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It's Not the Luck of the Irish that Gets Your Résumé a Second Look

It's not the luck of the Irish that gets your résumé a second look. All the tools to help with career success are out there, take advantage of them to learn the skills they just didn’t have enough time to teach in school.

6 min read

Today's post is written by Jessica Smith, a tech recruiter and personal branding enthusiast. When she’s not networking, you can find her hosting a show for her podcast, ‘Career Coaching with Jessness’ over on iTunes or tweeting up a storm on Twitter @coachJessness. If you're currently job hunting, it can sometimes feel like your résumé is just getting thrown into an empty void, never to be found again. But it's not your fault, this particular kind of writing isn't something that most of us were ever formally trained in, and it can start to feel like it's just the luck of the draw that get's your résumé a second look. If I were to describe graduating college in metaphor, I’d say it’s a bit like being an astronaut. Only without a cord helping you navigate; the cord has been cut and you’re floating around in space not sure what to do next. All our lives we get used to following a syllabus, turning things in, getting feedback, and concluding each course knowing where we’re going next. Where’s the class on how to write a résumé? Why wouldn’t we learn best practices for how to show off the skills and experience we’ve built over the years? Like it or not, the résumé you create is your first impression. The specifics of what you put on that piece of paper matter! There are key strategies you can implement to help build a solid personal brand, a brand that encompasses all you have to offer, and it starts the minute you submit your résumé. There is so much more you can do to help prepare before you hit the submit button on applications. Sounds simple, right? Put information on a piece of paper, hit submit, and get hired. But plain and simple, you must be creating your personal brand in the right ways. Below are the two top areas I see most successful in creating a dynamic first impression:

Your Résumé Should Show Your Personality

I know it may be counter intuitive at first, “Wait, I should  share what I like to do outside the hours of 8:00am - 5:00pm?” YES! This highlights the human behind the résumé, and at the end of the day those of us that work nine to five spend a lot of time at work. Hiring managers want to know what you’re all about, and we all know this goes beyond what we can do from a professional standpoint. Who knows you might just have fishing, rock climbing, or yoga in common.

Emphasize the Nuts and Bolts in Your Résumé

The days of broad, generic descriptions for your job experience bullet points are long gone. It’s time to get granular! The more detail you can put for each position you held, the better. Some key bits of information can include:

  • Performance Expectations - How did the company you worked for know you were doing a great job? Put that down, it will help the hiring manager see you in a similar role they are hiring for. Even if the titles aren’t exactly the same, if you were held to similar expectations it can help match the two together and give you a more realistic chance of landing the next step of the interview process.
  • Include the Tangible - I see it all too often, “Communicated effectively with team and outside vendors,” or “Ensured reports were shared amongst team for total visibility,” or “Improved production rates by 20%” This is all fantastic, but breaking it down further will go a long way. What ways did you communicate effectively? How did you find that way of communicating worked over other ways? What reports were you handling? How did you improve production rates? Were there certain things you implemented? Did you change current processes? See what I mean? Now that’s meaty.

Now, print your résumé, highlight areas you plan to change, and start to write your own life syllabus. No luck necessary! All the tools to help with career success are out there. Take advantage of what's out there to learn the skills they just didn’t have enough time to teach in school. Tweet me which tip you’re going to implement today @coachJessness, and I’ll be sure to send you a virtual *high five.*