You’ve applied for dozens (maybe even hundreds) of job applications without any response. You’ve used multiple job boards without any interviews or offers to show for it, and you’re frustrated. Don’t worry, you’re not alone!
It’s a pretty well known statistic that 75% of resumes get rejected, even before any human lays eyes on them because of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). Although you would assume that just writing down what you did at work should be enough, with the amount of competition for a single position, unless you can differentiate yourself, your resume won’t even be considered.
Let’s discuss some tips on how to improve your resume and how to make sure it’s passed on to and considered by actual humans.
Tailor Your Resume Every Time
Resumes aren’t a one-and-done deal. In this ATS-dominated age, you can’t just create one resume and expect it to check all the boxes of every single application (although that would be a huge plus). Tailor your resume based on each job application. If you’re applying for accounting positions, highlight some Excel or budgeting experiences. If you want an internship, highlight leadership positions and experiences you had in school.
Of course, you shouldn’t rewrite your resume from scratch every time you see a good position. Keep a template that you can alter, such as switching out resume keywords or bullet points, so that it would take at maximum 30 minutes to rewrite a “new” resume.
Know Your Skills
Maybe your career field has entry-level jobs that can be hard to find or especially competitive. Or maybe you want to change industries and keep your options open for new jobs outside of your degree. Although you may have primarily worked in a specific industry, such as teaching or customer service, it doesn’t mean they’re the only skills you can offer.
Look back at your past experiences and try to highlight some experiences and hard skills that may not be as obvious. For example, if you worked as a cashier but you helped your manager sometimes calculate profit reports, congratulations, you now have budgeting experience. If you taught students but you spent your spare time writing reports or lessons, you have writing experience. Make sure to highlight both the primary and secondary skills you used at your job to keep your application open to new industries and opportunities.
However, if you still feel like you need to learn a new skill, you should, as it can give you a leg up on the competition. There are various boot camps and courses online for in-demand hard skills such as programming and marketing, which can sometimes even be free. Similarly, there are also short certifications programs for more niche skills such as social media management and cloud concepts, which can give you leverage when applying to a new position. If you don’t have the time to attend these courses, don’t fret, because you can also watch videos on the PathMatch App to learn new skills at your own pace.
Quantify Your Experience
Recruiters can’t read your mind. Even if you write something that sounds professional and has keywords like “Assisted in launching new products”, no one would really know what that means. Even if you did “assist” in something, how did that help the company? What skills or achievements did you gain?
Wherever you can, try to quantity your past experiences. Don’t be vague, list out statistics or numbers to make sure the recruiters truly know what you did. Saying something like “Assisted the general manager by launching and implementing 30 new products, raising revenue by 15%” helps to show the recruiter your skills, your experience, and how you can collaborate with others, all in one sentence.
"When it comes to accomplishments, numbers talk," asserts Sharon Graham of Graham Management Group, a Canadian firm specializing in career transition strategy for six-figure professionals. "Recruiters who are scanning resumes typically notice and hone in on digits."
Don’t Just Rely on Your Resume
The biggest mistake job seekers make is to expect that their resume can say it all. Sadly, with around 44% of workers searching for employment, it’s hard to stand out with just your resume. This is where you can show your creativity. Use unique channels and tools such as PathMatch to submit a video pitch alongside your resume. Network with people in various industries to get your foot in the door with a recommendation. Link a portfolio within your resume to further showcase your skills. In this age, where everything from job postings to resume parsing is automated, it’s important to show that you aren’t.
Want help to create applications for jobs and quickly land interviews? Download our free PathMatch app today!