Often times I see resumes and think, “I know this person does way more than this”. Why is it that we tend to undersell ourselves on paper? Back in the mid-1900’s, as we began to see women become more present in the workforce I feel it was an unsaid notion that conditioned women, specifically minority women, to “lessen” their greatness to not disrupt the male ego. Back in the mid-1900’s, history shows that patriarchal forces conditioned women to “lessen” their greatness in the presence of a male. To avoid disrupting the male ego, women were expected to use a simple vocabulary to avoiding appearing “smart”, and many other cultural deceptions that likely infiltrated the workforce at that time. Now to men, that lack the much-needed language of measurable achievements and accomplishments.
Honestly, I have found myself guilty of underselling myself. I have literally sat down in front of the computer to update my resume and will focus on my “duties” instead of accomplishments and measurable responsibilities/achievements. Then to make it even more interesting, when I help people with their resumes I can almost instantly begin pulling out measurable achievements and help them realize accomplishments that they didn’t realize was important. I always think, “Why can’t I get my resume done this quick?!” Nevertheless, I hope these few pointers will help my fellow women as they prepare to elevate their careers.
By now, I’m sure many people realize that most companies use applicant-tracking systems to streamline the overwhelming amount of responses received on job postings. I have my own feelings about applicant tracking systems but I’ll focus on the strategies to get past the systems. Now before you proceed on, please keep in mind that there are various types of applicant tracking systems and there is no one size fits all model but these strategies will help increase your chances of ranking high on the system.
- Be Concise: Do not inundate your resume/application with lofty subjective descriptors. Applicant tracking systems can pick up these words and it will negatively affect your ranking for the job. Avoid cliché words such as detailed oriented.
- Word Count: Your resume should be straight to the point and concise. Applicant tracking systems scan resumes seeing how many words are used which factors into your ranking. Aim to stay under 700 words if possible.
- Career Objective or Career Summary: I always recommend clients go with a career summary format opposed to a traditional objective. Career summaries allow you to highlight longevity and measurable achievements over the course of your career. You want anyone that reads your resume to be able to capture who you are as a professional.
- Keyword Optimization: Employers strategically use certain keywords when building a job description and thus the applicant tracking system will scan your resume against keywords that are within the job description. Pay close attention to words that show up multiple times throughout the job description, odds are you want those words in your resume as well but you want them to fit seamlessly.
- Create a skills section: This is very important as it allows you to include skills that may not fit seamlessly on your resume but are skills you have that fit the job description.
LinkedIn: @DeAnnah Stinson Reese │ Instagram: @dsreese26 │ Email: email@example.com