WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?
- “I’ve sent out hundreds of resumes and no one has contacted me for an interview!”
- “Any advice you can offer to improve my resume?”
- “I’m applying for my perfect job, however, I keep getting overlooked.”
These were just a few of the questions I received from frustrated applicants who were exhausted from months of job hunting with zero interviews lined up.
As someone who is part of the hiring team, here at Walmart Labs, I felt it might be useful to share my insights on what I look for when reviewing resumes to help answer the question, “What am I doing wrong?”.
INSIGHTS FROM A HIRING MANAGER
As a hiring manager, I’ve reviewed hundreds of resumes throughout my career. And based on my experiences, there are three things I want to see in a resume before considering a candidate for an interview:
- Role Match: Is the candidate applying for the right position?
- Skill Match: Is there a correlation between the candidate’s skills and job qualifications?
- Value Match: Has the candidate demonstrated measurable results that are relevant to the job role?
Let’s take a look at each one in more detail.
#1: Role Match — Is the candidate applying for the right position?
Did you know recruiters and hiring managers spend an average of 6 secondsreviewing your resume? I typically scan the top portion of a resume looking for a concise message of how the candidate’s abilities are relevant to the job posting. If it’s unclear whether their a match, I move on to the next applicant.
Kimberly Sarmiento, a Certified Professional Resume Writer, provides some great advice in her article, “The Art of Writing a Great Resume Summary Statement”. She notes that the foundation of a great resume summary starts with a title that communicates your professional identity and a 3-4 line paragraph highlighting your strengths and accomplishments.
Promoting your value proposition up front is a great way to grab the attention of a hiring manager keeping them interested in reviewing the rest of your resume.
Unlock your Potential
The key to a successful Role Match is very similar to an elevator pitch. You want to immediately catch the attention of your audience by emphasizing your selling points and the benefits you bring to the company. By spending time to craft a solid resume summary, you put yourself at a competitive advantage over the other applicants.
#2: Skill Match — Is there a correlation between the candidate’s skills and job qualifications?
When I scan a resume for a Skill Match, I focus on how well a candidate’s experience aligns with the job posting. This is a signal that the candidate took time to review the job description and thought about how their skills were pertinent to the role.
There are two types of skills I look for on a resume. Hard Skills and Soft Skills. Let’s take a look at both below.
Hard Skills: Technical skills required to do the job. These skills are teachable abilities that are easy to measure or quantify. A word of caution, do not add a hard skill you are not competent in. Doing so will put you on a fast track to cutting the interview short. Remember, if it’s on your resume, it’s fair game for questioning during the interview process. Be honest and do not misrepresent yourself.
Soft Skills: Interpersonal skills demonstrating your ability to build relationships and work with others in a team setting. These skills are subjective and harder to measure. When adding soft skills to a resume, focus on how you were able to demonstrate these skills on the job.
Example: Team lead of 3 engineers responsible for the end to end delivery of integrating Stripe payments on the company’s website 2 weeks ahead of schedule.
Check out this article by Alison Doyle. She provides examples of what skills to incorporate within your resume by profession. This is a useful reference for those struggling with how to articulate and market themselves as a top tier interview candidate.
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The key to a successful Skill Match is selecting the RIGHT skills that best match the position. Doing so, will help grab the attention of the hiring manager putting you in the running for an interview.
#3: Value Match — Has the candidate demonstrated measurable results that are relevant to the job role?
Hiring managers are looking for employees that yield results. Just listing your achievements alone is only part of the equation. Adding quantifiable data not only enhances your resume, but gives hiring managers proof of what you’re capable of.
When I look for a Value Match, I want to see measurable results. To add credibility to your accomplishments, use the following structure to highlight the value you bring as a potential employee:
measurable result = task + demonstrated skill + quantifiable data
Let’s look at an example:
Instead of : Skilled SEO Specialist.
Try: Improved the organic search ranking of the company website to the #1 position across all major search networks, helping to generate over $1M in revenue.
Just claiming you’re an SEO Specialist is easy, but adding context with tangible results highlights the impact you made while in your role.
Check out this post from Aja Frost. She provides some excellence examples on how to incorporate quantifiable data to enhance your achievements.
Unlock your Potential
The key to a successful Value Match is to express your achievements with quantifiable data. Whether it’s performance-driven, time-defined, satisfaction-based, service-level achieved, or goal-oriented, including measurable results in your resume will attract the attention of the hiring manager, helping you land your next interview.
Your resume is a self-marketing document that should accurately reflect why you are the BEST FIT for the position.
While customizing your resume may seem like a daunting task, focusing on jobs that align with your skill set can limit the number of resume variations to 2 or 3.
Recruiters and hiring managers, are on the hunt for top tier candidates. Help them find you by incorporating these three best practices:
- Role Match: You have 6 seconds to make an impression. Provide a resume summary that mirrors the job description and highlights your relevant strengths.
- Skill Match: Add hard and soft skills that showcase your experience and expertise. Select the right skills that match the position to increase your chances of getting an interview.
- Value Match: Enhance your achievements with quantifiable data. This adds credibility to your accomplishments giving you an edge over the competition.
Your perfect job is out there. Remember you are competing with thousands of other applicants so be diligent and patient. Help your odds by focusing on the best fit jobs using the tips above. Before you know it, you will have interviews lined up in no time.