Career Resources

Career Resources

The One Thing Every Good Resume Does

Posted July 23, 2014 & filed under Job Search, Resume

The One Thing Every Good Resume Does

Trying to stand out to an employer? Most companies openly tell you how to do it.

Job advertisements emphasize which job requirements and desired skills are important so businesses don’t have to sift through as many unqualified candidates in the midst of interviews. And to snag their attention, you have to encode your resume with these bits of information.

A Job by Any Other Name…

Every company has their own internal lingo. Acronyms, spoken short-hand, project code names, and even job titles can be part of a company’s exclusive language. Inside the fold, it’s acceptable. In the outside world, it can be detrimental to your job search.

Employers should never have to guess your profession. An ambiguous title in your resume makes communication anything other than what it needs to be: clear.

Even if former or current employers labelled your position as a Code Ninja or a Digital Prophet or a Facility Superman, it’s often better to choose a more conventional title. Distill your job down to its elementary form and put a basic, accessible title on every resume you send out.

The only time to air out those unique titles is when another company is just as quirky in their advertisement.

Lost in a Sea of Keywords

Job advertisements are jam-packed with keywords. Some are obvious choices to include in your resume, but the quantity and placement aren’t so straightforward.

For example, this job advertisement paragraph gives you everything you need:

Job Ad Excerpt

Even if you aren’t a C# Developer, you could create a resume that fits these keywords.

Repeated keywords – Repeated keywords like C#, WPF, and GUI are obvious standouts. However, you should avoid just lumping them together in a technical skills section. An effective resume has each keyword sprinkled throughout in the context of each project.

Read between the lines – In most cases, relevant soft skills are listed in the job requirements section of an ad. However, to pick out the truly important professional qualities, you need to scour the responsibilities themselves. The above advert emphasizes leadership skills (“verify that junior staff members…”), self-motivation (“take charge of GUI designs…”), and a fastidious eye for detail (“adhere to the fundamentals…”) through action verbs and other specific nouns.

Make yourself a show-stopper – Even if a certain keyword isn’t frequently repeated throughout a job advertisement, it still can benefit you to highlight it in your resume. This is when it pays to know the rarity of your individual skills.

To give you some context, here’s a hypothetical bit of work experience.

In the end, everything you need is included in that job advertisement. You just have to use their own words to make you stand out.