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On average, Recruiters and Hiring Managers only look at resumes for 3 seconds. That means that you have a super short amount of time to get someone interested in your resume and entice them to keep looking to see that you are the best candidate for the job. So you need to know how to write a resume that will help you stand out.
I am a full-time HR Manager/Recruiter and I look at resumes Every. Single. Day. So trust me when I say, if your resume doesn’t communicate your skills well from the get-go, you won’t get noticed.
Resumes don’t have to be complicated. You just need to have a strategy on how you want to communicate your skills via a piece of paper.
Skip the Objective Statement. Put your Skills and Certifications at the top.
Recall to 5 seconds ago when I told you that recruiters are only looking at your resume for 3 seconds before deciding if you are a candidate they want to consider for the position. With that kind of time, you need to be sure you show off your best stuff at the very top of your resume so they see it first.
Traditional advice would tell you that you should start your resume with an objective or a personal statement. As someone who looks at resumes all day, I would recommend moving that to the bottom of your resume or removing it completely. If you do have an objective statement on your resume, it needs to be 1-2 sentences max and summarize what value you would bring to a company.
Instead of the objective statement, I would recommend a small box that contains a bulleted list of your top skills.
This way, your skills (which are fantastic by the way) are front and center.
Make sure that your best stuff is “above the fold”.
Your resume is most likely being viewed for the first time on a computer, so make sure that you put your take away items at the very top so recruiters don’t have to scroll to see your best stuff.
When I was first looking for jobs, the hard and fast rule was “ONE PAGE ONLY”. But now, since everything has gone digital, your resume can spread out a bit. I don’t recommend going longer than 2 pages, but you can change your font from 10 to 12, and not worry about the spillover on to page 2.
SAVE IT AS A PDF.
For the LOVE OF GOD please save your resume as a PDF. You have no idea how many resumes I get that are saved as a Word document. Why is that a big deal you ask?
Well, in a Word document, your formatting changes are at the mercy of the version of Word that the company is using. If they have a different version than you, then when they open your resume, they could be seeing a less polished version than what you submitted.
Word is also unforgiving as far as grammar and spelling. Recruiters may not notice the typo in your resume, but a Word document may help them find it. Word also may not agree with the way one of your previous employers spells their name, so there will be squiggly lines showing up where there needn’t be.
Do yourself a favor and submit your resume as a PDF. And save the file with your name as the title (ex: Jane A Smith). Don’t just save it as “Resume 4/18”. It doesn’t look professional.
If you are applying for a more creative job (ie – not an accountant), you can even use the file name to show off a little personality. I have enjoyed seeing a few resumes saved as “HireJohnSmith” or “YourNextProjectManager”. That little introduction already has me pumped to read the resume when I open it.
Use keywords to stand out.
If you aren’t aware, pretty much all the companies you are applying to have a system that collects all the resumes ever submitted. Most of these systems allow for hiring managers to search for applicants with keywords.
There are certain jobs where I review the applications solely by searching for specific keywords. If there are skills that are absolutely mandatory, I do my first searches by looking for those keywords.
The best way for your resume to be found in those searches to read through the job description and use the same terms that they use, where it makes sense. Or if they list specific tools in the requirements, and you do in fact have experience with those tools, make sure to list them in your resume.
Bullet points are your friend. Your resume should have no paragraphs.
These recruiters and hiring managers are looking through tons of resumes at a time, so you need to make yours as easy to read as possible.
- ONLY USE BULLET POINTS
- NO PARAGRAPHS
- SINGLE SENTENCES
I hope that was clear enough.
While a perfectly crafted resume is a must have, you are going to have the best luck if you can make a personal connection with the hiring manager. Use LinkedIn to check for any mutual contacts between you and the company you are applying for and see if they will help get your resume to the hiring manager.
Once you have found that perfect job, use these tips to explode your career growth!