In this two-part series, you will learn the six most effective ways to customize your executive resume and get the attention of any hiring manager. Be sure to check out Part 1 here. The last three steps are reviewed below.
4. Spelling and Grammar Error-Free
Often times when you are customizing your resume for various positions, items get moved around, abbreviated or changed – and new spelling errors and grammar errors appear. When you customize your resume be sure to thoroughly review your resume for these errors before submitting it for application.
Check all of your tenses, particularly in the employment sections. Your current position should be in present tense and your previous positions should be in past tense. Think of it like this: you want to show the recruiter what you are currently doing in your current role (even if the project happened in the past); and you want to show them what you did in your previous roles (which all happened in the past).
Be careful about how you conjugate your adjectives as well – words like deliver, manage, create. You should use the same conjugation within a bullet/sentence structure. For example:
- Incorrect: “Delivered various skills including X, Y and Z.”
- Correct: “Delivered various skills which included X, Y, and Z.”
And for your cover letter – spell the company’s name and the position title correctly! Spelling errors are one of the quickest ways to get your resume thrown into the “no” pile.
5. Remove Internal Specific Acronyms and Activities
Each company has their own acronyms and abbreviations for various activities, geographies and projects. They become such a part of who we are in our everyday working lives that our resume tends to include “insider” speak that makes no sense to the recruiter you are trying to entice.
The most common references that are overlooked are country geographies outside of the U.S., metrics used and expertise identifiers. Scrub your resume clean of these items and replace them with the correct industry keywords or spell them out fully.
The last thing you want is a recruiter scratching their head trying to figure out if what you wrote is as cool as it sounds or if it’s fluff. Don’t let them decide that – expand on the various activities and abbreviations to ensure your true intent comes through.
6. Eliminate Graphical Components When Applying Online
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), the software that is behind all of your online applications, has come a long way, but it still does not work well with graphical components. Items such as tables or special character bullets or shapes, do not come through well when you apply online.
In order to get around this, you can apply using a PDF version of your resume – but know that you may lose the keyword optimization strengths going this route; or to have a graphic-free version to use when you apply online. You can easily create a graphic-free version of your resume in Word, by removing the elements and saving it as a .txt file. This file is as stripped down as you can get – and it will show you if any additional items need to be removed from your resume.
Similarly, when you apply to a position via email, minimize the graphical elements as well. You never know how the recruiter or hiring manager will be opening/viewing your resume, so it’s best to be on the safe side to ensure a visually appealing resume – instead of a garbled mess.
Once you incorporate these six steps, your executive resume will be customized for the position you are applying for and will stand out to the recruiter – getting you noticed and through to the next round.
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