Sometimes, you have to feel for the person who is reading your materials on the other side of the hiring table.
Too many job seekers use identical phrases on their resumes, LinkedIn Profiles, and cover letters.
Maybe you’re too overwhelmed to try something new – but if you want to generate serious attention, you’ll need to shake things up a bit!
Here are 5 fast, simple ways to think outside the template on your resume and cover letter:
1 – Introduce your resume or LinkedIn profile with an attractive, keyword-specific job title.
Pursuing a global business development or marketing role — one with authority for trend watching and sales in industry verticals?
You can use Business Development Executive, but Director Strategic Sales packs more impact, plus retains the keywords (Director and Sales) that are needed at your career level.
There’s always more than one way to introduce yourself. Project Manager is fairly specific, but you can give yourself a bit more latitude with a general title such as Project Executive, with a second line that lists Portfolio Manager, Project Director, and PMO Manager as job targets.
2 – Alter your resume headings for powerful impact.
There’s no law that requires your resume to use sections such as Experience, Education, and so forth.
If you’re in sales, you can use the title Relevant Revenue Highlights to describe a selected list of sales successes, while an Operations Manager can create a section entitled Operational Productivity Improvements to show important achievements. This executive resume sample uses a section called Signature Performance Benchmarks.
Light on experience? Group your training under keywords that make sense to employers, such as Sales Education, Leadership Training, or Technology Knowledge.
And do the SAME with your LinkedIn Profile – especially the About section, where you can break up dense blocks of text with self-written headings.
Be sure to change your resume headings BACK to typical phrases if you’re submitting an online application likely to pass through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) – and send the pretty one directly to hiring managers.
3 – Give recruiters something else to read besides your job titles.
Are your job titles very general, such as Associate Analyst or Senior Consultant? Help employers out (please!) by specifying exactly what you do in your career.
Get creative and add another line underneath your real title with more descriptive terms such as Project Manager, Product Development Analyst, or Business Process Reengineering Manager.
On LinkedIn, add these “descriptive” titles to your Experience section, ensuring they see what you really do (and using the same terms recruiters will reference in their searches).
4 – Change your cover letter’s enclosure line.
Adding just “Resume” with the notation Enc. after your signature doesn’t quite cut it as a parting shot.
How about Enc: Business Development Leadership Resume or Attached: Senior Leadership Qualifications Summary instead?
5 – Try adding a P.S. to your letter.
The power of the post script (or P.S.) is well-documented. Marketing studies have proven over and over that this may be the most-read sentence of your entire cover letter.
Branch out a little and try a grand finale such as “I’ll be glad to share my ideas for bringing XYZ Company’s Western region revenue to #1 in the nation. May we talk?”