Recruiters are looking for the best fit and it only takes them a few seconds to look at your resume before quickly determining if you’re worth their time to talk to. Amongst a pile of dozens (sometimes hundreds) of resumes, how do you get your resume to stand out and land on top of the ‘call back’ pile? With recruiters sifting through far more resumes today, job seekers need to approach the process of putting together a solid resume more tactfully. How do you tell your story or sum up an (exciting) career into a page or two that not only secures a second glance from any recruiter but hopefully lands you the interview too!
- Replace your career objective with qualifications:
Whilst you may think the employer is impressed by your career objective (that highlights how ambitious and highly motivated you are), the recruiter or decision maker is looking for someone that closely matches the job opening.
Qualifications serve as tangible evidence as opposed to the airy-fairy story you try to sell through a career objective. You have limited lines/sentences to capture the decision maker’s attention so make it easier for them by listing all your skills and experience at the very top of your resume – your resume will carry more relevance and value this way. If the decision maker wants to know about your career objective, then that’s something to raise in your interview.
Give the recruiter the information they need to know before telling them what they’d like to hear.
- The basics:
Surely this is an obvious one, but you’d be surprised how often job seekers let the basics slip. A professional resume requires suitable language, correct punctuation and a simple flow. Your resume needs to be professional and polished to avoid finding its way to the ‘reject’ pile. Choose a simple font, keep your formatting consistent and proofread your resume at least five times over before getting someone else (you trust) to proofread another three times after that.
Depending on the role, some resumes may require more creativity than others. However, it is important to remember that your resume and its design and layout should not detract from the content or story you’re trying to tell. Liken creating your resume to making a burger – whilst the garnish could add flavor, it’s the patty and meat itself that truly makes the burger what it is (perhaps a poor comparison for any vegetarian readers but nevertheless, you get the idea).
- Show impact:
The bulk of your resume should focus on your work experience – this inspires confidence with the recruiter, that you, most likely, are a suitable candidate to explore further. List your past jobs in chronological order, from most recent, to oldest, and take a results-driven approach to describe your duties and accomplishments.
To motivate how you excelled in previous roles, use action verbs, give specific examples, and add quantifiable results – this will add more meaningful information about how you had benefited a project or a company. The goal is to show that you made a difference, specifically highlighting your involvement that led to a successful outcome.
- Keywords really are key:
Recruiters scan resumes and cover letters for the keywords used in the job posting. Tailor your resume for every job description you reply to (and that includes, finessing your resume with some of the language each posting has made use of). The use of keywords not only highlights that your resume’s relevance for the job opening but further peaks the interest of the recruiter when skimming through the dozens of resumes to know you’ve taken the time to understand what they are looking for and what’s important to them.
A successful resume is one that gets you through the door, lands you the interview and gives you the best chance at shooting your shot at winning that job! The above tips are simple and easy to implement, you just didn’t know they mattered until now. Tick these basics and it will lead to success in your job-hunting journey. Happy resume building!