Scared. Excited. Stressed. We have all been there before…the job hunt. Mentally preparing yourself for the mind-numbing hours of scanning job boards, LinkedIn networking and relentlessly clicking “Apply” while in the back of your mind thinking “is anybody even reading these resumes?”. What’s even more overwhelming, when your resume does make it through the black hole of resume data bases, through the keyword software (yes they do exist!), and into the hands of an actual human; your resume has only 6 seconds to make an impression in a recruiters’ mind.

It can be a rigorous process and the competition is trying to use their resume to shout ‘Hire Me’ louder than yours. Too often people get caught in the ideology that the resume is just a document that lists your past experience. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It is time to start thinking about your resume as a marketing tool; a tool that doesn’t just measure your past, but explains your future.

This is where the work comes in. One of the most common mistakes in sending out resumes is having one or two generic templates that outlines what you have done. Although it can become tedious and time consuming, it is a MUST to tailor your resume to the specific position you’re applying for. For instance, if you are currently a marketing manager but you are looking to change directions to a career in project management; Use your resume to showcase for that future job by highlighting parts of your marketing experience that was relevant with project coordination. Hiring managers want to see if you have the  transferable skills that would help you excel in the new position and match the core competencies the recruiter is looking for in a successful applicant.

Don’t make your resume look like a job posting. Remember those painful hours spent every day applying for jobs hoping it would end up in front of a real human’s eyes? Well that time is here, now you have to prove why you’re worth investing in. You can do this by not just dutifully listing “Job Duties”, but featuring your accomplishments and if possible, quantifying your value. For instance, rather than simply stating “Implemented a budget for social media marketing campaigns”, you could write “Implemented a monthly marketing budget of $1200 which increased website acquisition traffic from social media platforms by 19%.”. The latter provides evidence to prove the value of the achievements for the organization you worked at.

When you walk into an interview, your first goal should be to dress to impress. The same can be said for your resume; it is the hiring manager’s first glimpse at you, so dress it to impress. As we stated before, your resume has 6 seconds to make that impression, so it is imperative to have a clean cut template that is easy to scan and identifies the most relevant information; your name, current position and where, dates for each position, previous relevant positions, and lastly, education (you are a professional now, not a recent graduate). Take advantage of using white space on the page to draw the reader’s eyes by using short bullet points to showcase your accomplishments. Recruiters have busy days as well, sometimes going through hundreds of resumes at a time so they don’t want to spend time reading paragraphs of text. Don’t scare away an opportunity by writing an autobiography. Remember, the length of your resume should echo your experience; however, try to keep it succinct and relevant while highlighting your key attributes early that separate you from the competition to entice the recruiter to keep reading.

Networking is still your best friend even when it comes to your resume. It can be difficult for some people to reach out to people they haven’t met and begin a conversation, but this is a great way to get a leg up on the competition. Try reaching out to an employee of the organization you are applying to and open a line of communication. You can use this to ask them to go over your resume and ask for their gut reaction to it. They may tell you some of the trending lingo that the organization uses and gets excited about. Sometimes it is the small things that make the difference.

At the end of the day, your resume needs to tell a story about why your future matches the organizations. Do this in 6 seconds and it might lead to your dream job.