Resumes still matter to your job search. But today, there are new rules that can help you get noticed by a hiring manager. Modern applicant tracking systems require some keywords so that you’re not lost in the black hole of the application process. When you consider any job with 100 or more applicants, your resume must stand out for all right reasons. Here’s how to make that happen.

Resume Must-Haves

Start with how your resume is organized. It should have very clear headings that are easy to understand, such as “Work History” or “Skills Summary.” This helps hiring managers quickly skim to the section that’s most important to them. You can use bold headers to draw the eye, as well.

Each resume you submit should be relevant to the job you’re applying to. You can condense or even remove any information that the employer won’t care about. This includes past jobs outside your field or is simply irrelevant to the role you’re applying to. The exception to this rule is if your employment history is short or if the non-relevant job taught you crossover or soft skills that you’ll apply in your future job.

Your resume should be more than just a task list. Write your resume from the perspective of what you did as well as how you did it. Don’t just list out the job responsibilities, but also share your accomplishments individually and as part of your team. Saying “deployed award-winning software to end-users on time and on budget,” is more impressive than “Served as Project Manager for IT deployment.”

Tailor your resume to fit the job. Your resume should even reflect some of the keywords used in the job description. Why is this important? If your resume goes into an applicant tracking system (it will), then the recruiter or hiring manager will probably do a keyword search for resumes that fit the job. If you apply for the job, your resume will go into a pool of applicants. But if you use keywords, your resume will pop up in a general database search, as well. So, try to include skills listed in the job description in your resume. This will only increase your chances of getting noticed and perhaps getting an interview. One tip: Make sure your keywords align with how they are spelled in the ad. If the ad says “InfoSec,” use that phrase, not “Information Security.”

Finally, it’s also a good idea to have a short summary of your skills at the top of the resume. This should be no more than a sentence or two describing your skills, experience, and what you have to offer employers. It could also suggest what you’re looking to do as the next step in your career.

If you feel like your resume isn’t getting the attention it deserves from employers, why not consider sending it to the IES team? We would be happy to review your credentials and talk about your career goals. That’s just the beginning of how we can help candidates like you find a better career path. Call us today. We can help.

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