7.4 seconds. That’s the average amount of time a recruiter looks at your resume. If you want to have a chance of moving along in the hiring process, it’s crucial to make your resume the best it can be at first glance.
If you’re on the hunt for a new job or are looking for ways to improve your resume, we have seven tips that will help make your resume better right now.
Keep it Short
Resumes are ideally one page. There’s no reason for them to be any longer. It’s all about the quality of content over quantity. Include bullet points that highlight your accomplishments and grab the attention of the recruiter and hiring manager. Your resume serves as a marketing tool to get you the interview, and then once you’re on the phone or in person, you can elaborate on why you’re a great fit for the role.
For many organizations, the first step in the hiring process isn’t the recruiter, it’s the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). An ATS is a software used by recruiters that scans your resume to see if you’d be a good fit for a job based on the keywords you use throughout your resume. To make sure your resume gets past the ATS and into a recruiter’s hands, pay special attention to the job posting and utilize the keywords within the description that apply to your professional experience. This gives you the best odds of moving forward.
Showcase Your Skills
Highlighting your skills goes hand in hand with utilizing keywords. When calling out the specific skills you have that make you qualified for the job, use the key skills referenced in the job description. If you have qualifications from previous employers that are not needed for the new position or aren’t applicable to the job you’re applying to, leave them out. Use the valuable real estate on your resume for skills that directly relate to the requirements of the role.
Highlight Your Accomplishments, Not Responsibilities
It’s easy on a resume to list what job responsibilities you’ve had, but it’s more important to list what you’ve accomplished. For example, if you implemented a new marketing tool, describing this duty may sound like, “Implemented a new marketing platform.” Whereas highlighting this accomplishment would look like, “Implemented a new marketing platform that saved the company $25,000 annually and increased team efficiency by 10%.” Showing growth and savings will highlight how you added value to your previous company.
On this note, quantify your accomplishments whenever possible. If you’re a manager, mention the size of the team you manage. Other ideas include noting if you increased sales or productivity, saved the company money, or substantially grew a KPI.
Remove Irrelevant Details
Just because you had an internship in college, doesn’t mean you need to include it on your resume. This is especially true if you’ve been in the working world for a few years. You likely have more relevant experience that you can focus on. This also goes for jobs in entirely different fields or industries than the one you’re applying for. You can list the job title, company, location, and the dates you worked there, but no need to dive into the specifics because they’re likely irrelevant. That being said, if the previous job is irrelevant but you gained very relevant skills from the position, definitely include those. Always tie the related experience you have to the job you’re applying for.
Check for Spelling and Grammatical Errors
This seems obvious because it is. The quickest way to get your resume passed on is by having typos and grammatical errors. These can easily be avoided by utilizing spell check or a grammar software, like Grammarly. Better yet, have a friend or partner look over your resume. Chances are your eyes are going cross-eyed from editing your resume in detail and you’ll glance over a mistake. A second set of eyes will help catch anything you may miss.
Save It as a PDF
This simple tip will guarantee your resume looks professional every time a recruiter opens it. When you save and send your resume in a word document, the formatting can get thrown off if the person opening it has a different version of the software. Sending your resume in PDF ensures it will always look great and the way you intended it. Bonus tip, make it easy to identify by naming the file your first and last name and resume (i.e. FirstName_LastName_Resume).
Need help? Sign-up for our resume transformation course. This resume transformation course will help you take your resume to the next level. It’s especially useful for those looking for their next promotion from individual contributor to manager or manager to executive. Learn more about the e-course here.