The Entrepreneur Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question, “What are the top three things you look for on a resume?” is written by Vicky Oliver, a career development expert and author of 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions.
Even in this age of abundant social media sharing, the traditional resume continues to be the ticket for entry into a job applicant pool. Craft it with care. Hiring managers may spend less than 10 seconds perusing it, which means you want it to ooze with action words and quantifiable achievements.
Now that you’re out of college and marketing yourself as a young professional, forego the objective statement and replace it with a summary of your skills and where you can add value—wording them in a way that reflects the type of job you’re seeking. I learned early on from one of my mentors that trying to fill the page with unrelated summer jobs, like landscaping or house painting—unless you were promoted to foreman—can do more harm than good.
If you’re targeting different kinds of organizations, you’ll need resumes for each. You may even need to tweak resumes within the same sector to better position yourself to match up with the job description. Don’t be afraid to parrot some of the words on the list of requirements back to them when possible. It will show you have what they’re seeking. And some companies use the key words mentioned in the job posting when screening resumes.
If you have friends or family members with ties to the organization or your targeted field, ask them if they’ll give you feedback, and where you could bump up your skills or work experience to really stand out.
But first, as you refine your experience and achievements, incorporate these three resume musts:
In a touchy-feely world, there’s nothing quite as hard-driving (and attractive) as objective results. Did you boost sales 25%? Win three new clients? Surpass the internal goal by 15%? Use hard-hitting facts and numbers to drive home your point. State the results first, and then provide a sentence or phrase describing the action you took to achieve them.
This could show itself in having a high grade-point average all four years at school, being the captain of the soccer team for multiple seasons, or creating and taking an improv group to finals in the college tournament. If you’ve been out of school a few years and were promoted several times in a row at previous jobs, definitely include that. It demonstrates persistence, which companies decipher as knowing how to find one’s way around any roadblocks that may pop up.
Demonstrate problem-solving ability
Most workers are hired to solve problems. Try to point to that ability on your resume. “Turned around lackluster sales” would show it. “Motivated staff to excel during a down cycle.” Try to show how, through your efforts, you literally turned lemons into lemonade.