7 Signs You’re Selling Yourself Short On a Resume
Sell yourself for that dream job in 7 steps
Have you ever heard that a resume is a marketing document? For you as a job-seeker, it means that accurately and honestly listing your work history and skills is not sufficient to spark the recruiter’s interest. Corporate job openings attract around 250 resumes, and only 4 to 6 candidates will be invited for an interview. With such a competition, your resume doesn’t need to be good – it has to be a lot better than those of others.
If the resume doesn’t represent your value to the employers, you’ll be missing on great interview opportunities. However, this situation is easy to fix. The best resume writing services have prepared a list of signs showing that the resume undersells you, along with the suggestions on how to improve its quality and catch the employers’ attention. We will also give a few tips on selling yourself once you’ve made it to the interview stage.
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7 signs that the resume undersells you
Take a close look at your resume and check if it has any of the signs below:
1) You are still using an objective instead of a career summary
Let’s clarify this one a little: in certain cases, the use of objective makes sense. When you transition from the accountant career to a role in online marketing, the objective helps explain such change to a recruiter. But in all other cases they expect to see a career summary. Starting a resume with a somewhat vague statement like “To obtain a position with a reputable financial company when I can utilize my skills” definitely undersells you whereas a summary gives an opportunity to impress the reader with your skills and accomplishments.
The solution: Delete the objective statement right now and write a 2-3 sentence summary instead. It will serve as an elevator pitch and inspire the recruiter to dive into the rest of your resume’s content.
2) Your resume is missing a Skills section
Resume consultants agree that including the skills section is not mandatory. But, in fact, it’s better to have one for multiple reasons. Firstly, it is helpful for a keyword optimization purpose – the skills mentioned in a job posting are used as keywords to select relevant candidates. Secondly, it saves the reader’s time as they don’t have to look for confirmation of your skills all around your resume (especially if it’s a skill-based job, and the certain tech skills serve as selection criteria). And finally, it gives your resume a more solid look than if you had just jumped to work experience immediately.
The solution: Place a Skills section closer to the top of the resume. Experts recommend that you list 8 to 15 skills, depending on your breadth of experience. You might want to organize them in columns or break into categories (i.e. Software skills, Administrative skills, etc.).
3) You rely on clichés when describing yourself
When the job-seekers run out of ideas for describing their experience, they start relying on clichés such as go-getter, proactive problem solver, goal-driven, and more. The problem with them is that they don’t say anything specific to a recruiter and sound like meaningless chitchat. So, when the hiring person sees the tenth ‘thought leader’ in a row, they won’t take your resume seriously. Good words to use on resume matter, but giving the reader facts in addition to making loud statements is more important.
The solution: Instead of claiming that you’re a multitasker, say that you were designing a new corporate website while updating a few other sites. This sort of information will be more helpful for a hiring person.
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4) You list day-to-day duties instead of showing off results
Professional responsibilities take a lion’s share of your resume space. However, it doesn’t mean that you should list all the daily duties that you were assigned. For instance, if you’re an accountant, it’s expected that you manage accounts payable and receivable and write quarterly reports. Writing it as a job responsibility will give the recruiter no clue why it’s you that they should invite for an interview.
The solution: Instead of writing a boring list of responsibilities, focus on the results you’ve achieved. Experts recommend that you use the STAR method when describing your duties. For example, instead of saying that you ‘managed office inventory and supplies’, say ‘tracked inventory and renegotiated contracts for office supplies resulting in cost reduction’. This shows the difference you’ve made and sells your skills to the employer.
5) You don’t add figures to your accomplishments
In addition to duties, your resume should also contain professional accomplishments. If you don’t, it will massively undersell you as the recruiter will assume that you didn’t accomplish much throughout your career. However, it’s equally important that the accomplishments are written in the right way, with figures and context. For example, a statement like ‘led a team of developers and managed project budget’ doesn’t say much to a hiring manager.
The solution: Support your statements with figures and percentages whenever it’s possible. Include at least 1-2 quantifiable accomplishments for each job. Numbers let the recruiter understand your skill level and seniority. Compare the two sample accomplishments: ‘increased the number of subscribers’ vs ‘grew the number of email subscribers from 450 to 1500 in 6 months while staying in budget’. Obviously, the latter will attract more attention.
6) You aren’t concerned with design and formatting
The content of your resume is obviously the king. However, if your resume still includes only the black text on the white background with little formatting and Times New Roman font, it won’t keep the reader’s attention as long as the well-formatted and designed document will. The internet offers an abundance of resume templates and tips on organizing resume content, so take your time to make yours an eye candy.
The solution: Give your resume at least a minimal makeover: separate the sections for better readability, use bulleted lists, and leave some white space on the page so that the text is easy to look through. Add some color to highlight the most important information. Keeping your resume neat will make it easier to read and sell your business writing skills and attention to detail.
7) You don’t edit the resume before sending it
Typos, grammar and punctuation errors are easy to overlook, yet they can spoil the impression about your resume. 59% of recruiters reject candidates because of poor grammar or spelling. If you don’t edit and proofread the document, they might interpret writing issues as lack of attention to detail or poor interest in the position, which isn’t the impression you are looking to make.
The solution: Run your resume through an online spell checker, read it aloud multiple times to ensure that all sentences are complete and make perfect sense. Check if the punctuation is consistent throughout the document – if you end each bullet with a period, do this everywhere. If editing seems challenging, you might want to consult resumes writing editing services USA.
How to sell yourself during an interview?
Once you’ve got an interview invitation, it’s no time to rest on your laurels. By selling your skills and expertise to the interviewer, you’ll distinguish yourself from others and maybe even negotiate a higher pay. Here’s how to promote yourself:
✓ Clearly understand your strengths. Before you enter the company’s office, decide on job-related skills and strengths that you’ll be focusing on when telling your story. Without this focus, your answers will look vague and you might forget to mention an important achievement or project.
✓ Use examples and tell stories. Just like you’ve used context and figures in your resume, it’s best to prove your value on the interview through the stories and real examples. Instead of saying that you have negotiation skills, tell a story about how you’ve managed to negotiate the contract terms to avoid late delivery fees. Stories build trust and sound more engaging.
✓ Dress appropriately. Your professional qualities matter most, but like it or not, you’ll be judged by appearance. The best way to make a positive impression is to dress in line with the company’s dress code (or slightly more formal). A neat professional appearance will help you feel and act confident.
✓ Change your mindset. Do you feel uncomfortable at the idea of bragging your qualifications? Then, you’ll need to correct your mindset a bit. In fact, you are not bragging, but proving the hiring manager that you have the needed experience and skills to succeed in their company. If you’re the right person for the job, it’s a win-win situation.
✓ Understand the company culture. Obviously, you will use different language and provide different examples of previous work during the interview with a financial consulting firm and a small tech startup. Learn a little about the company to show off the skills which will fit exactly them.
Get your resume evaluated by an expert
In addition to the above-mentioned signs, there are other resume issues which might undersell you. To understand whether the resume works well, consider getting a resume consultant’s opinion. Email your resume to us, and our expert will analyze it and provide suggestions for improvement. It’s free and doesn’t oblige you to place an order.
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