What does catch employers’ eyes is a document that’s clean and professional— with enough humanity to make it stand out from the pile. Here’s how to rewrite your résumé:
Focus on nouns, not verbs. If you’ve let a few years go by without updating your résumé, you may assume the old advice still holds: Load up on action verbs that capture in precise terms what you’ve done. Times change.
Today’s employers search for nouns: the reforms you’ve spearheaded, the products you’ve created or marketed, the software you’ve mastered. Hiring managers know that while snappy verbs can inflate your accomplishments, hard facts such as technical skills and academic degrees say more about your true qualifications.
Raise your rank. More employers are using computer programs called “applicant tracking systems” that scan bunches of incoming résumés to find key words. The more “hits” your résumé generates, the higher its ranking.
Know what companies prize most. For example, they may seek candidates with certain job titles, responsibilities or experience. Call an HR rep and ask for a full list of formal and informal prerequisites for a position before you send your résumé.
Inject desire. Don’t treat a résumé as a sterile document where you must strip away your personality. It’s vital to convey in print your passion and enthusiasm to distinguish your résumé from others.
Devote two or three lines to a “mission statement” that describes your overriding professional goal.