What makes a resume successful? The answer may surprise you.
Sure a resume needs to be concise, include all relevant skills and experience, and paint a full picture of who you are as an employee. It goes without saying that it should be error free and organized, with a clean layout. But, if you want to ensure your resume is competitive and engaging in today’s job market, it must include two critical aspects: PAR statements and keyword optimization.
We’ve discussed the importance of keyword optimization and PAR statements in previous blogs, but a resume needs BOTH to be successful. Many job seekers are so focused on one aspect that they miss the other and don’t get traction in their job search.
- PAR Statements
PARs are Problem-Action-Result statements that explain the specific problems you faced in a past job, the actions taken to overcome and solve those problems, and the achievements that came as a result of the action you took. Think of your PARs as the stories of the challenges you faced on the job and the steps you took to overcome those challenges to benefit not only yourself, but your company as a whole.
PAR statements are crucial because they define your unique approach to the job and engage a hiring manager or recruiter. PARs help your future employer see how you would perform on the job and also how you would fit into the culture of the organization. Because they focus more on soft skills such as leadership and problem resolution, PARs are often overlooked. But, they help the hiring manager align you with the specific needs of their organization to see if and how you would be the right fit.
It’s easy to get so hung up on making sure you’re talking about your experience and achievements that you aren’t thinking about how a recruiter comes across your resume. That’s where keywords come in.
2. Keyword Optimization
According to Mashable, “72% of resumes are never seen by human eyes.” That is because many companies (90% of all Fortune 500 companies) use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to screen resumes that are submitted. Essentially, once you submit your resume, it is scanned and stored in a database. Recruiters then search the database to find resumes for a particular job opening by entering in relevant keywords. If your resume has those keywords, it will be picked up by the system. The more matching keywords your resume has, the more likely it is to be seen by the hiring manager.
Because most companies use some sort of ATS, keyword optimization is more important than ever. To ensure your resume passes through an ATS to get seen by a recruiter, follow these keyword optimization tips:
- Use the job posting and description to find keywords the ATS is looking for. Then be sure to sprinkle those words throughout your resume
- Make sure all information in your resume is relevant to the position you are currently applying for
- Keep things concise
- Be sure to list all of your relevant skills, as many hiring managers use an ATS to search for specific skills they are looking for
- Read over your resume carefully for spelling mistakes
- Include your contact information at the top of your resume (for the ATS to pick up)
Still not sure your resume is ATS ready? Check out our tips for preparing your resume for applicant tracking systems.
If you’re still struggling with PAR statements and keyword optimization and need some help getting your resume job search ready, contact Capstone Resume Services today!