It's not easy even for excellent candidates, but these strategies are helping their resumes rise to the top of the applicant pile.
Focus on what would make you better than your competitors for the desired position. Examples:
- Critical skills not held by your competitors. For example, I had a supply chain manager stress his expertise in sourcing not only from Beijing and Shanghai but also from even lower-cost suppliers: inland China, Viet Nam, and Thailand.
- Quotes from customers or from your latest performance review. For example, "Jane Jones has the rare combination of brains, great work ethic, and being fun to work with." (from my most recent performance review.)
- Evidence that you not only have experience critical in the target job but excel at it. Examples:
-- In each of my four past performances reviews, I received the top rating: "Exceeds Expectations."
-- A PAR (problem-approach-resolution) story(ies) that demonstrate your excellence: Our employees were unhappy with our desktop support. I created the concept of "Your Personal Geek," in which our IT staff were assigned to specific employees so a relationship could be developed. Satisfaction with desktop support has jumped.You want a concentrated, not a dilute resume. Minimize the number of statements that don't present an important advantage you have over competing applicants: non-critical details, attributes that some of your competitors likely have, and redundancies with statements already in your resume.
-- Not a broadbrush statement like, "Spearheaded efforts that saved the company 20%." Even if that were true, few readers would believe you could attribute that solely to your efforts. Better: "Located better sources for components for the XPR video card, lowering the cost 9%, a saving of $64,000, while retaining its low MTBF rate."
Highlight your most compelling advantages over the competition. The top of your resume should usually include a highlights section with three or four easy-to-understand, one-line descriptions of your most compelling advantages over your competition for the desired position. Alternatively, present a one-or two-line summary that makes the case.
As always, I welcome your comments, for example, your favorite strategy for ethically helping your resume rise to the top of the pile.