Ready, Set, Go! The 2017 job search season is upon us. January through April is viewed by many to be the most active time of year for employers to hire. However, it is also the most active time for job seekers to be searching for new employment opportunities. What this boils down to is there are a lot of jobs out there, but the competition is going to be stiff.
There are numerous elements that comprise a successful job search campaign, but one of the most important continues to be the résumé. Granted, the advent of social media alternatives, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and personal websites have put a dent in the popularity of traditional résumés. However, in general, the majority of prospective employers have not yet fully caught up with the new social media trend, so résumés for the foreseeable future will continue to be a major tool for getting interviews.
So what do I mean by an accomplishment-driven résumé? Here are three things that are essential in an effectively crafted accomplishment-driven résumé.
- Start the résumé off with a highly focused, but compelling opening summary section. Reviewers will usually take about 10-15 seconds to scan a résumé to determine the potential suitability of an applicant for a position. If you do not capture the attention of the reviewers in that time span, you probably will never do so. Therefore, an opening summary section is essential that includes a branding statement, keyword phrase section, and up to three bullets of targeted information that make your case for earning an interview.
- Employers are less interested in knowing the basics of what an applicant did in each employment position. Therefore, focusing solely on the basics in a résumé will make a job seeker look average which is not a good way to get noticed. Instead, efforts must be made to document your accomplishments or actions that made an important difference to an employer’s success. The idea of “just doing your job” will not work in a properly created résumé. It is more about how you did your job better than expectations and with compelling results.
- Make every effort to create a résumé that is well balanced, exhibiting a range of hard skills critical to the job being advertised but also highlighting soft skills, such as critical thinking, customer-driven, high integrity, flexibility, and loyalty. Employers want to hire well-rounded employees and soft skills should not be ignored when crafting a résumé. However, just mentioning soft skills is not enough. Whenever possible, provide examples of how the soft skills helped you to be a valued employee.
A résumé continues to be an essential part of a job seeker’s tool box in finding a great job. However, a document that focuses on what you did as opposed to what you accomplished will have limited usefulness. Help prospective employers recognize your value by making your case in a professionally crafted accomplishment-driven résumé.