In most cases, you'll apply for a job by emailing you résumé to a potential employer. Simple enough. It's the first set of things they'll learn about you and will make or break your chances of coming in for an in-person interview or be selected for an eagerly-awaited follow-up call.
If you get that far, it's surely the outcome you were seeking, but there's more. Even if you make it all the way to the finish line and are offered the job, next comes the nerve-wracking salary discussion. Fear not. You can instantly put yourself in a higher salary bracket by sprucing up your résumé to say, "Show me the money!"
Here are some tips to get the most bang for your buck with a résumé that stands out above the rest and let's your prospective employer know you're worth every penny. Make these changes and see the "change" in your paycheck!
Easy to Scan
While you need your résumé to include all the important points you want an employer to know, it's important that the high-level points are easily readable and quickly scanable at first glance.
As per Jessica Hernandez, Executive Résumé Writer as posted on LinkedIn, "Keep in mind that whoever reviews your résumé first will typically scan it for critical information. The first thing they'll look at it is your title/branding statement, bolded keywords, position titles, and dates. If they like what they see, they'll go through it again with a more-thorough read."
In other words, without getting right to the point clearly and concisely, you won't likely make it through round one. With no chance of having the final hiring manager see your résumé, your efforts will be wasted.
Hernandez adds, "Using a profile or career summary is gradually fading away. Instead, replace it with a branding snapshot or profile snapshot. Write the newsworthy information in short, impactful statements or with as few words as possible so they can get the facts immediately."
Money Crashers adds, "With dozens or hundreds of résumés crossing the desk of an employer, your résumé needs to be logical, concise, and easy to read in order to help the hiring manager or recruiter find the important information as quickly as possible. You have 30 seconds at most to grab their attention, and to get the company to put your résumé into the 'interview' pile."
Not only will this make your organizational skills and accolades stand out, but your ability to garner positive attention is an attribute employers look for. This type of go-getter, no-nonsense sensibility makes for a valuable employee that is worth their time and money.
For more detail on how to make your résumé easy to skim, check out The Muse's "12 Tiny Changes that Make Your Résumé Easy for Recruiters to Skim."
Spell Check and Format
Something as simple as a misspelling or a poorly laid-out résumé can be the difference from landing the job and missing out on something you're qualified for. Don't let laziness or carelessness interfere with your other redeeming and outstanding experience and characteristics. A hiring manager will take note of such easy-to-remedy errors and can deem you as absent-minded or irresponsible. But you do make it past the first test even with such errors, when it comes to salary negotiation, you'll put yourself in the "indifferent" box automatically.
Money Crashers notes, "Make sure your résumé does not have any grammatical or spelling errors before you send it to prospective employers. Use spell check, but also enlist a few friends or family members to review your résumé. Receiving a promising résumé riddled with errors frustrates hiring managers and recruiters. The résumé appears sloppy and hastily prepared." Not something that will give you any sort of edge when it comes to beating out your competition or negotiating your potential salary. Attention to detail is seriously valuable to any business.
As far as formatting goes, keep your résumé as concise as possible. Rid it of very old jobs that were short-lived and don't benefit your overall chances of getting this new job. U.S. News & World Report suggests shortening the résumé, "If your résumé is multiple pages, you might be diluting the impact of its contents. With a shorter résumé, you'll ensure that in an initial quick scan, the hiring manager's eyes fall on the most important things. Plus, long résumés can make you come across as someone who can't edit and doesn't know what information is essential and what's less important. As a general rule, your résumé shouldn't be longer than two pages, maximum."
That said, Money Crashers advises, "Don't sacrifice quality for brevity." If you have a world of noteworthy experience, share it. Just keep things as brief as you can while still getting the major details across. Be sure to keep your résumé updated and relevant as well as tailored to the job you want. Employers will know if you've sent the same exact résumé out dozens of times to different HR departments with no specific tweaks to show you've fine-tuned yours for their unique position. This minor, yet important attention to detail can give you the extra oomph when it comes to money talks.
Quantify Your Work
Along with showcasing your previous experience and education, if possible and applicable, highlight how you helped your prior employers make money for the company and the impact your hard work made. This will immediately show the hiring manager that you've got the goods as well as the know-how to make a positive change for their company. Knowing that you have the capability to make money will be an incentive for the employer to give you a higher salary, thanks to the returns they can expect from having you on their team.
ASME, The American Society of Mechanical Engineers recommends to, "Include and highlight specific achievements that present a comprehensive picture of your marketability. Quantify your achievements to ensure greater confidence in the hiring manager and thereby generate interest percentages, dollars, number of employees, etc. Work backwards to quantify your accomplishments by asking, 'If I had not done X, what could have happened?'"
Hernandez agrees, "Share a challenge/situation/problem, the action you took to address it, and the result. Write the result by sharing how it positively impacted your employer or client. These statements make an impact, tell a story, and give the reader context. When writing your career history it's best to lead with the result/impact to the client or employer because this is usually quantifiable."
Along with quantifying your work, include other aspects of your life that can show the hiring manager that you have the skills and history to help take their company to a new level. Perhaps you've served as President of a debate team or lead a Scouts' troop to aid in making the community better.
It's also wise to include other skills that give you more of an advantage vs. others up for the job such as special tech or coding knowledge, an accounting or artistic background, or public relations experience. Your unique and marketable qualities will make an employer open to paying a higher salary for a person with versatility.