8 Resume Tips to Boost Your Job Search
Your resume is your advertisement when you’re applying on line, and your talking points when you’re applying in person at a conference or at a job fair. As such, it’s one of the most important things to get right in your job search. The following eight tips are some of the best steps to take to make sure you’re a leading candidate.
Hook the Reader (and Robot Reader)
1. Start your resume with the most relevant information first to impress and hook your reader as quickly as possible
Hardly anyone appreciates (or can pay attention for long) to something that doesn’t quickly get to the point. A resume is the same way. If you’re applying or handing out your resume in person, you have the benefit of prefacing your resume and guiding your reader. Online, you only have proper formatting and organization to save you.
Make sure to organize your resume to quickly highlight what matters most.
Anticipate what your reader will be most interested in when considering your candidacy and put that information closer to the top of their respective sections.
2. If you're applying across the industry, be sure to have distinct resumes with relevant keywords and jargon to match
General aviation, commercial, cargo, and military industries serving aviation each have their own unique brand of jargon, buzzwords, and keywords. Scouting out in advance in the form of more-than-cursory searches online can be what gets your resume picked up by a robot resume reader.
When applying online, there’s almost nothing more preeminently worth addressing than getting past the robot gatekeeper. Familiarizing yourself and being smart before tailoring your resume and applying are often worth it just for this reason alone.
Similarly, when applying in person, you need to catch your readers’ eyes. This should mostly be done through verbal conveyance. However, it’s worth noting that even the best personal interaction can’t save an awful resume.
Check All the Major Resume Boxes
3. Look for the major keywords and "hard" requirements and prepare to present yourself as a prime fit
After you get past the robot gatekeeper, you’ll want to get to the top of the shortlist both for the digital algorithm and for the set of human eyes reviewing applications.
This is another one of those included-by-requirement items that must nonetheless be brought up. Quality trumps quantity here. Getting hired means targeting specific jobs and practically sniping your resume at their point-of-application.
Don’t get ready to “get hired.” Get ready to get hired as X in position Y in industry Z. It really matters and it’s actually really transparent if you’ve gotten ready in the proper order (or if you only got ready in the general sense).
4. Avoid passive language and personal pronouns (which have their place on LinkedIn but not on resumes)
Energize your advertisement to your employer! Passive language reads closer to boring than someone excited to take on the position. Of course, this advice shouldn’t be taken to the other extreme either.
Be appropriately active in your tone when writing or your resume will read wrong. Your resume shouldn’t be the source of any missed opportunities to impress and convince your employer you’re the right candidate for the job.
5. Only use the subheadings you'll need to hook and impress your reader
Don’t overburden your resume with too many headings. If you want to include your “Objective” or “Summary” they need to fit the emerging story your reader will get from glossing over your resume.
If you’re going to go generic for any previously required subheading such as those mentioned above, it’s best to just drop them and use that freed up space to craft that all important emerging story.
6. Use conservatively "fresh" formatting to stand out but use standard, professional fonts
Especially when applying in person, it’s important to do whatever you can to differentiate yourself from the sea of candidates that will be your competition. If you can’t differentiate yourself, whoever you’re talking to about your candidacy will often revert to an autopilot response (which usually gets you nowhere). Conservatively unique formatting helps alleviate that possibility.
However, absolutely always be sure that a simulated robot gatekeeper (like available free via Jobscan.co) can pick up your resume well enough that any conservatively unique formatting doesn’t hurt your chances when you apply online.
Go the Extra Mile to Set Yourself Apart
7. Use a resume text scanner like Jobscan.co to get a rough look into how your resume matches up to any job description
This is a special shout out to an extra way to be smart without spending more money (you can use a free account). With a free account, you can paste in any job description and your resume and see how well it matches.
It tells you how many times your resume keywords match the job description keywords and if you’re missing any. It can be a really useful tool to automate the tailor-fitting process that you have to do when applying to any job in particular.
8. Be selective when applying in order to stand out
This can’t be said more than enough: higher quality is better than higher quantity.
Especially if you’re applying in person or contacting a hiring representative via LinkedIn, you should have one favorite position that you are looking for that you can ask about specifically. People can help you if you already know where you’re going. This means knowing the requisition number of the job, the department, location, etc.
Imagine someone stopping you to ask you for directions only to ask you where he or she should be go. It doesn’t work unless you’re more than strangers which often isn’t the case.
Quality of your application and your job search attempt will differentiate you. Resist the urge to mass apply!