Now that your resume is elegantly formatted and carefully edited, how can you make sure you’re getting the most out of all your efforts?
After all, a good resume—even a perfect one—does you no good if your reader gives up before they reach the end. Worse yet, your resume might be getting skipped over altogether. Here are four simple steps that can help get your resume the attention and consideration it deserves:
1. Submit it to the right person.
Don’t just recklessly toss a resume into a general company inbox or HR office without doing a few minutes of easy research. Check the posting carefully for a specific name, address, or website. The post may make this abundantly clear (sometimes with all caps message, like “submit resumes to this address ONLY”). But sometimes this final key message gets overlooked before the post is published, or employers just assume that the smartest candidates will figure this detail out on their own.
If you don’t see an indication of how to apply—even in tiny print—or there’s an “apply here” link but it appears to be broken, visit the company website and do some sleuthing. The closer you get to the right person, the better your chances.
2. Use keywords.
Assume that when you submit your resume, your file will enter directly into a large database of other resumes without being looked at first. Employers may then use keyword searches to draw resumes out of this database and identify the best matches among hundreds of others.
In order to make sure your resume appears in the list of results, make sure you include the keywords that are most likely to play a role in these searches. Check the post carefully for specific phrases these employers are interested in. These may include terms like the titles of degree programs, the titles of previous positions, and the specific titles of your certifications.
3. Answer important and obvious questions before you’re asked.
If these employers are clear about the fact that they need someone with eight years of agency experience (not nine, not seven), then answer a simple question in your resume and your cover letter: Do you have eight years of agency experience? Make a reviewer’s job easier. By helping your potential employers, you’ll be helping yourself.
4. Follow up immediately, then one week later.
After you submit your resume, follow up to make sure it reaches its destination. Send a quick email to the hiring manger or human resources manager that says something like: “I’ve submitted a resume for your account manager position and I’m looking forward to hearing from you. I’m excited about this position, since it seems like a perfect match for my skills and experience.”
Don’t demand a response to your follow-up message, for example: “Please confirm that you’ve received my resume,” since yours may be one of hundreds. But do give the employers a chance to tell you if your application hasn’t shown up on their end. Send another quick, polite follow-up message a week later if you receive no response.
A Strong Resume Comes First
Of course, the best way to get noticed is clear: Create a strong, memorable resume in the first place.