There are several secrets to a great Resume and some of them are simpler than you think. Recruiters are human like you and me and have a job to do. They want to hire someone!!
Both the resume format and contents help the reader learn about you. When a recruiter is reviewing a resume, they usually have a job they want to fill, and it is likely they have received hundreds of resumes. Recent studies suggest they will spend less than 10 seconds to review your resume. As a recruiter I can tell you these studies are right. There were times I had 30 minutes to review 75 resumes.
Here is what I looked for:
- How does the resume look? Is it organized? Is the text lined up? How many words are on the page? Does it look cluttered, is the applicant trying to tell me everything about them? How many pages is it? Can I easily see where you worked and what your job title is/was? Are the dates clear and consistent throughout the resume? Are there gaps in employment?
- The cleaner the format, the easier it is for the reader to understand. If the resume is not visually appealing recruiters pass. Make it easy for the recruiter to find the information they are looking for.
- What kind of work have you done in the past? Are your previous jobs similar to the job they are offering? Are the skills you have transferable to their job?
- I often saw accounting or engineering resumes for sales jobs. It is not immediately evident that the skills are transferable.
- Are the descriptions clear and simple?
- Most recruiters do not have time to sift through paragraphs of prose to understand the candidate’s skills. Thoughtfully written bullets are more impactful for recruiters to read and will more likely end in an interview.
- Can a recruiter see key words relevant to the job?
- If you have a specific job you are interested in, read the job description and make sure your resume uses key words from the job description. This is how automatic tracking systems (ATS) select resumes.
- How many pages is it?
- Resumes should be limited to one page for under 10 years of experience, 2 pages max. Jobs you had 20 years ago may not be relevant; no one is hiring you for those jobs. Keeping your resume short tells your recruiter that you can get to the point.
- Is the spelling and grammar correct?
- Spelling and grammar matter. It may not seem like a big deal, but it speaks to your attention to detail. If you do not have someone to review the resume use a grammar and spelling tool.
In many cases this is all an employer knows about you so follow these simple steps to make the best impression possible to get the interview.
Effective resumes get you the interview; effective interviewing gets you the job.
Lindsey Levine was in the corporate world for 30 years in a Sales Management Position where one of his key responsibilities was hiring. He transitioned to his new career and is the principal of Lindsey Levine Resume and Interviewing Preparation.