Without question, your resume says a lot about you. However, if it’s not presented in the right way it may be sending the wrong message to employers and recruiters—ultimately causing you to miss out on job opportunities.
As a staffing provider, PSI views thousands of resumes a year. Therefore, we have a few thoughts about how you can make yours stand out. Here are 12 tips direct from our recruiters.
Cut the Fluff
When it comes to resume writing, generally less is more. It should be a targeted document that provides a clear, concise snapshot of your experience and accomplishments. Eliminate any redundant or extraneous information that could distract the reader from your qualifications. In addition, leave out any work experience that is unrelated to the prospective position.
Highlight Accomplishments vs Responsibilities
Focus on your professional accomplishments instead of simply listing job functions. Also, quantify them whenever possible to validate your experience. For example, compare the impact of the following two statements:
- Managed and grew existing accounts
- Achieved 105% of sales revenue goal and increased profit margin by 10% across 15 clients
Include LinkedIn URL
Today, a LinkedIn URL is considered a standard item to include on your resume along with your name, address and contact information. In fact, according to a Jobvite study, 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn to research candidates and CareerBuilder reports around 40% of employers might not interview a candidate if they can’t find them online.
Modern Design, Classic Formatting
While the standard black and white, Times New Roman resume may be a thing of the past, a simple, uncluttered design is still expected. However, simple does not have to equal boring or unattractive. Here are a few tips:
- Always leave plenty of whitespace for easy scanning
- Use a mix of bullet points and paragraphs for emphasis
- Avoid over stylized fonts and keep font size between 10.5 and 12 to ensure readability
- Consider a splash of color to add personality
- Bold accomplishments or job entries to make them stand out
- Place work experience before education (unless you just graduated)
- Use reverse chronological order to show career progression
- Match resume length to experience – As a general rule…
- If you have fewer than 10 years of experience, go with a one-page resume
- If you have more than 10 years of experience related to the position and/or have extensive technical knowledge to list, go with a two-page resume (Include a header on page two in case pages are separated.)
Eliminate the Objective Statement
Once a resume staple, today the objective statement is viewed as outdated and self-serving. A resume objective is all about what you are looking for, and the whole point of a resume is to show prospective employers you have what they are looking for. Instead, create a skills summary that shows off your experience and accomplishments.
Maximize the limited space on your resume by using action verbs. Action verbs powerfully describe a mental or physical action and are usually written in the past tense. Use them to start bullet points on your resume to highlight your accomplishments. Need some inspiration? Check out this list of 139 resume action verbs from Indeed.
Tailor Your Resume to Fit the Job Description
Hiring managers and recruiters wade through hundreds of resumes every day spending on average just ten seconds scanning each one for specific skills and experience. The odds that a generic resume will match what they are looking for is slim at best. Therefore, to tilt the odds in your favor… you MUST take the time to tailor you resume to match every job description, every time.
Focus on Keywords
When reviewing your resume, recruiters and employers are looking for specific keywords to indicate how well your experience lines up with the job requirements. In addition, many use an Applicant Tracking System (resume reading software) to screen applicants. Review the job description to discover which keywords the employer is looking for and include them throughout your resume.
Triple Check Spelling and Grammar
Simply put, mistakes happen. However, even a small mistake on your resume is enough to keep you from getting an interview. Find a second or even third set of eyes to review your resume to ensure that you put your best foot forward.
Get Technical About Technology
When creating a technical resume, detail each position or project you have been on with the all the technologies you have worked with. For example: simply stating that you were an IT Technician who supported Windows OS users with Active Directory and used a ticketing system will limit the opportunities you will get called about. Add details such as:
- How technologies were used
- Versions of technologies
- Number of issues resolved per day
- Size of the team
- Volume of users supported
- Name of ticketing system utilized
- And more – name of the game with technology is… more is better
Show Off Your Soft Skills with Examples
Today, business is built on relationships which make soft skills nearly as important as hard skills. Job descriptions typically include several and employers want to know which ones you possess. Avoid the cliché references such as “strong communication skills”, “team player” or “detail-oriented”, almost anyone can make those claims. Instead, provide examples of how your soft skills provided value like this:
- Communicated effectively to resolve project delays ensuring client satisfaction
- Collaborated on a team of 6 to develop a new mobile application
- Developed a new tracking system for projects to ensure on-time completion
Highlight Transferable Skills from Personal Activities and Interests
Listing the right type of hobbies on your resume can add value and help you stand out from the crowd. When it comes to including personal activities and interests on a resume, relevance rules. Avoid listing irrelevant hobbies like fishing, tennis, knitting, etc. Here are a few personal activities and interests that also have professional relevance:
- Published writings and/or blogs
- Associations or group memberships
- Volunteer experience
- Activities relevant to the position
Your resume is the first step to landing your dream job! Before sending it out, spend some time crafting it to ensure your first impression is a good one! Looking for your next career opportunity? Contact us to discuss your goals.