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The talent market, much like the housing market, is red-hot! More people are looking for new opportunities as COVID triggered the “Great Reflection.” At Pernod Ricard North America alone, we’ve received over 15,000 resumes in the last 12 months. With approximately 100 roles open throughout the year, that’s a staggering ratio. Companies like Amazon, GE, Facebook and Google, receive even more applications. Recruiters or hiring managers are only spending minutes (or even seconds) reading your resume and quickly scanning it to see if you’re a fit for their role. Much like a house up for sale, you need to stand out in the market and be able to highlight within mere moments why your resume and experience are worth the extra glance.
Curb appeal of your resume
Whether we want to admit it or not, looks matter up to a point. If you’ve ever walked down your street and seen a house that you love from the outside you may wonder what it’s like on the inside. When a recruiter eyes your resume, the first thing they see isn’t the individual words on the page but the overall look and feel of your resume which gives them an indication of who you are. A cluttered, unstructured resume that spreads to the 1mm of the border of the page may indicate that you’re not organized or have trouble being concise. Instead, follow a few key pointers:
- Keep it simple – show only your last 3-4 previous roles and gather earlier roles in your career together.
- Leave white space – a crowded resume is distracting and feels overwhelming to the recruiter who wants to learn about your background quickly and efficiently.
- Use appropriate headers – think about adding a “key achievements” section at the front of your resume highlighting your major accomplishments, so they are not buried in your history.
- Use color – this is always optional but there is something about a colorful header or border that draws the eye in!
Potential is more important than paint
Now that you’ve got their attention you want them to experience the full walk-through. When a celebrity designer on HGTV walks through even the roughest of houses, a trained eye can see the potential. Regardless of how flashy your resume is, a good recruiter will still see a diamond in the rough and be able to pick up your experience and achievements. The most important part of your resume is your list of past roles and experience. You’ll need to showcase what you’ve done and what difference it made to your company and your professional development
- Pull in language directly from the job description – some companies use algorithms that actually look for keywords from the job description, so although this may be time-consuming, make sure you are catering your resume to what the employer is looking for in their next hire.
- Don’t tell me your responsibilities, tell me your impact! – The most common mistake that candidates make is listing off the many responsibilities they had in a role. Yet no recruiter or hiring manager wants to know that you filed your expenses or even that you had three direct reports. Recruiters want to know the impact you made within the organization. Instead of saying you had a team of three, talk about how you supported their development or maybe how they went on to achieve promotions. Use this as an opportunity to talk about the impact you made as a leader.
- Provide the ROI to the impact – on top of stating the impact, show it with as much concrete and objective data as you can. How much did you increase sales? What was your consumer reach? Was there an impact to engagement scores? What was the feedback? Quantifying your impact will add stronger weight to your experience and showcase that you’re leaving a legacy behind.
Display unique features
A few unique elements to any home can sway the buyer. Similarly, a skills-based resume focuses on the competencies and expertise you’ve gained throughout your years of experience, rather than just focusing on past roles. A shift is taking place in what employers are looking for as more work is completed through project teams, agile working groups and cross-functional taskforces. Employers are looking for candidates they can “plug and play” into different areas of the business or move around into different transversal projects. Therefore, more recruiters are looking at the skills you bring to the table, so you’re resume needs to highlight your skills and certifications. All resumes should include a section on skills, but this type of resume is particularly important if you are:
- Junior in your career and have limited job or volunteer experience.
- Looking to move into a new industry or sector.
- Have diversified experience and need to create an over-arching story for your resume.
Remember that knowing what to omit is just as important as knowing what to include. Keep your resume concise, focused, and professional. Have a least one other person read through your resume for typos and grammatical mistakes. These very simple steps can be the difference between getting that initial screening or a recruiter flipping to the next resume in their pile.
Although the competition in the talent market is fierce, if you invest the time into drafting a compelling resume and customizing it for the role you are applying for, you can truly stand out from the competition.