As a Sr. Recruiter with over 20 years of experience, I have seen thousands of resumes. Some have stood out and others fell flat. Your resume creates the first impression for recruiters and hiring managers. Sending a sharp, well-written resume that describes your technical skills and reflects experience relevant to an opening is key to getting noticed. And most importantly, you must include proper grammar and punctuation. Especially when it comes to making sure there are no typos.
Taking the time to really review and clean up your resume is worth doing before you start a job search. A good habit is finding time once a year to update and fine-tune your listed skills and accomplishments. This keeps your resume relevant and ready for a new opportunity.
As a recruiter, I am guilty of resume scanning to identify keywords, skills, and relevant job histories. So here are a few ideas to make your resume stand out to people like me who are scanning them:
Keep the Design Clean and Sharp
- Say no to Photos and Graphics – They distract from your skills
- When submitting a resume online via a portal (such as Indeed), the formatting and visuals get lost and can impact the recruiter’s ability to see your skills
- Don’t use Tables/Columns – They create a distraction for the recruiters
- Use a readable font and avoid using multiple fonts; it makes the resume hard to follow
Delete the Resume Objective
- Make yourself stand out! “I am a hard working professional who wants to work in your industry” is old school. Highlight what you bring to the table rather than telling them how hard you work
Replace your Objective with your Skills – Make your Talent Stand Out
- The days of a “One Page” resume is behind us; sharing your career history and relevant skills makes you more marketable
- The skills section of your resume includes your abilities that are relevant. Recruiters want to see abilities and expertise that are applicable to the position you are applying for, such as computer skills, software skills, and/or language skills. Specialized or hard-to-find skills are especially important to make you stand out
- Make sure the skills section of your resume not only highlights the skills for the job you are applying for but also emphasizes how you utilized those skills under your previous positions
- The closer a match your skills are to the job requirements and how you previously used those skills, the better your chances are for being called for an interview
- I’m primarily a Technical Recruiter. And I recruit for Information Technology professionals. So if you are a Software Developer, state the programming languages, software, platforms and other Information Technology proficiencies you have
- In the Digital Age, most employers utilize automated applicant tracking systems and searchable sites such as LinkedIn, Monster, CareerBuilder and Dice to search for specific keywords that match the jobs they are looking to fill. The more skills you share, the more likely it is that your resume will be selected for consideration
Delete Personal Data
- Omit any reference to your birthdate, marital status or religion. It’s illegal for employers to consider this when looking at your resume
- If you’re more than a few years out of college, don’t include your graduation dates or GPA. You don’t want recruiters to inadvertently discriminate based on your age
- Move your degree to the end of the resume; your skills and most recent positions are more relevant to you getting noticed
- Grammatical and spelling errors can mean your application is more likely to be overlooked. It is critical for you to make sure your resume has no spelling or grammatical errors before you submit it to a recruiter or hiring manager
Following this advice will help get you noticed in your next job application! Remember, the old adage is true in the world of recruiting: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Happy Job Hunting!