Getting hired is hard work; that is no secret. Not only do you have to work hard in your current role to prove that you add value to your team, but you also need to show your inherit value to potential employers in the most effective way possible to get noticed.

On top of that, with the job market now in an online realm, there are hundreds (sometimes thousands) of applicants for a given position.

There are some tricks to get your resume on the shortlist though. However, if you plan on embracing our tips and tricks, you will have to abolish the practice of firing off hundreds of resumes to any position you think you might want, and focus on applying for each role individually with a targeted strategy.

Let’s get started with the resume:

Customize title

What exactly do you mean by title? The title line of your resume should appear below your name and contact information. You should have one of two variations.

1) The title line can state that you are “Targeting Opportunities in:” or “Targeting Opportunities as a:” and each time you apply for a role, you can include the specific job title into the title line.

2) The second option is to keep a standard title line that maintains a happy balance between your current role, and the role you want to attain. I recommend including both the job title of the role you are applying for, along with the job title of your current role. For example, if you are a Receptionist seeking a role as an Executive Assistant, your title line would read “Receptionist | Executive Assistant”.

Customize value statement

Your value statement is the introduction of your resume, and easily the most important section that the Hiring Manager will read.

Why so important? This is where you catch the reader’s attention. If you don’t have their attention here, your resume will not move to the shortlist.

When a Hiring Manager is reviewing a pile of resumes for the first time, the main focus is to weed out the applicants who are not qualified for the role. So you can imagine, the most important piece of information to convey in the value statement is to show that you are completely qualified for the role.

This is why the value statement must be revised, customized and targeted for each individual role.

You must tick off as many boxes as possible, in regards to the items listed in the job posting’s requirements section. These items often include years of experience, academic background, and industry expertise.

Insert keywords

While you’re thoroughly studying the job posting to target your value statement, you should take some time to make a list of keywords that you notice throughout the position description and requirements.

You should include those keywords into your value statement where possible, and also create a table of keywords titled “Areas of Expertise” to list the keywords in an organized fashion. Keyword integration is important for two reasons.

1) A Hiring Manager will be glancing through the document to find the keywords that are present in the job posting, and if they don’t see them, they will move on to the next resume.

2) Another common tool used by Hiring Managers is keyword scanning systems. This means that a Hiring Manager won’t even lay eyes on your resume until it has passed an automated keyword scanning test. The best way to overcome that obstacle is to ensure your resume incorporates the right keywords.

On to the cover letter:

Outline achievements

Many job seekers often use their cover letter to provide a synopsis of their past positions and what they learned from each role… DO NOT DO THIS!

If the Hiring Manager wants to know a synopsis of your last few roles, they will get that information from the resume. The cover letter should be used to highlight significant achievements.

While reading the job posting, think of three achievements or experiences that you’ve had in the past that relate to the role you are applying for. Then provide a synopsis of those three points in your cover letter and relate it back to what they are looking for in their next candidate.

Include company information

As we mentioned before, you must abolish the practice of using the same resume and cover letter for hundreds of postings. While you’re at it, you should show the employer that you’ve created a custom cover letter and resume just for them. You’d be surprised how many people don’t do this.

You can go onto the company’s website and read up on them. Find out if they’ve been covered in the media, what their mission statement is, and what they’re all about. Then incorporate this information into the cover letter.

The goal is to show the Hiring Manager that your experience makes you a great fit for the role, but that your personality is also a great fit for their corporate culture, and you’ll fit right in with their team. This is a huge plus on your side, and if you convince the Hiring Manager, your resume will be on the shortlist.

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