Whether you have an exciting new opportunity lined up or you’re simply looking for a career change, having an application-ready resume is essential in easing that dreaded job search anxiety. But in the hyper-competitive hustle of today’s job market, simply having a resume does not mean an employer will want to sit down and read it.

As part of the Staples Spotlight series, the Senior Resume Writing team at Resume Target has offered up these 6 resume tips that will help you find interview success.

Tip #1: Refine Your Job Search

So you’re itching to get your job search going and find the role of your dreams? Fantastic! Enthusiasm is an important first step. Before you get started, make sure you have a solid target to aim for before you begin applying your resume to new roles.

Through our industry research, we’ve found generalized resumes aren’t nearly as successful as a resume with a focused target in mind. So, make sure you take aim before you shoot.

Ask yourself: where you would like to go and what do you see yourself doing? It also helps to determine what your career level is. It may sound straightforward, but these questions will help inform the type of jobs you should target, the resume keywords you’ll use, and how to best format your relevant experience.

Once you’ve got a target set, it’s much easier to search for the right kind of postings.

Pay close attention to the specific requirements, qualifications, and nice-to-haves listed on the bottom section of a job posting. Make sure the experience on your resume matches with these requirements to maximize your chances of getting shortlisted.

Tip #2: Assembling Your Experience

With a clear target in mind, you’ll now want to include experience, education, and training that aligns with that job target on your resume. Employers don’t have enough time to read through an encyclopedia of your skills, so list only your most recent and relevant experience across the last 8 to 10 years of your career.

If you’re a student, you may not have 8 to 10 years of experience, so lean on your most relevant coursework, projects, and internships. Don’t worry about adding references, interests, or extraneous publications, awards, and honours if the job posting doesn’t ask for it. Those additional elements can always be provided at the employer’s request.

Keep your resume at a maximum of 2 pages and fill the space you have available with only the most relevant work experience, education, certifications, and other professional development.

Tip #3: Write an Impactful “Value Statement”

At the beginning of your career, you likely wanted to show employers you were motivated and ready to get started in some sort of objective statement on your resume. Further into your career though, that readiness and ability to work is a given.

Instead of writing about what you’d like to get out of a company, consider writing what value you can bring to that company instead.

Flip your objective into a Value Statement by writing a short, 4 sentence paragraph highlighting the best and brightest of your skills and experience. What value does your unique experience bring to the company, and how does that align to your target job.

Your Value Statement doesn’t need to be too extensive. If you’re ever in doubt on what to write about you can lean back on the job posting as a guide for the types of skills and qualities the employer is looking for. Just be sure to align your actual lived and worked experience to those specific requirements in the job posting.  

Start each sentence with a verb (an action word!) and make sure to get rid of any filler words and personal pronouns, including “I/They/He/She”, as well as “a/an” and “the” when you write your own Value Statement.

Tip #4: Keywords & ATS

ATS stands for Applicant Tracking Systems, a platform used by most organizations to automatically receive and evaluate applications.

Oftentimes an ATS is the first sets of “eyes” on your resume. As you can imagine, the sheer number of inbound resumes leaves HR professionals with very little time to review every single one. So, like most industries, they turned to automation to help them out.

An ATS scans your resume line-by-line and side-to-side for specific keywords to pre-qualify your resume before a real human looks at it. It’s important to keep in mind exactly how that line-by-line scanning will affect your resumes chances too.

As aesthetically pleasing as graphic-design-heavy resumes are, you need to ensure nothing will impede an ATS from scanning through and finding your resume keywords. To maximize your chances, make sure your resume is easily scannable by removing any graphics, tables, logos, or other odd formatting that might stop that scan in its tracks!

“But what about those elusive keywords?” They are all at your fingertips already, woven into the job posting itself!

It will take some practice but train your eye to look for key qualifications and functional tasks you’ll be expected to do on the job. Keywords are “hard skills” like “Financial Statement Preparation” or “Audit Procedures”, so aim to highlight these on your resume more than “Time Management” or other softer, intangible skills.

Tip #5: Proofreading & Editing

So you’ve got a solid resume and really impactful keywords. Great! Sit back down and get ready to proofread.

With any written content, proofreading is everything, but you want to keep an eye out for more than just typos and errors on your resume.

Lean back on your job posting to cover all your bases with regards to qualifications, requirements and keywords. Often, the quickest way to adjust and tailor your resume to each posting you find is to edit those keywords you found to better meet specific requirements from each job you apply to.

Just be sure to look over your draft with “fresh eyes”. Print it out, change the font, or have a friend read it over to get a better, more objective look at the text. It will make all the difference in catching typos and ensuring you convey your experience the way you want to.

Tip #6: Catch Resume Target on Spotlight Virtual

If you have gotten through the proofreading stages, your resume is all set to send out. But there’s so much more to resume writing than we can encompass into just 5 points!

During our Resume Target Spotlight Session, we let the audience (that’s you!) decide what our final topic will be. This can range from how to best format and design your resume, to the best way to quantify accomplishments.

Want more insights, or have a burning resume question that hasn’t been answered? Watch the 6 Resume Tips That Actually Land Interviews Spotlight Virtual with Resume Target to get even more advice on how to make your resume stand out from a professional Resume Writer!


By Christine Chua, Senior Resume Writer at Resume Target

January 12, 2021

Resume Target, Canada’s top-rated professional resume writing service

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