With record numbers of jobseekers actively seeking new employment, you have to work harder – and smarter - than ever before to get your resume seen, and to get in the door for an interview. Having a resume that makes you a competitive player in today's job market is no longer enough to ensure a response to your resume.
Employers in this market have just one question: Why should I hire YOU? In this economy, employers have unprecedented numbers of candidates to choose from for every single job opening. If your resume is just competitive, you don't make the cut. It takes more than a competitor to win in this market – employers have to see you as a superstar.
So how do you take your resume to the next level? How do you convince a potential employer you are the "must-have" candidate? Here are some tips to get you started:
1) Know what's happening in NOW your industry. Conduct some research through professional associations, colleagues, competitors, and news bureaus to make sure you're up to speed on hot topics in your field. Make sure you know what the latest terminology is, and use those keywords in your resume.
2) Recognize what the future holds. Look for emerging technologies, untapped markets, the latest product advancements, and new product developments. Show a potential employer you know what's coming down the road – immediately and long-term - and that you know how to uncover and capitalize on those opportunities.
3) Distinguish yourself. What do you do better than anyone else in your field? What are the strengths, expertise, and competencies that make you distinctive? What would former bosses, customers, and team members tell a potential employer about your work?
4) Quantify your achievements. Think about each job you've held, and ask yourself how your employer benefited because you were there. What did you do – specifically – to increase revenue, reduce costs, improve service, streamline processes, gain market share, develop new products, etc. How much did you generate in revenue? How much time and money did your idea for a process improvement save? Did you help turn around an unhappy customer? How much did that client mean to the company in annual sales? Make your story compelling and powerful with precise details and numbers.
5) Position yourself for your NEXT Role. Don't dwell on where you've been. Position your resume for the role you want next. If you're a Sales Rep who wants to be a Sales Manager, try to bring out instances where you've had opportunities to train new hires, lead projects or teams, or present your successes at local or national meetings. Try to find examples of leadership roles, and bring out that experience in your resume. Let a potential employer know you want to excel, advance, and grow in your career.
Today's job market makes it more critical than ever to have a commanding resume – a resume that gives you a greater competitive edge and more than a fighting chance. If you need help putting together a "knock-'em-dead" document, hire a professional resume writer to help you project the right professional image.