According to the famous job-hunting book, What Color Is Your Parachute?, “Your sole purpose, for your resume… is to get yourself invited in for an interview.” And, for your resume to be effective, you need to show, on paper, that you are a good fit for the position. This is where your skill set plays a crucial role.
How do you prove that you are a qualified candidate? Start by listing skills from the following two categories.
Skills from the Job Description
If you are serious about applying for a job, you must customize your application materials. Creating one standard resume may save you time, but it is unlikely to end with a job offer. As more and more companies are using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), a computer will mostly likely be the first “person” to review your paperwork. These software applications scan resumes looking for keywords or phrases directory from the job description. If your application does not match the job listing, there is good chance it will never make it any further than the database.
Here is a good strategy for creating a job specific resume.
- Read the entire job description.
- Highlight all the skills listed.
- Add some of the skills directly to your skill section.
- Integrate the remaining skills into your experience and education sections.
And of course, do not include any skills you don’t have even if they appear in the job posting. Inflating your skill set is bound to backfire at some point in the interview or hiring process.
Other Soft and Technical Skills
There are many skills that will not appear in the job listing, but that your potential employer would still love for you to have. Usually these are soft skills or people skills.
Examples include …
- Communication – verbal, written, listening
- Conflict Resolution
- Data Analysis
- Decision Making
- Problem Solving
- Team Work
- Time Management
Try to avoid clichés or vague terms such as “hard worker” or “enthusiastic.” Also, include skills in context to give them more power. For example, “Good negotiator” could be elaborated to read “Negotiated four outsourced contracts at 20% overall savings.”
Finally, hard skills or technical skills also may be missing from a job posting, but still valuable. If you possess a related skill, such fluency in three languages not just the required two, highlight this expertise too. Closely related abilities may be relevant or even desired, and they may give you an additional advantage over the other candidates.
Could You Use More Job Searching Advice?
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