I remember years ago hearing that hiring managers, on average, take approximately 6-10 seconds to review the resume of a job applicant. I’m sure this time varies based on numerous factors, but from my experience, when hiring managers and recruiters are reviewing a stack of resumes, generally it’s a quick glance in order to determine the candidates who are the best fit.
With this in mind, I have a few best practices I use when advising applicants.
I want to challenge you to think of your resume as your elevator pitch and not your presentation. It’s the appetizer, not the main course. The only time I would modify this is if you are in a face to face with a hiring manager and are handing them a resume. Your goal is to create a resume that is ASAP (as simple as possible), clear and it should make sense to the position for which you are applying. The goal is to enable a recruiter or hiring manager to quickly scan your resume and get a good feel for your experience and qualifications.
In preparing this article, I spoke with some seasoned recruiters and hiring managers and there were definite standouts with what they love and what they loathe. With those in mind, I wanted to pass along a few practical tips to help you build a stronger resume with the goal to get a face to face interview.
Ensure that each employer and position is clearly defined. Remember, your goal is to enable someone to quickly scan your resume and see your work history and qualifications.
Keeping fonts clean and simple. Varying font colors and fancy fonts are not the best idea. Recruiters and hiring managers should be able to scan your resume with ease.
Skills- List applications and tools you are proficient in. Don’t list application and tools for which you have low knowledge. And, if you have to list something for which you have basic knowledge, put that you have “basic knowledge, or beginner level experience” of that tool.
- No time for a selfie
Recruiters agree, skip the photograph. This could potentially put a recruiter and therefore a company, in a precarious situation as it could be viewed they made a decision about a candidate based on the photo. Unless you are applying for a position that requires a headshot, skip it.
- Try and keep it to one page, but don’t omit important info in order to do so
You listing your skills you are proficient in, as well as work history is more important that the need to keep it to one page. While I don’t recommend listing every project you have worked on, or accomplishment you have achieved, it is important that you list skills and talents that relate directly to the position for which you are applying. If the position requires knowledge of a particular application or tool, make sure you list it. Many companies use an Applicant Tracking System and most recruiters use advanced search to quickly filter qualified applicants, and you need those key words within your resume so you pop up when the search is done by the recruiter. This could make the difference.
- Objective – Do you know your objective?
As a recruiter, I have seen numerous resumes where the candidate has put an objective that doesn’t align with the position for which they are applying. If your objective says “To pursue a position in human resources” and you are applying to a tech position, this will be a stand out for recruiters and hiring managers as someone who is pursuing a position outside of what they ideally would like to pursue. This has likely happened because they did the summary when applying to another job and forgot to tweak that when sending out their resume for multiple positions. My advice, skip it all together.
My hope is that these tips help you fine tune your resume and get that job interview. I wish you the very best of luck in your pursuit of the position you desire.