Resume Tips For Standing Out In A Crowded Job Market

Posted by McKaela Baldus on 10/6/20 10:13 AM
McKaela Baldus
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Recruiters and hiring managers go through hundreds of resumes every week. Sometimes, we might sift through more than a hundred resumes for a single position. Even for the strongest candidates, it’s not always easy to break through the clutter. But there are certain tactics you can use to make your qualifications stand out. I recently asked Ben Lehmann, Director of Sales and HR recruiting at SkyWater Search Partners, what leaps off the page for him when he’s reviewing resumes. Here are his top 7 tips.

Standing Out Part 1- Resume Tips - SD 480p - SD 480p

 

Recruiters and hiring managers go through hundreds of resumes every week. Sometimes, we might sift through more than a hundred resumes for a single position. Even for the strongest candidates, it’s not always easy to break through the clutter. But there are certain tactics you can use to make your qualifications stand out. I recently asked Ben Lehmann, Director of Sales and HR recruiting at SkyWater Search Partners, what leaps off the page for him when he’s reviewing resumes. Here are his top 7 tips.

Education: Show your dedication to growth.

Over the past few years, there has been some sense that college degrees might be losing some of their importance for hiring managers. We do see some of that. But the truth is, most employers and recruiters still do want to see that degree. A degree quantifies educational achievements, but it does more than that. It also reflects dedication to your own growth and your career. Likewise, if you go back to get your master’s degree, it shows a commitment to continuous growth.

Career Progression: Show your success.

If you’ve been with a company and have gone through a rotation or a progression of positions with expanding responsibilities, that shows growth, especially if you have stayed with that company for three or more years. Those kinds of job progressions tell us that you have had some success, that your employer recognizes it, and they’ve been willing to invest in you, giving you greater opportunities. That same rule can even apply if you show that progression across different companies.

Accolades and Accomplishments: Show that you are going above and beyond.

Another big one – especially in sales – is accolades and accomplishments. Most sales organizations or departments have something like a President’s club that honors and recognizes the sales leaders who meet or exceed their goals or quotas. Hiring managers want to see proof that you’re motivated, goal driven and successful and these kinds of accolades do that.

Relevant Experience: Prove you are qualified.

As you apply for specific sales position, it’s really important to demonstrate that you understand how different sales roles really draw upon different skill sets. If you’re applying for a new business development role, you should understand that you need to really enjoy prospecting, making cold contacts, and landing new accounts – and you need to point to successes you’ve had in that arena.  Conversely, if you’re great at nurturing existing relationships, keeping clients happy, and building loyalty, that’s more of a relationship management position.  Tailor your resume to showcase the distinct skills you possess that match the needs of the job.

Concise Resume: Respect their time.

In my line of work, I see a lot of long resumes. And I have to tell you, the longer they are, the tougher it is to pull out the most compelling points. Multiple studies have shown that, once a recruiter or hiring manager sees your resume, that resume has roughly six seconds to grab their attention and be placed on the pile of ‘potentials’ for interview. Yes, you want to showcase your accomplishments and strengths.  And yes, we want to see them. But we really need your resume to tell me that within 3-4 bullet points, not a half page per job. 

Learn now to pass the six second resume test.

Proper Title: Market yourself.

Similar jobs in different organizations might have slightly different titles. That’s expected. But sometimes, we’ll see a job title on a resume that seems a little inflated for the scope of the actual job responsibilities. Exaggerating a job title doesn’t pay off. If you’re concerned that your actual job title is too generic or misleading, add a descriptive or functional title that matches how the market understands the scope of the position. When you do that, you’ll actually open yourself up to more opportunities for which you’re actually a fit.

Showcase company size: Speak to the resources you’ve had access to and your experience level.

This is one that I often see candidates fail to highlight but it’s one of the biggest areas of interest for the hiring manager.  It’s not that one company size is better than the other. It’s really about being able to show the growth opportunities you’ve had by virtue of the size of the company – and how well you took advantage of those opportunities.  For example, if you were with a Fortune 500 company, did you take advantage of the very rich training and development opportunities available to you? List those. Describe the skills and experiences they gave you. At the opposite end of the spectrum, if you were at a small start-up, you probably had to roll up your sleeves, jump in, and learn about nearly every aspect of the business. Definitely call those out in your resume. Having a mix of these two types of job experiences on your resume can be very powerful.

If you're beginning a job search or if you've been applying for a while but not getting interviews, try these 7 tips.    

Hungry for more tips on how to strengthen your resume? Read our post on an additional 6 Resume Tips and Sample Strengths to Land More Interviews.


 

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