The most critical thing when writing a resume is to write the resume the HR person wants to read. Every person who has ever posted a job or ever written a job description has an idea of the perfect resume for that role. The problem, as I’m sure you’re aware for the job seekers, is that the hiring managers get so many applications that they need to know that this is the right resume within 30 seconds. I’ve written before many times about the black hole of resume submissions and I have no doubt if you’re reading this blog you’re familiar with that experience; sending out countless resumes but getting no response.
I’m going to give you the best way to get the hiring manager to say yes the second they see your resume. But I warn you it’s very time consuming and of course won’t always work. It’s four simple words: Reverse Write Your Resume.
Here’s what you do:
On half your screen put up a blank word document, and on the other side of the screen pop open a job description. You’re going to write your resume over from scratch forgetting everything you’ve ever done before; you’re going to ignore all the rules of resume writing you’ve learned; You’re going to delete from your memory bank all your favorite sentences from your resume; you’re going to stop and truly read this job description.
Think about it! How often do you really read a job description? How often do you take the time to analyze the mindset of the person writing the job description? Do they use long sentences or short sentences? Do they use a lot of adjectives or are they terse? Do they emphasize culture, performance, past experience, or future goals?
Don’t get bogged down in the psychobabble but start making assumptions about the person who wrote this job description. Now be a sales person and write your resume in a similar tone. If they use long sentences, use long sentences. If they use short sentences, use short sentences. Pick up on the cues.
Once you have a sense of the mindset of your targeted reader, you are going to do something very simple and it is going to take you 50% of the way there. Put down your first line of your professional headline in big bold font and make it the job title of the job you’re applying for. If the job is a certified public accountant, you want “Certified Public Accountant” to be the most prominent line on your resume. Just by doing that you’ve made it so easy for the hiring manager to decide that your resume is worth reading.
You’re well on your way now! I understand this first step is time consuming so I’ll give you some time to complete it before we move on to attack the oh so sneaky ‘sub-headline.’ Be sure to post some killer headlines below in the comment section.
Sean Weinberg is the COO and co-founder of RezScore, a free web application that reads, analyzes, and grades resumes – instantly. Also the founder of Freedom Resumes, Sean has dedicated his career to helping job seekers write the best possible resumes.