The purpose of your resume is to highlight your past work history and accomplishments. A resume is a marketing tool designed to position your qualifications favorably as compared with other job seekers. Each word and sentence need to be carefully considered so that the document makes a great first impression. Most recruiters and hiring managers peruse your resume for about 15 seconds during an initial read-through searching for relevant keywords, job history (employer and tenure) and accomplishments so strive for brevity and omit extraneous content.
Below we review best strategies with regard to resume preparation so that your finished document will best highlight your qualifications for the job.
Best Strategies for Resume Preparation
Your résumé may not need an “extreme makeover” to be an effective job search tool. Following the three steps below can greatly enhance the marketability of your résumé to potential employers.
1. Tailor your résumé to the job
The focus of your résumé should be on those past job duties and accomplishments that are directly relevant to the career you now seek. Keep in mind that most employers only scan your résumé during an initial read-through, so you want to be sure to include the most pertinent information in the first few lines under each job title.
2. Use a bullet-style for ease-of-reading and be concise
Because hiring managers just skim your résumé at first, it helps to use a bullet point format with concise sentences. Rather than “I was a nurse supervisor who was responsible for establishing staffing patterns that eliminated shortage during the busiest periods of the day, simply state, “Created staffing patterns to eliminate staff shortage during busy periods.” In all cases, avoid the use of the word “I” when creating your résumé.
3. Choose Keywords Wisely
Most often when you submit your résumé online it is first screened by keyword-specific software. If your résumé doesn’t contain a sufficient number of these words, it is eliminated from further consideration. Keywords serve to focus your résumé so that it captures your most relevant skills and accomplishments. Peruse online job ads to understand the most commonly used keywords in your field career and then strategically embed them in your résumé. Two methods of doing so are:
a. Create a “Summary of Experience” section at the top of your résumé.
Think of this as a cliff notes version of your background. Summarize your experience to date and significant accomplishments and be sure to sprinkle relevant keywords throughout this statement. For nurses and clinicians, mention your practice area and licenses held.
b. Place your most relevant experience and keywords in the top two or three bullet points under each job heading since these are the lines most commonly perused by hiring managers during a first read.
Even before a potential employer speaks with you, they have formed an impression based on your resume. They base this first impression not only on the content of your resume but also on its presentation. For this reason, it’s important to create a resume that highlights your experience with strategic use of keywords and accomplishments. Implementing the strategies noted in this article will go a long way in ensuring your submission is viewed favorably as compared to other job seekers.