The Resume Shuffle
During the height of the Great Recession, the unemployment rate reached 10%; recently, it has dropped to 4.1%.1 However, there’s a “shadow” statistic that’s rarely reported: the labor participation rate, which is the percentage of Americans who are either working full-time, or are actively seeking full-time employment. Immediately preceding the recession the labor participation rate was nearly 67%. Today it hangs at 62.7%.
Don’t get weary from the search for work. Keep plugging and remain in the pursuit. For those actively seeking employment, it’s important to get your resume recognized. Here are some things to try so your resume doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.
Take an Inventory of Your Skills and Abilities
This is the first step before composing your resume. One effective exercise is to place a blank sheet of paper on your refrigerator or any place you visit frequently. Every time you go to the refrigerator, add a skill you possess to the list.
If you have trouble creating this list, you might want to start with your accomplishments or any awards you’ve won. From that point, you can figure out what skills you employed in order to complete the project. This list is a work in progress and may take several days to complete.
This exercise allows you to see all the talents you have and some that you may not even be aware of. If it helps, have family members add to the list. It’s often difficult to describe yourself!
Figure out What They Want
It’s really not about you; it’s about the person who is going to read your resume. Many resumes aren’t chronological. They are functional in nature, displaying all the skills you possess and showing how you used them throughout your career. You should begin your resume with the skill you possess that the employer is looking for the most and go on from there.
That means you should customize your resume to fit the job description. It’s good idea to describe your skills using the same words the employer used in the job description. That way you’re giving it right back to them in the exact manner they asked, which is likely to resonate with them.
Keep your resume succinct and straightforward. With so many applications to weed through, the recruiter is going to head straight for the areas that tell them what they need to know: education, skills and career progression. In fact, the average recruiter spends only six seconds on each resume. That means your content and its layout should be optimized for skimming only. You want your resume to pack a punch and be noticeable, but not be so elaborate that the information gets lost or is hard to look for. If you’re not sure how to format your resume, find a free template that best highlights your skillset.
Add Something Truly Unique About Yourself
This is the icing on the cake. This generally has absolutely nothing to do with the job, but will allow you to stand out among all the other candidates. Think in terms of your hobbies or extracurricular activities. Did you play a role in the church pageant? Do you skydive? Did you win an award for your recipe for clams? Most employers are seeking individuals who are well rounded and can add diversity to the workplace. Skills used in outside activities can be transferred to the job and allow you to be more productive. Use those activities to your advantage!
Don’t let your resume get lost in the shuffle. Are you currently editing your resume? This infographic can help you improve your resume now!
1Bureau of Labor. (December 05, 2017). Bureau of Labor statistics data. Retrieved December 05, 2017, from https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000