An effective and well-organized resume can mean the difference between months of unemployment and a chance to score that dream job. You have only 7 seconds to make a first impression on recruiters. In this competitive market, how will you stand out from the pack and demonstrate the value of your talents and skills? If you are drafting a resume for the first time or looking for ways to freshen up your presentation, here some essentials to help you keep from slipping to the bottom of the pile.
Grab Their Attention & Sell It
When you first sit down to draft a resume take a moment to think of putting yourself in the shoes of your future employer and consider what it would take to impress you in a matter of seconds. Not accounting for individual preferences, most recruiters will tell you they want to see a clear format with readable fonts, easily discernible titles in a creative or clear presentation.
- Lose the objective statements about what kind of position or career you are pursuing. Explain what you can do for the business to which you are applying
- Choose a format which best reflects your skills – chronological, functional or a combination each have their advantages, but be sure hiring staff can easily assess your skills and experiences
- Try using different mediums or unique formats to present your resume information if you are a creative person or are seeking employment in a creative industry. If your are a graphic designer, try an infographic resume. Digital editor? Try a video presentation. There are numerous options, but beware of coming off as a gimmick. If you can sincerely WOW recruiters it will keep your application in their memory bank
- Use keywords to increase your chances of being matched up with businesses or recruiters on job search engines and social media networks by using relevant job search or business terms throughout your resume, such as order entry experience or specific computer skills and industry jargon (CEBS, Java, Six Sigma, etc)
- Prioritize your resume by placing your most relevant and impressive qualifications summarized somewhere at the beginning or marked by carefully drafted titles which demonstrate your experiences and skills
- Lose the references. Unless they are requested recruiters know they can get them if and when they consider your resume
- Social media contact information is a must in this modern era. Along with your main address, phone and email, many employees will now assume you have LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Facebook or other applications for networking with colleagues and businesses. Show recruiters that your are up to date with these new technologies – at least they can bring you new networking opportunities
- Avoid using generalities like am a team player or highly-motivated.
Customize & Be Personable
It is highly unlikely that any hiring manager or recruiters is going to be impressed by any resume with the same copied cover letter and generic formatting. At the very least, take a few minutes to customize each resume you send out to potential employers. This will demonstrate that you made some effort to learn about the company and /or position. And wherever possible, make your resume unique, interesting and personable.
- Customize summary statements for why you want a specific position or reasons to work for a particular company on each resume submission
- Change your sample resume template to fit your experiences. Don’t look like every other candidate out there and look out for spelling errors in these samples
- Omit irrelevant or negative work experiences. Just because there are 5 frames on your resume for work experience does not mean you have to use them all. Your recruiter doesn’t need to know about your summer counseling job during your senior year of high school or that job at a college cafe you held for a week before deciding it was hell on earth
- Be light-hearted or include quirky accomplishments to show you are not a computer spitting out a list of job titles. Avoid jokes and false claims but if winning the county fair pie eating contest gets a chuckle while demonstrating you are fearless and competitive, go for it
Proofread, Proofread, Proofread
Recruiters cannot stress enough the value of proofreading and keeping your resume up to date. Spell checkers often miss simple errors such as double-words and synonyms, not to mention they do not catch grammar issues such as consistent tense, plurals and active voice. If one small typo can ruin your chances at scoring that dream job, proofread twice and use a friend or colleague to review it with a fresh pair of eyes before sending it off.