A resume by itself is not likely to ever land you a job. But it can get you a job interview.
Why? A great resume quickly tells a recruiter or hiring manager what you have to offer—what will make you excel at your new position. A great resume shows how you’re unique, and, with carefully crafted language, shines a light on your professional experiences, accomplishments, and skills. This is true whether you’re a senior executive, a newer professional going for your first promotion, or a mid-level professional looking to change careers.
Recruiters spend startlingly little time reviewing resumes. (Some research shows the average length of time is six seconds.) So a great resume also must be well-formatted and easy to read—easy to skim, really.
When you’re putting your resume together, we recommend spending most time on two key elements: a powerful professional summary and a focus on results.
Your professional summary should be one of the first things a recruiter sees. In just a few lines and/or bullet points, it clearly summarizes your career experiences. Remember that you’re selling a potential employer on what you can do for him or her—not on why you want the job. Your summary should provide the employer with a compelling message about what unique benefits you will bring to the job.
Focusing on results means that your resume should be filled with words and phrases that spotlight what you’ve achieved in any role, from sales quotas surpassed, operating efficiencies achieved, leadership impacts, awards received.
These let a recruiter of hiring manager quickly understand what makes you unique and sets you apart from the competition. Every bit of real estate on your resume should answer the question, “Why you?”
When your resume clearly highlights the benefits of hiring you rather than anyone else, it’s likely to open the door to an interview.