you will bring value to their company, which is the most important thing you need your resume to do.

Resume tip #5: Write a great summary

Don’t write an “objective” statement in your resume. Write a summary instead. Objectives are outdated and a waste of space. Nobody cares that you want the opportunity to use your excellent people skills in a role where you can learn and grow. They care about what you can offer them and how you will make them money and make their lives easier. A now famous eye tracing study conducted a few years ago found that recruiters look at resumes for about seven seconds, meaning you have a very limited amount of time to get the hiring manager’s attention. A well-crafted summary placed at the top of the page will help. State your job title and list your most impressive skills and qualifications in a few sentences. For example:

Project Manager with 7+ years of experience managing every stage of construction projects and a reputation for exceeding client expectations. Skilled at leading teams with a history of completing work under budget and ahead of deadline.

Resume tip #6: Highlight both hard and soft skills

Job candidates should showcase a combination of hard and soft skills. You learn hard skills through training and education applicable to specific jobs, like writing, welding, teaching, coding, bookkeeping, or operating heavy machinery. Soft skills are interpersonal and communication skills more like inherent qualities and attributes (though they can also be learned). While you do, of course, need hard skills, soft skills are also extremely important to employers. The most in-demand soft skills in 2022 include:

Willingness to learn
Time management
Ability to take initiative/work independently
Decision making
Work ethic

Highlight these skills in your resume by listing them in your skills section and showing examples of when you have applied them.

Resume tip #7: Include an excellent cover letter

There’s some debate these days over whether a cover letter is necessary. The right answer is: yes, it is. You should always send a cover letter. It’s true that there is a good chance nobody is going to read it, but you still have to include one. A good cover letter can set your application over the top. Use it to share different information from what you have included in your resume, like skills, qualifications, and accomplishments you couldn’t fit into one or two pages; show your enthusiasm for the position, and make a connection with the hiring manager. A great cover letter can absolutely increase your chances of landing the job and beating another candidate to the finish line.

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