Studies show that recruiters and hiring managers glance at a resume and within 11 seconds, make a determination of further pursuing the candidate. If you only have one chance to make a lasting first impression, your resume is crucial to this process. Below you will find 7 tips that will help you to enhance your resume, and ensure it sets you apart in a competitive job market.
To succeed in today’s job market, you should think about your resume being written like an advertisement, with you as a product, and your future boss as a potential consumer.
The resume format should be sleek and professional and should align with the level of position that you are applying to. For example, your resume format when applying to a chief financial officer position should be very different than a resume format for a financial analyst position. Also, if you’re applying to various positions online, you’ll want to limit the use of graphics, as they are not typically ATS-friendly (application tracking system). In a nutshell, focus more on the content and less time on the design.
- Professional Summary
This is a professional or executive summary that is the first thing that your reader will see. Think about a 3-4 sentence elevator pitch – that’s how your summary should reach. It should quickly catch the attention of the reader, and give them a desire to want to know more! The elements from the summary should be woven throughout your resume, painting the picture for the reader.
- Accomplishments Based
Ensure that you’re not listing roles and responsibilities. Your resume should not appear to be a copy and paste your current job description. A sentence or two about the day to day responsibilities is fine, but there should be a clear list of accomplishments. There should be key accomplishments listed in bullet point format for each position. Be specific in your examples – what did you do, what was the impact to the company, and in what timeframe was it achieved.
- Actionable Verbs
Start each statement with an actionable verb. For example, “achieved a $2M increase in sales, as a result of a six-month marketing campaign, which included social media, billboard, and radio advertising strategies”. Avoid starting phrases with adverbs, such as “successfully” or “effectively”, and stick to more “action-focused” verbs.
- Dated Information
If it’s 15+ years are older, only include it, if it is relevant and don’t put the same level of emphasis as more recent experience. An “Additional Work Experience” section is recommended, listing company and job titles only. The same rule of thumb will apply to volunteering, awards, or educational accomplishments that are greater than 15 years old.
- Job Specific
Tailor your resume to the type of job you’re applying for. Ensure it’s rich in keywords that align well to that job. Leverage some of the verbatim and industry-specific language. Some applicant tracking system will rate your application at a higher level, based on the words that match the description, so pay careful attention to key words.
As a new grad or someone with just a couple of years experience, your resume should be one page. For those professionals with 5+ years of experience or more, 2 pages should suffice. While there may be some exceptions to that rule, 2 pages max is a good rule of thumb.
Lastly, everything in your resume should flow well and should be consistent. If you are speaking in first person, don’t switch to third person in some areas. Grammar and verb usage should also be consistent (for example, past-tense vs. current state).
If you’re having a hard time putting words into action or getting your resume to grab the attention of hiring companies, we can help. Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be happy to work with you.