Your resume has only one purpose . . .to get you a job interview. 8 out of 10 resumes are discarded with only a 10 second glance by Human Resources or the hiring manager. Your resume is your first impression and making your resume stand out is key to getting to an interview.
Job searches are very competitive, and you want to catch the recruiter’s eye by submitting a resume that instantly shows how you fit what the recruiter needs.
Here are ways to make your resume stand out:
Keep it clean
• Your document needs to be concise, simple and clean so that a recruiter can easily read about your experience.
• For the most impact, use a modern, professional template and font with a header that includes your contact information. City and/or state will suffice for address.
• Have a summary of your skill set that would be under your contact information. This could be in paragraph and bullet form.
• Do not list an objective. Your objective is to get the job you are applying for.
• Keep it to an appropriate length for your work experience. You do not need to list your whole career history on your resume — employers care most about what you have done recently. In most industries, going back 10-15 years will be enough to demonstrate that you are qualified. Detailing any positions beyond the 20-year mark could clutter your resume.
o Please note; if prior industry experience provides connecting points to the role you are applying for, include it on your resume, at the end of your employment section, as “Prior Experience Includes (your relevant information)”.
• Place the most important bullet points at the top under your responsibilities – the ones that will grab the attention of the reader.
• Include the most essential responsibilities. Leave out irrelevant job responsibilities.
• Include bullet points of your accomplishments. Make sure they include recent awards/achievements. Accomplishments that are ten years old with none recent will not show well on a resume.
• There are many different ways to assemble your resume. Highlight what matters most at the top. If you have a formal education or are a recent grad, for example, start with your education under your summary. Those that do not have a formal education and have years of work experience, highlight your career and accomplishments first and ensure you add any certifications/training under Education/Training at the end.
• Delete language like “References available upon request”.
• Do not include a photo of yourself.
• Save the document as a pdf and word file.
Demonstrate your value
Sometimes numbers tell a more compelling story than words – quantify your experience. Metrics including the percentage you grew a business, the size of a business you managed, the dollars/profit provided, number of staff managed/direct reports and the level of leadership you reported to will help you highlight your qualifications.
These numbers should support a proven track record of providing value to another company. Adding these concrete numbers to support your previous experience builds trust in a potential employer’s eyes because you have already had success – so they know you can do the same for them.
Add key value-based metrics, such as:
• Revenue generated
• Time saved
• Customer satisfaction or retention changes
• Improved operational efficiency
Include soft skills
Recruiters and hiring managers look for candidates who will fit into the corporate culture and work well with existing staff. Examples of your teamwork, problem-solving, communication and interpersonal skills provide a glimpse into your personality. You want to show that you are a well-rounded employee who is easy to work with and can help achieve company goals.
Tailor your resume for each job
In general, resumes are looked at closer than cover letters. Rather than make broad changes, small tweaks may be all you need to do to tailor it to a specific job. Be sure to incorporate the same keywords that are in the job description and your skills, titles and certifications that match the position’s needs.
Showcase your experience by including specific accomplishments, awards and key projects you have led or been a participating member of. Include jargon and industry-specific language to demonstrate you have industry knowledge, but do not overdo it.
Proofread! Proofread! Proofread!
Spelling, grammar and punctuation errors show an inattention to detail and will likely remove you from consideration. Ask a friend to read your resume to make sure you have not missed anything. You do not want carelessness to cost you an interview.
And finally, . . .
Keep your Resume Current