Sometimes you do have to sweat the small stuff. Crafting your resume to get that job is one of those times. In many cases, your resume will be the first thing a hiring manager or recruiter will look at when reviewing your application. When looking to fill a position, they could look at thousands. If they see one thing out of place, it could quickly end up on the ‘no’ pile. So, what does your resume actually need to take you to the next stage of the hiring stage?
Dr. Edwin Trevor-Roberts is a career expert, who has had over 20 years working in the industry of advising candidates on how to take control of their careers. Here are a few of his absolute musts for your resume in order to stand out from the crowd and get you an interview.
Tailor your resume
It can be time-consuming, but the rewards will be worth it. 80% of applicants won’t customise their resume before they send it off. So, tailoring your resume to each job you apply for will already place you in the top 20% of candidates.
Start by taking that extra time to review and interpret the job posting to give you a better understanding of what the company wants from its applicants. Now you may not need to change much, but you do need to make sure that your resume reflects the needs of the job you are applying for.
How to tailor your resume:
- Change the opening statement to reflect the job you are applying for
- List the key skills towards the top that are asked of by the job description
- Include examples of achievements that meet the advertised jobs’ requirements
- Include relevant keywords and phrases mentioned in the job advertisement
Keep it concise
Remember, your resume is not an autobiography. While you want to include enough information to encourage a potential employer to interview, you don’t want to detail every little aspect of your career. You will have the opportunity to discuss your career in more detail when you have an interview.
When it comes to resumes, short and sweet is a good rule of thumb. You want your resume to be two things, fresh and relevant. You don’t have a ton of space on your resume, so resist the copy and paste technique when applying for a new job. Instead, focus on 2-3 of the most relevant roles, experiences, and skills. When in doubt, trim a little more off the sides.
Focus on your achievements
Your achievements are powerful statements. They can and will differentiate you from other applicants. The thing about mentioning your achievements in your resume is it will reduce the hiring risk. If you have done it once, then surely you can do it again.
Use quantifiable achievements where you can. ‘I streamlined the company’s phone answering system and saved the company $6000 in administration costs’ is far more compelling than, ‘I used to answer the phones’. Which sounds more attractive to you as a hiring manager?
Your achievements are things you have done that have made a positive impact and contribution to your employers’ business. By putting these sorts of impactful statements in your resume, you are painting a picture of how successful you could be in your new role.
Make it as readable as possible.
If you know that you are applying for a position through a recruitment agency, chances are they will be using an automated software to filter all the resumes they receive. Recruiters are harnessing the power of technology in the form of an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This computer software is essentially a robot that will crawl your resume, searching for keywords, phrases, and lingo that match the job description. While this saves Recruiters a lot of time flicking through irrelevant resumes, it does mean you will need to use the terminology that is expected of both the job description and industry.
Only once a resume has passed the ATS test will it be viewed by human eyes. As these resumes are now recognised as being more highly qualified for the role, it is more likely that a recruiter will now take more time reading through the information.
You can appeal to the bots by sprinkling keywords from the advertisement throughout your resume. If you are tailoring your resume, you should be doing this anyway. However, beware that you don’t go overboard so that your resume is unreadable. As well as using straightforward headers in your design such as ‘Education’.
Make your resume easy to consume
A resume is a visual document. This means that using a layout that is organised and well thought out is vital. If your resume is messy, overcrowded or difficult to read, then there is a good chance it will not be read at all. An unprofessional resume will make you look, well unprofessional! And, it could cost you an interview.
Here are some key points to make your resume as readable as possible:
- Use white space.
- Use a font that is easy to read.
- Increase line spacing.
- Ensure consistent formatting across your resume. Bullet points in some places, dashes in others, different font sizes used in paragraphs.
- Use a resume template such as Resugraphic so everything looks polished.
- Break it up. A resume that looks like a novel will put the reader off.
Don’t forget that a resume needs to both capture your reader’s attention and provide high-value content that keeps them engaged. Following these steps can help you find that much needed balance. If you are still unsure about how to make your resume stand out from the crowd, Resugraphic is a resume tool developed by career experts for you. Find out more here.