Have you ever looked someone up on Facebook just to get a feel for who a person is without even really knowing them? Hiring managers looking at your resume is almost the exact same way.
Before you even step in the door for an interview, the hiring manager has likely viewed your LinkedIn, your website, and most importantly: your resume. Your resume is the first thing employers know about you and if it’s not appealing, it will be over looked and the position will go to someone else.
Job hunting can be stressful and no one wants to send hundreds of resumes out to not receive any interviews. In order to increase resume visibility, you may need to make a few changes so your resume lands in the right hands for an interview.
1. Formatting matters.
Make sure the page itself is appealing to look at and the formatting makes sense. Cluttered or busy resumes are stressful to read so keep it clean and functional. If the hiring manager has to look too long for the right experience, it’s already lessened your chances for a call back.
Be consistent in your formatting. Make your headings easy to find by using different sizes and typefaces to make sections easy to identify. If you used bullets under one description, use them under all of the descriptions.
2. Be concise.
The first step to writing anything is to make it easy to comprehend and easy to find the correct information the reader is looking for. Hiring managers and HR departments filter through countless resumes with a lot of the same information and experience. Bottom line: if John’s resume reads better than yours, John will most likely get the job over you.
College students, recent graduates and entry level employees should keep their resume to one page. The resume that is to the point and easy to understand will win over a manager, not a three page Microsoft Word Document full of irrelevant information.
Which brings me to my next point…
3. Only include relevant job experience.
As you gain experience in your field, take off all information that clutters the information that the manager is actually looking for. If you need to have non-related work experience on your resume, connect transferable skills to the positions you held and the position you’re applying for.
Taking team work skills from a fast food job is better than just saying you worked the drive thru window. Some people also urge job hunters to have various versions highlighting different skills or positions of their resume depending on the position.
The wording on your resume may be slightly different if you’re applying to journalism jobs and to marketing jobs. Ultimately, you need to know your audience and what they are looking for. Tailor your resume and tailor it wisely.
4. Use powerful verbs.
It’s not about using more words, it’s about using the right words. Be careful to only use past tense verbs for past roles and play up the important roles.
Make sure the verbs you use on your resume aren’t the typical “helped, worked or assisted” but are words that take slightly longer to digest. Strong verbs make your role stand out and make it seem like you played a significant role in the company. “Collaborated with” is a lot more memorable than “worked alongside.”
5. Use keywords from the job description.
In your resume, cover letter, personal statements or any other type of application, you should always include keywords and skills that the company is looking for. If the position requires a specific skill, then be sure to include it on your resume and cover letter.
6. Quantify your accomplishments.
Use numbers to solidify achievements and make them stand out. “Trained 17 employees over the course of a three week training process” sounds a lot better than “helped train employees.”
Include these numbers and percentages where you can, and make sure you are able to back those numbers up with tangible proof in an interview.
Every time you learn new skills or get a new responsibility at work, you should revise your resume and keep it as up to date as possible. You never know when someone will randomly ask you for a resume and if you stopped adding stuff to it two years ago, you will be in trouble remembering dates and tasks.
Remember to keep it clean and functional, while also highlighting the important positions and you’ll be called in for interviews in no time!
Before you go into your next interview, be sure to check out GenTwenty’s advice on interview pitfalls!