As you convince employers to hire you, both your resume and your interview will contribute to your case. Both should consist of clear arguments built on strong foundations, and both should be packaged and presented in a way that’s professional, polished, and compelling. Each will have the power to give you a critical edge over your competition, and a small mistake in either case can derail your chances of landing your dream job.
So both are important. But as it happens, your resume is just a little bit more important than your interview. Why? Because this is the side of you that employers will encounter first. If you can make it past the first big job search hurdle, the next round will involve a narrower candidate pool and slightly better odds. But if your resume doesn’t attract the attention you need, the strength of your interview won’t matter, because you won’t be called in at all. Here are a few ways to tighten your resume, strengthen your case, and get your foot in the door.
1. Get rid of the clutter.
Go over your resume with a red pen and remove everything that distracts from your core argument. Delete empty buzzwords, clichés and generic self-descriptions like “hardworking”, and “success-driven”. These terms tell employers nothing about you—they just bore your reader and take up valuable space on the page.
2. Create a tight summary.
Summarize your document in three or four short, clear sentences at the top of the page just under your contact information. Put your entire argument into this short paragraph, and keep in mind that this may be the first and only part of the resume that your employers actually read.
3. Remove irrelevant job details.
As you describe each of your previous positions, only include the accomplishments and job responsibilities that help you shine. Don’t just list basic job requirements like “served customers daily” or “completed tasks as necessary”.
4. Relevant beats impressive.
Keep your list of skills focused on the job at hand. You may have an excellent track record in some skill areas, but these may not be the ones that interest your employers the most.
5. Align your skills with the job post.
Double check the job post and make sure your skill descriptions match what these employers are looking for. Don’t miss an opportunity to mention something in your background that might impress them, and try to use the exact words and phrasing that are used in the post, in case your resume is subjected to a keyword search.
For more on how to improve your resume and shine a spotlight on your most important qualifications, reach out to the staffing and job search experts at CSS.