Most corporate job offers attract an average of 250 resumes, but only four to six people are actually called for an interview. If you are applying for a leadership job, the chances of being called in may be even lower, since this type of post usually offers an attractive salary, considered one of the most important reasons why applicants apply for a post. Studies show that recruiters spend just six seconds reviewing an individual resume. How can you make them pause a little longer on yours, so they can discover the benefits you can bring to their organization?
Identify the qualities your target company is looking for
Personalization is key if you are applying for a hotly contested position. You will need to look very closely at the job description to identify the leadership skills and prior achievements you need to highlight. For instance, if the job indicates that you will need to lead teams on projects, mention a particularly successful program you worked on which involved coordinating the work of other staff members. If it mentions that the candidate must have the ability to achieve goals within a deadline, name a project you completed weeks or months before due date. No two leadership positions are alike, so try to ‘read’ what they are looking for and point out previous accomplishments that may fit the bill.
What if the description is not specific?
In the event that the description is short or generic, you will have to point out key skills that are common to all leadership positions, indicating them prominently in the skills section of your CV. These include decision making (describe how you increase profits, mentioning the percentage by which you did so), mentorship (list any work experience programs you were in charge of, or mentorship programs you started up) and initiative (mention any marketing, sales, or other programs you launched to help the company overcome a setback or to set new records).
Use the right verbs
Inc lists several verbs that look good along with your mention of ideas and strategies. They include ‘negotiated’, ‘convinced’, ‘modernized’, ‘coached’, ‘spearheaded’, ‘piloted’ and ‘revitalized’ or ‘modernized’. These words accompany the actions of an innovator; someone that thinks out of the box, is always a few steps ahead, and shows ambition.
A fascinating article in Time argues that there are three things you should never do yourself: your taxes, your will, and your resumé. Obtain help from online resources for ideas on optimal presentation and content, but do not be scared to break Time’s rule and personalize your CV, mentioning the specific leadership qualities you feel will make you the perfect match for the job.