Do you know the average amount of time recruiters look at resumes? Six seconds. That is it. You have six seconds to make an impression or your resume will be thrown in the trash.
How can you make sure your resume gets past that 6 seconds instead of thrown away with so many others?
Tip #1: Make sure your resume is brief and concise.
Recruiters and hiring managers are not interested in having to dig for information when they are looking at your resume. Make sure your resume is easy to read and concise.
Also, you need to keep your resume to one page. Unless you have extensive work history (which most of us don’t because we are still early in our careers), your resume needs to fit on one page.
Pro tip: you can play around with the margins on Microsoft Word if your resume bleeds a little over onto a second page.
Separate your resume into sections:
- Name and contact information (Please have a professional email address e.g. email@example.com).
- Work History (Most current and most relevant first).
- Education (Education goes last because it is the least differentiating section. Use your work experience and skills to show how you’re different from the other candidates).
From here you can get creative. You can include skills, community or volunteer work or awards. Again, keep it to one page if you can.
Tip #2: Your resume needs to be relevant, concise and connected to the position you are applying for.
Make sure you look over the job application and make sure that your resume is tailored toward that position. What key skills are they interested in? Make sure you highlight those things on your resume.
When you think about your current or previous jobs, you don’t need to include everything you do or did. Include the aspects that relate to the job you are applying for.
Use action verbs and keep your phrases short. Bullets are appropriate as they are easy to read and try to keep your bullets to 5 or 6 per job. Quantify your work experience when you can. This helps give you credibility.
What to do if you don’t have specific skills related to the job? Make sure to include transferable or general skills that would make you excel at any job.
Tip #3: Details matter.
I can’t emphasize this enough. Typos, the words you use, grammar, capitalizing letters correctly–all these things matter. I recommend having someone else look over your resume before you send it off to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
Also, choose a font that is easy to read. Keep it simple–Times New Roman or Calibri are safe choices. Unless you are working in the arts, keep it simple. No photos, no colors, no crazy fonts.
Tip #4: Save it as a PDF.
Since everyone has different computers and different programs, saving your resume as a PDF will avoid formatting mistakes.
Also, be smart about the name of the document you’re saving. Some applications may have a specific formula, but if you aren’t sure, saving it as your name and the date or the job title is perfect.
Tip #5: Keep your resume fresh and up-to-date.
Even if you are in a job you love, keep your resume up-to-date. You may use it to apply to be on boards or committees, or to be nominated for awards. You also may be presented with a job opportunity that you want to apply for. Regardless of the specific reason, you should keep your resume up-to-date.
What needs to be eliminated from your resume?
1. Unless this is your first job right out of college, you can get rid of most things from your college experience.
You can keep the general education section that includes your school and degree, and you can keep any awards you received. If you are in a technical field, you may want to keep your GPA and any specific organizations you were a part of that will relate to your field.
Other than that, get rid of it. You can talk about your college experience in a cover letter or in an interview, but with only six seconds and one page to think about, you need to only keep what is relevant.
2. Unless the job has specifically asked for this, you can get rid of your references.
Companies know that they can ask you for references and (will if you get offered a job). Also most companies include this on a job application anyway. You don’t want everyone who has your resume to have your references (particularly if you are applying for a lot of jobs). Also, that list takes up precious space and isn’t necessary.
3. Take off vague lists of duties.
You should always use your resume to call out specifics, using figures, exact numbers, and/or percentages when you can. Always highlight what you did specifically and what the end result was.
Writing a resume might seem like a tedious task, but you won’t regret the extra time you spent tailoring each resume. It’s a great idea to keep a long resume with all of your accomplishments and skills on it to pull from as you make your resume for each job you’re applying to. Make things easy on yourself and keep it up-to-date now so that you’ll have a complete resource to turn to later. Good luck!
Do you have an up-to-date resume? If not, jump on that ASAP. Let us know how we can help!