Writing a resume can be challenging for anyone. It’s hard to write about yourself and your career accomplishments in an objective way. It’s not intuitive and it’s not usually taught in schools, so many job seekers are forced to tackle it on their own or hire a professional, which is where I come in.
Whether you’ve created a resume or acquired help, there are three mistakes that I commonly see clients make while writing their own resumes. Fortunately, they’re simple fixes and knowing what to include will make your CV more appealing to hiring managers.
- Include a Skills Matrix
It’s important that you include a skills matrix at the top of your resume. It typically fits right below your headlining statement and above your professional experience. It’s essential to put it near the top so hiring managers — and machine scanners — can browse your most specialized skills, software knowledge and the languages you speak. It’s an easy and effective way to ensure that anyone who views your resume understands your abilities and what you can do for the company at which you’re applying.
Studies show that hiring managers and recruiters look at a single resume for six seconds on average, so it’s extremely important you include a skills matrix. Even if they read one section, they’ll immediately be able to tell if you qualify for the position or not. By highlighting your skills at the top, nobody has to search through your resume to figure it out.
- Highlight your Achievements not your Current/Previous Job Duties
Experts agree that using subjective terms and cliches on your resume should be avoided. You should show, not tell your achievements. For instance, don’t say you’re “results-driven”; Instead show the employer your results. While it’s important to include the specifics of your role, your resume won’t be as effective if you don’t highlight your accomplishments.
Provide as much data and metrics as possible. Here’s an idea of some of quantitative info you should include:
- How many sales did you secure in a weekly, monthly or annual rate?
- How many accounts did you manage?
- Did you reduce costs for your department? Label as a percentage or the amount.
- How many clients did you interact with?
- Did you achieve or surpass a quota?
- Did you manage the team? How many?
- Did you work with any notable clients or vendors?
Don’t be afraid to calculate these metrics. It’s always worth it to find out the personal statistics that help you shine. As long as you can prove those numbers, always include them in your resume!
- Write and Edit your Resume with the Desired Job Description to Guide You
Many people forget to write and edit their resumes with a specific job in mind. But remember: a strong resume is characterized by a clear focus, so hiring managers can tell right away if you’re a good fit for the position.
Browse through the job descriptions that you’re interested in applying to and, in your resume, include the keywords and phrases from the posting. If you’re ready to move into an executive-level position within the same industry, for example, you’ll want to search for industry-specific roles of that caliber and use those job descriptions for inspiration. Be mindful: sometimes job descriptions have more eloquent ways of wording job duties.
Don’t hurt your chances of landing a great role by not utilizing current job postings. You’ll also want to browse around LinkedIn to see how industry professionals discuss jobs and incorporate that into your CV, as well. Using the current industry jargon will help you look more knowledgeable.
Luckily, these mistakes are easily fixable, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially when you’re conducting a job search! Professional resume writers are always here to guide you through the process and ensure that your resume and cover letters impress — without the mistakes. In time, these tips will give your resume the foundation for a second glance from employers.