Having a well-crafted resume is the first step to getting into your dream company. We’ve all heard the age-old statement that all it takes is a good set of skills to stand out. Unfortunately, that is not really true. Recruiters only spend about 7 seconds on your resume before they make a decision.
To put it into perspective, the amount of time it takes an average person to read the first three lines is 17 seconds. If reading three lines out loud takes 17 seconds, imagine the number of lines that recruiters must-read, and in 7 seconds, nonetheless. So how do you make your resume stand out within those 7 seconds? Most people know how to put in decent work history. However, here are some tips that can help you stand up to the 7-second test.
Use Your Performance Reviews
Most people don’t think of including the annual appraisals on their resume. If you’ve got a glowing review, you should include that on your resume. Performance reviews, especially the glowing ones, are given for achieving targets and goals.
So, including those reviews on your resume shows that you’re committed to exceeding targets. Highlighting your noteworthy accomplishments or the specific feedback you received on a particular project shows the dedication you bring to the team. It also helps in eliminating the ‘fluff’ on your resume
Don’t Stuff Keywords
Most companies today use Application Tracking Systems for identifying resumes that fit their criteria. Traditionally, these ATS use a static method of identifying the number of keywords and forwarding only those resumes. This meant that only the bad ones got forwarded.
However, they have come a long way too. Now, most of them look for context behind the keywords. This is important because it ensures that you don’t stuff your resume with keywords. Recruiters can typically spot the keyword stuffing from miles away. So, use them sparingly.
Quantify; Don’t State Abstractions
When you’re writing your resume, there are some strict no-nos in terms of the word you use. One might argue that it is the experience that matters more than the words on a resume. While that is true to some extent, using the right words in the right places shows that the candidate has had relevant experience in the field he is talking about.
So, when you’re writing your resume, don’t use words like ‘Excellent Sales Manager.’ Substantiate that. Talk about how you’ve come to that conclusion. ‘Exceeded the sales target by 150% and expanded sales channels into new zones’ sounds like you’ve accomplished more than saying you’re an excellent sales manager.
Put the Right Words In
Always remember that you can’t send a blanket resume for every job interview. Each job has unique requirements, and your resume should be tailored according to that. When you’re writing that resume, you need to highlight those aspects of your career that are most relevant to that job. That does not mean that you use all the skills that the job description requires.
There is a different way to do this. You could identify the people in managerial positions working there or in the competitor’s firms on LinkedIn. Scroll down to the skills and endorsements section. Those will tell you a lot about what the company requires in the long run. So, while those JD keywords are needed to pass through ATS, the skills that will get you hired are those that the management has
Remove Everything That Has No Value There
When you include your contact information, there is no need to include your address. If you’re applying to a job in the same city, it makes sense to add the address column because the employer can gauge how quickly you can join.
However, if you’re applying for a job that’s in a different city, putting your address on there might actually work against you because employers are generally hesitant in hiring employees from out of town because it would involve relocation fees. The second thing is your objective. If your career has a pretty straightforward trajectory, without any major gaps, there is no need to include an objective. It is pretty self-explanatory. So why waste valuable space?
Eliminate the Fluff
When you’re applying for the job, use common email etiquette. Don’t give your work email or an email address you’ve created when you were young and were a fan of anime. Things like email@example.com are all inappropriate. Use a simple email address based on your name.
In the same way, on a resume, there is no need to mention hobbies. Recruiters don’t have time to appreciate your personal life. Only include them if they can add value to your candidature. For example, running a marathon shows commitment and discipline. Writing content in a blog that has a certain number of views shows perseverance and marketing skills. If the job doesn’t require it and if your candidature with that job doesn’t require it, remove it.
Quality Over Quantity
Most people assume that you must include everything you’ve done on the resume. Some people have the common sense not to include their accomplishments from their school and instead include accomplishments from their college.
The truth is ancient work history, old internships, certifications at fairs, or the reasons for leaving don’t matter as much as the skills you got from those work experiences. It is okay even if you talk about one skill in detail if you think it is better for your candidature than stuffing all of them together in one section. What is even more important is identifying which is a skill, and what is a personality trait. Software development is a skill; team player is a trait. Before you put in the section, ask yourself if it belongs there.
Avoid Generic Descriptors
Terms like hardworking, strong work ethic, team player, go-getter, and leadership skills are all extremely generic. Interviewers don’t want to hear you say them. They want you to show how you’ve put that into action. Instead of those generic terms, talk about how you used your work during a situation that caused a professional dilemma.
Mention how you exercised leadership skills at work instead of stating that you’re a proven leader. Always remember, white space is the king. Employers don’t want to see all your information crammed up. The more white space there is on your resume, the easier it becomes to read for them. That is why it is important to plan what to put on your resume strategically. As a thumb rule, your margins should not go lower than 0.5” and your font below 11.(1)
They say you never get a second chance at making a first impression. They are not wrong. The moment an impression gets made, it is almost impossible to unmake it. Your resume gives the employer a glimpse into your personality. The general rule when preparing your resume is that it should make the recruiter understand you if he reads it just before the interview – which is what most of them do anyway. Make sure that the glimpse is a beautiful one, and you’re one step in for getting that dream job.