Is your resume preventing you from being considered by not addressing how your previous experience makes you qualified for the position based upon the requirements set forth by the hiring entity? In today’s competitive market it is important to stand above the rest. As a professional looking for a job change you must clearly state an objective and summarize experience in the beginning of the resume. This includes even the most senior candidates. How else do you expect the reader to understand the message you are looking to convey? Resumes are broken down in separate sections and the structure might vary; however the overall premise is to list your achievements chronologically and honestly. But most important is to offer what you have achieved and what you would like to achieve in the future.
Let’s say you are a collections sales executive applying for a commercial sales role and have not worked in a business-to-business environment for several years. You need to initiate the resume with an attention grabber. It doesn’t even have to be elaborate. For example, you can simply state:
“15 years of collections sales experience in a consumer and commercial capacity looking to transition into a commercial sales role.”
An excellent opportunity to provide this information is in the objective or career summary portion of your resume. Providing this information tells the hiring manager you have what it takes to get the job done!
In essence, a resume is a like a personal advertisement and any good advertisement should be tailored to a specific audience. Honesty is equally important when creating a resume. Never claim that you are something you are not. In a personal ad, if you try to attract someone by stating you are athletic and like to climb mountains, you had better be prepared to strap on the climbing gear and prove it.
It works the same in the workplace. Don’t call yourself a “collection manager” if you have never managed a group of employees. If this is something you are striving towards, you can state you are a candidate with 10 years as a collector looking to step up into a management role.
There is also an importance for keeping a standard chronological format. This provides the reader with your most current position working down through the years. A resume that does not follow this progression can be misleading. I also advise candidates to realize they should not limit themselves to just one resume. You should adapt your resume for every role you apply for.
Accomplishments are another huge piece in the resume puzzle. I often see resume’s that read almost exactly as if they are a job description. It is crucial to not only list what you were tasked to do but to clearly state what you actually accomplished. I also ask for both quantitative and qualitative accomplishments. My question is, and the question you should ask yourself is, why should my client hire you?
Additionally, in the new landscape of prevailing social media, it is quite important to ensure your exposure on the Internet mimics your resume. If you are a director of collections, make sure that however it is stated on your resume is carried through to your LinkedIn profile. While we are on the subject of LinkedIn, it is necessary for you to make sure if you are in the job market that you don’t just list jobs, years and titles. Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for specific keywords that through an algorithm will pull up your resume/profile in their search. For example, let’s say you are a dialer administrator and you specialize in FACS/Artiva systems. If you state you are dialer administrator and do not have the specific words “FACS” or “Artiva” systems, you won’t be found by the individual searching those key words.
Another factor on LinkedIn is realizing that who you are connected to and the groups you belong to and are engaged with will also promote your exposure. If you are looking for your next dream job, join in discussions and connect with people with similar backgrounds, even if they are a “C” level with the competition. Don’t be shy to send a connection request or engage in conversation. This could really aid you in standing out above others.
Of course, working with an industry specific recruiter is a great way to offer you a window into potential new roles in your career path.
A quality resume is clear, concise and without error. By stating what job you are looking to achieve early on, you will entice the reader to focus on how your experience qualifies you for consideration. This will capture the hiring authority’s attention and get them to read on. After that, you can close with a great interview.
Susan Burden is an Executive Recruiter from Executive Alliance with 14 years of Recruiting for Collection Agencies, Collection Law firms, Creditors, Debt Buyers and the vendors who service the industry.