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Challenges Your Resume Faces in 2014

Your resume has been and continues to be one of the most important tools in your career tools bag. No matter how much the hiring process changes, no matter how the internet impacts this process, the resume still stands at center stage for most job opening and most hiring managers. Despite this truth, your resume also faces some serious challenges in 2014 in terms of getting the hiring manager’s attention and getting you the job interview.

The Road to the Interview

What is the road to getting an interview for the job you want based on the impact of your resume? What are the roadblocks? We’ll take a look at some of these factors, though I am sure this will not be a complete list.

Getting Noticed

The first opportunity your resume has to get you an interview is to get noticed among the hundreds of resumes sitting on the hiring manager’s desk and the thousands of resumes available to the hiring manager online.

Inappropriate Information and Irrelevant Information: Years ago we were all taught a certain format for developing a resume that no longer holds our attention as hiring manager’s today.

· Objective

· Duties and Responsibilities

· Reason for Leaving

These are three of the biggest road blocks your resume runs into. We taught you to put these things on your resume but we no longer want to see them. We almost want the opposite.

· Instead of an objective that tells me what you want from me, from my company and from this job, I want to know what you can offer me, my company and this job. Don’t tell me what you want. Tell me what you have to offer. Give me a summary of your skills and success instead of an objective about what you want to accomplish. Tell me the best qualities of who you are now instead of telling me who you want to be.

· Instead of duties and responsibilities tell me your skills and achievements. I don’t want to know what your job description says. I want to know what you can really do and what you did for your current and previous employers. Remember the road block you are facing is inappropriate or irrelevant information. What your job description says is irrelevant to me. I want to know what you can do if you fill my job opening. I need to know how you are different than the hundreds of others also applying for this job. Most importantly your achievements must be quantifiable. How much money did you save or make for your current company? What percentage of goals did you achieve?

· Do not tell me your reason for leaving. Hiring managers in general have heard “left for a better opportunity” more times than we can count and we consider those to be buzz words that have no value. Worse yet many candidates will say they were fired, or they left for medical reasons. You are just better off dropping that line.

Differentiating Yourself

If your resume can get noticed it will go into a new pile of resumes. This new pile will probably get weaned down as well before interviews are scheduled. Now your resume has to pass a second test. Now you have to differentiate yourself again. What more can your do?

· Use the right words – Your resume has passed the first test by replacing the old way of telling me what you have done to a new way of telling me what you can do for me. Now you need to sell yourself against other candidates who have met the same initial test that you have. The words you choose to use now are vitally important. They need to grab the hiring manager, make me sit up straighter and say, “I have to talk to this guy.”

The type of words that will stand out and that hiring managers look for both in a paper resume in a stack on the desk, or as keywords when searching the internet, are ‘action oriented words’. They are active not passive. They are words such as:

Accelerated                                       Built

Allocated                                           Augmented

Analyzed                                           Budgeted

Acquired                                            Automated

Collaborated                                     Communicated

Calculated                                         Determined

Developed                                         Eliminated

Arbitrated                                           Consolidated

Expedited                                          Delegated

Coordinated                                      Enhanced

Expanded                                          Distributed

Extracted                                           Created

Verified                                              Validated

Trained                                              Tracked

There are many, many more active words but you can get the idea from these.

· Formatting still matters, but you want an up to date, current look for your resume. For one thing the paper resume is actually out of date and you are better off not sending one, but rather emailing it or posting it online in response to the job opening.

Too long or too short can make you look out of date. So what is the right length? If you are a new college graduate then a one page resume is fine. For everything else go with a two page resume even if you have to just list name of company and title for anything over 15 years ago.

How about the font? Arial is the most accepted where Courier and Times New Roman are passé.

Conclusion

The most important challenge your resume faces on the way to getting you an interview is how to make you stand out from the pack. Use the ideas listed here and see how quickly you jog around those roadblocks and into a face-face interview.