7 Steps to Take Your Resume from Mediocre to Must Interview

According to Trading Economics “The unemployment Rate in the United States increased to 7.90 percent in January of 2013 from 7.80 percent in December of 2012,” which means a lot of resumes will be flowing through the wire. But, how do you manage to take your resume from “1 of 500” to “1 of 10” that actually lands the interview? CEO and Founder of YouTern, Mark Babbitt offers a few of his personal tips on how to upgrade your resume, and land that dream job or at least something better than the one you currently have.

Step 1: Present a Resume Worth Reading

Problem: Far too many resumes are littered with typos, unfinished sentences and poor layout. These resumes scream “unemployable” – and are the first to be discarded.

Solution: Use a resume professional or trusted mentor, to create an articulate resume that passes the first-glance test with good grammar, correct spelling and an easy-to-read layout.

Step 2: Personalize Your Resume (and Cover Letter)

Problem: Too many applicants send generic resumes to every company, showing no differentiation or interest in this specific position – without the slightest effort to indicate any research was done on the company – these resumes are next to be discarded.

Solution: Tailor every resume you send to the job description and company. No exceptions.

Step 3: Pepper Your Resume with Keywords

Problem: Larger corporations and agencies use Automatic Tracking Systems (ATS) to process the high volume of resumes received. These systems find keywords in your resume that show you meet minimum qualifications. Without these keywords, your application is sent to the digital discard pile – before a human ever sees your resume.

Solution: Use those exact words from the requirements section of the job description, meticulously include keywords in your resume.

Step 4: Create a Summary Statementresume_tips

Problem: Through social media profiles, we enjoy getting to know each other in a matter of seconds. In our digital world, your resume should do the same.

Solution: Just below your name, create a summary statement – either a short paragraph (maybe 400 characters) or six to eight bullet points – that enables recruiters, in one glance, to see who you are, what you can do and if you are a good fit for their company. (Note: the summary statement is a great place for peppering those keywords!)

Step 5: Quantify!

Recruiters are drawn to “inferred contribution” – a fancy way of saying “What you did before you will do again, for me.” Quantifying, in the simplest form possible, enables the recruiter to see how you’ve performed in the past– and envision how you will produce in their company. The trick is to help them see your “by the numbers” value!

Some examples:

Before: Lead my sales team in all categories; consistently exceeded quota
After: Top salesperson in 4 consecutive quarters; exceeded quote by 132%

Before: Excellent leader and mentor
After: Maintained a 75.4% retention rate among team members; 45% of my team received promotions

In an ultra-competitive job market, quantifying your work history is a mandatory step in writing your resume.

Step 6: Concentrate on Culture

Problem: Will be a good fit within the company culture? Will you work well with the existing team? Will you and your supervisor get along? Are you a low-key contributor… or a high-maintenance diva?

Solution: Analyze the company’s website, social media presence and the job description. What are the keywords that describe their employer brand? For example, if they often mention teamwork, flexibility, family and community involvement – your resume should be infused with those keywords. (Warning: do not do this in an insincere, “I’ll-say-anything-to-get-a-job” way; be real – and be honest)

Step 7: Remove the Notion of Risk

Problem: Are you a good person? Do you make good personal decisions?  Should the recruiter stick her neck out to recommend you?

Solution: To determine the answers to these questions, your LinkedIn profile is reviewed to ensure no discrepancies with your resume (specifically, have you attempted to use keywords to BS your way into an interview?) Facebook is reviewed as a digital reference check; anything that positions you as a risk is scrutinized heavily. Your Twitter account, personal blog and other forms of online presence will also be evaluated. You will be Googled.

All this is done with one mission in mind: to reduce risk by ensuring the “real” you is a close match to the “resume” you.

Of course these 7 steps will not automatically land you the job, but this will help take to from just another person apply for a position to hopefully the person they want for the position. Happy hunting!!