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So you’re spending a lot of time trying to figure out why no one is calling you for an interview. Well, have you checked out your résumé lately? Seriously, if the last time you updated it was 2009 then you might want to do a little rewriting.

Not everyone has the money to pay a professional to create a well-written, high-quality résumé, especially if you’ve been out of work…since 2009. What’s worse is that with today’s sophisticated applicant tracking systems, a well-written résumé won’t get you that far anyway. Each résumé needs to be customized to the exact needs of the employer.

Besides customizing your résumé, you’re going to need a creative way of describing who you are and what makes you special from all the other job seekers out there. To do this successfully, you need to do a competitive analysis to find out who and what you’re up against.

A competitive analysis not only helps you find out who your competition is, but it also helps you borrow ideas from the way these people describe their offerings. There is an old saying that a competitive analysis allows you to “R&D” the competition – “rip off and duplicate.”

Google and LinkedIn are two great sources where you can see résumé examples for free. and if you’re not on LinkedIn you need to be… now!

Sheesh.

Anyway, to get free résumés for a job as a project manager, go to Google and type this string in the search engine:

intitle:resume education project manager -jobs -submit -apply ext:doc

The intitle tells Google to look for the words “résumé,” “education” (which appears in most résumés) and “project manager” (the title we’re searching for).

The minus sign tells it to leave out any results with the words “jobs,” “submit,” or “apply” in them, because we don’t want to pull up job descriptions.

Ext:doc refers to finding actual documents; in this case, we’re looking for Word documents. You can also replace doc with pdf, if you want to find additional results. Make sure to add further customizations, such as additional keywords and location to the search string to find résumés from your local competition.

Yes, it sounds complicated but just do it.

You can get additional résumé info by using the advanced search feature on LinkedIn.

Once you log in to LinkedIn, click on Advanced Search found on the top right-hand side of the page. Put in a title, add some keywords, narrow down by location and hit search. This will tell you who in your area meets this criteria and what their profiles look like.

By looking at both the Google and LinkedIn results, you’ll notice weak, good, and seriously good résumés. The strongest and most impactful part of a résumé is the professional summary section. This is where you get to tell the employer who you are, what you do and how great you are. Don’t go crazy here.

But, many job seekers miss out on this great opportunity to impress prospective employers. They use lame and tired statements such as “ability to multi-task,” “have great communication skills,” “I am passionate.” Booooring!

Many of us aren’t great with vocabulary or sentence structure when describing our greatness. This is where the R&D process pays off. Borrowing statements (without plagiarizing) from the strong résumés you found earlier is a great start. Another technique is to look up experts in your field. If you know their names, go to their websites and look at their bios or press kits. If you don’t know their names, go to Amazon.com, narrow down the books by your field, sort by bestseller and get the names of the authors. Then, visit their profiles to get an idea on how you should present yourself.

While this work can take some time and resources, it’s well worth the investment. And really, are you doing something better with your time? You’ll be surprised at the amount of information you gather about your competition and how ready you’ll be to give your résumé a nice upgrade. And it’s free, which is nice.

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