Create a Great Resume (and Land an Interview) in 10 Easy Steps

serious-businesspeople-at-table.jpgI recently received some job-hunting advice from Early Stage Careers, a firm that works with college students and grads to get good jobs.

Most of that advice was excellent and I’ll probably be sharing it with you in subsequent columns. However, their advice about resumes was old-fashioned, IMHO.

Contrary to popular belief, a resume won’t get you a job. Resumes sent cold to companies that haven’t requested them usually end up in the trash.

Therefore, I don’t recommend sending a resume until after you’re already in a conversation with the hiring manager at the target firm.

To do this, you’ll need to master the skill of writing a cold email. I’ve discussed this concept repeatedly in my column. Here are the most relevant posts:

There is simply no skill more important than writing a cold email that will get a response that leads to a business meeting.

Master that skill and you’ll never be unemployed for long. Just sayin’. With that in mind, here’s how to land that job:

1. Research the target company

Look through the company’s website. Ignore the biz-blab. Figure out what they’re trying to accomplish and specific areas where you might help.

2. Customize your resume to match

Savvy job hunters customize their resume to match the job they’re seeking, the company they hope to join and even the manager they hope to work for.

3. Provide relevant accomplishments

A simple listing of activities and dates won’t cut it. Your resume must state accomplishments and skills amassed that tie directly into what they’re trying to accomplish.

4. Use the target company’s buzzwords

Use the same jargon and key words on the website as the company you’re targeting. Don’t assume they know “industry standard” buzzwords.

5. Edit your resume down to one page

Seriously, nobody is ever going to read more than a page. Include relevant contact information and links to personal websites or online portfolios. Don’t get TMI, though.

6. Keep it Simple

Your graphic design skills with borders and designs won’t get your resume read. If anything it will just make you seem as if you don’t “get” what being professional is all about.

7. Update your LinkedIn profile

As you go for each position, update your LinkedIn profile to match your customized resume. Don’t let your LinkedIn profile become a timeline of your work life. Focus everything on the job you want.

8. Get your resume copy-edited

No matter how detail-oriented you think you are, you will NOT see your own errors. Hire a professional copy editor to check over every successive version of your resume.

9. Cold email the hiring manager

Once you’ve done above, create a cold sales email and send it the hiring manager in the company. Don’t bother going through HR.

10. Send your resume AFTER your first meeting

Your sales email to the hiring manager should be written so that it starts an online conversation and segues to a phone conversation. Don’t send the resume until you’ve had that conversation.

Originally published by Inc

Geoffrey James

Geoffrey James

Geoffrey James, writes a daily column for and is the author of the newly-published book Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.

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