If you have ever been looking for a job I’m sure asked yourself: “What can I do to make my resume stand out and get an employer to seriously consider me for a job”? If you Googled the term “resume”, you know that there’s a dizzying array of information and advice out there about what works best in putting something together that presents you best. How do you make sense of it all? I’m going to make it easy for you – I have looked at well over 50,000 resumes and talk daily with Recruiters and HR Directors who are often the ones making the first pass at your resume. No matter your experience level or what kind of job you’re looking for, these are the most important “insider tips” you will need to know and do:
1.The “one-size fits all” approach won’t cut it in a marketplace of increasingly specialized needs. So plan on having several versions of your resume adjusted for the different jobs you are applying for. Include ways you can make an immediate contribution to the organization that reflects the homework you should be doing about the organization you’re applying to. Make sure that you – and at least one other person you trust – carefully review your resume and adjust it to contain the “key words” that recruiters will be searching for.
2.Don’t worry about an objective – employers will skip over this, or worse, will screen your resume out based on an objective that is not a perfect match for the job they are hiring for. Instead let your experience, skills and results-driven descriptions make the case for you.
3.“Space equals importance”, so put the most critical information first and spend more time and space talking about the skills, experiences, and results that are directly related to the job you are applying for.
4.Avoid all complicated fonts or design elements. To be considered an applicant, you will likely be uploading your resume to an applicant tracking system (ATS) on a company or third-party web site. These systems have a difficult time deciphering elaborate fonts or design elements and if your resume can’t be read easily, it won’t be read at all.
5.Quantify whenever possible. We live in a metrics driven work culture and it’s no longer enough to state that you increased sales or productivity, you need to back it up with quantifiable data whenever possible.
6.Check your resumes for errors of fact, typos, formatting woes or omissions. After you checked it and before you send it to an employer, let a trusted person in your network review it as well. One inaccuracy or misspelling could cost you a second look.
7.Omit any unnecessary, or potentially controversial, information, including sexual orientation, religious or political affiliations. It’s illegal for employers to ask for this information and irrelevant to whether you are a strong candidate for the job.
8.“Size matters” and no one has the time to spend a long time reviewing a resume. Keep the resume to one or two pages depending on your experience. If your resume is more than a page, be sure to include your name and email contact on subsequent pages and do your best early on to make sure the recruiter will want to read more!