The art of resume writing has changed a lot in the past 20 years. While there are still some tried and true methods (like clean layouts, bullet points, and lots of white space), technology and remote work have redefined what makes an effective resume. This is especially true if you’re a freelancer or applying for a remote position.
So if you’ve been firing off resumes left and right with no response, chances are your material needs a rewrite.
Fortunately, there are relatively quick-fixes that could help you get hired as early as today!
Here are the five things to put on your resume that will change the game.
1. An Attention-Grabbing Profile Statement
This might be the most critical thing on your resume. The traditional, uninspired objective statement is little more than a relic from your 9th-grade business class syllabus.
Replace it with a dynamic profile statement that explains what you’re about, what you’re after, and why they should care.
For example, a freelance writer could open with:
“A versatile and prolific content writer with five years of experience in ghostwriting ebooks and more than 50 published works to date.”
2. Quantifiable Stats
Percentages and numbers are your friends. Quantification transforms your resume from a boring summary of your previous “duties” to an impressive list of everything you’ve accomplished in your career.
Because at the end of the day, potential employers don’t care what your duties were, they care about how well you did them.
For example, take this common duty you might find on a resume:
“Responsible for answering emails in a timely manner.”
There is nothing in that statement that will inspire a manager to hire you. Practically everyone who uses a computer is responsible for answering emails promptly, making it completely redundant.
Instead, transform that duty into an achievement by quantifying it:
“Answered 300 emails daily, improving response turnaround time by 30% in 12 months.”
3. Words and Phrases that Cater to the Brand You’re Applying to
One of the most common mistakes that job seekers make is sending identical resumes to every job they apply. No two resumes that you send out should be quite the same, because every company you apply to is unique.
Do your homework on the brand and find out what their values are. Pay attention to specific phrases and keywords that are used in the job description and on the company website, and integrate them into your resume.
Employers will notice if you’ve taken the time to do this, and it demonstrates that you don’t just want any job, you want this job.
Using keywords does more than catch the attention of your prospective employer. Many companies now use an automated applicant tracking system to vet and nix submissions before a human ever lays eyes on them. If you've sent in a ton of applications, but you haven't received one call back, it may be time to check into a service like Jobscan. With Jobscan, they optimize your resume or LinkedIn profile so that you have a greater chance of being seen by recruiters and hiring managers.
4. An Infusion of Personality
Culture fit and personality play a huge role in the hiring process, but it’s tough for an employer to suss out what kind of person you are from a handful of words on a resume. If you can give them a glimpse into the positive aspects fo your personality, they’ll be more inclined to meet you.
There are a few ways to go about this.
Add soft skills
A lot of job hunters underestimate the importance of soft skills, but they’re so important to include because they give the employer a glimpse into your personality and your emotional intelligence. You can have all the technical skills in the world, but if you don’t have personal attributes, like problem-solving or time management, you may not be the right candidate for the role.
It’s not enough to toss out a term like “problem-solving” and call it a day; demonstrate your soft skills by explaining how you solved problems:
“I collaborated with team managers on employee engagement projects that effectively reduced employee turnover by 80% in 12 months.”
Just like that, you’ve demonstrated your collaboration and problem-solving skills with one quantifiable sentence!
Don’t be afraid to write your resume in the first person. It makes you appear human and relatable, allowing some of that winning personality will shine through!
(Possibly) add a professional headshot
Whether or not you should add a picture depends on the kind of role for which you’re applying. If it’s a highly corporate position, adding a headshot might be considered unprofessional. After all, your appearance has nothing to do with whether or not you’ll be effective in the role.
However, if you are freelancing or applying to a remote position, a headshot lends authenticity and assures your employer that you’re relatable and not just a mystery-person from the internet!
5. Supporting Links
Your resume should include links that will support your assets. If you add a link to your LinkedIn profile, make sure you’ve filled out your profile properly; an empty or outdated profile is worse than no profile at all.
You can link to other social media platforms but only if they’re relevant – for example, a Facebook business page.
An online portfolio or a business website link will also give your employer somewhere to learn more about you and your work after viewing your resume.
Just make sure that you submit your resume in PDF format so that they can early click your links!
Writing a resume that will get you a call right away is all about hooking them with that irresistible opening profile statement, and then knocking their socks off with all your accomplishments in a succinct, authentic, quantifiable way.
Keep in mind that resume writing is something of an art form, and it can take practice to fine-tune your technique. But if you follow these five strategies, it won’t be long before your resume grabs the attention of an employer who appreciates your professional qualities and talents!
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Corrie Alexander is a content creator and logistics nerd from Toronto, Ontario. Her climb up the corporate ladder cultivated her interest in the topic of career development, a passion rivaled only by her love of exercise and strong coffee. As an alumna of both Horkey Handbook's Freelance Writing and Virtual Assistant courses, Corrie loves helping other bloggers and small business owners grow! Visit her website, thefitcareerist.com.
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