Have you triple-checked your resume? On average, job postings will receive 250 resumes. Of those, just four to six candidates will get an interview. Your resume might be the first and last chance to get you through to the next round – but 40% of hiring managers spend less than a minute reviewing a resume. So, how can you stand out?
Make sure your first impression sticks, especially when you have only a few seconds to catch their attention. While these stats might scare you, don’t spend hours trying to change your format or worrying about the font size. Let’s dive deeper into the most important tips to make your resume stand out for the right reasons!
6 Important Tips to Sharpen Your Resume
Here are 6 strategic tips to guide you as you work on your resume for future job postings.
1. Choose your format wisely
Picking lots of colors and unusual fonts will help you stand out, but not necessarily in a good way. Your resume should be easy to scan with the right keywords and format that will get you into the next round. Recruiters are only spending a few seconds on each resume. If all the important information stands out immediately, your resume is much more likely to get a second glance.
If you want the recruiter to focus on job titles you’ve held or the companies you’ve worked for, make sure this information is emphasized through bigger or bolder text. You can also choose to emphasize prestigious schools you’ve attended or postgraduate degrees you have earned with any involvement in relevant groups and associations.
Pro tip – After you have formatted your resume, have a friend or colleague take a look and provide feedback. Were they able to easily scan through the document? What elements stood out at first glance?
2. Customize each resume using keywords
Nowadays, many companies use software to scan resumes for keywords. This means that your resume might be eliminated before it even makes it into a recruiter’s hands, solely because it didn’t contain any of the keywords they were looking for. It’s important to customize each resume you submit pertaining to each role. This will further show that you are a right fit for the position because you have the skills and experience they are looking for in a candidate.
Pro tip – You can often find desired keywords in the job posting, or by studying the LinkedIn profiles of professionals who currently hold similar positions.
3. Focus on soft skills
Employers are increasingly looking for candidates with soft skills that go beyond technical skills. In fact, according to LinkedIn, 91% of organizations want more soft skills. Communication, leadership, adaptability and problem solving are some of the top skills managers are looking for in their team members.
Pro tip – It’s important to showcase these skills in your resume but avoid listing them. Instead, talk about how you used these skills in your recent projects. Include these skills when you highlight your achievements to showcase how these skills helped you achieve success.
4. Eliminate unnecessary information
Do not include a picture, personal statement, or resume summary. The company will usually ask for supplemental information separately. Additionally, avoid listing foreign languages if you’re not proficient, or basic computer skills that most applicants will know. For example, if you have worked at an office, a recruiter will assume you know how to use Microsoft Word.
When it comes to highlighting your education, don’t list your high school diploma if you have a college degree. Don’t feel like you have to include every single job you’ve ever worked, either. Rather, choose only relevant experience. No matter how proud you are of that acting gig, your time as a receptionist is more likely to land you the office job you applied for.
Pro tip – When you eliminate unnecessary information, you free up valuable real estate on the page.
5. Follow the numeric accomplishment recipe for better bullet points
Most people approach resumes by listing their responsibilities. However, people like to see results. Therefore, to truly create an eye-catching resume, we recommend having each bullet represent an accomplishment (including quantitative data whenever possible).
Pro tip – We recommend using the following formula to list accomplishments under each job: Action Verb + Number + Result
Your final result should look something like this:
Content Writer at Roth Staffing Companies Jan 2018 – Present
- Wrote and published over 100 articles, with some posts reaching over 5K shares on Facebook and LinkedIn
- Onboarded and trained three new hires in SEO, leading to 25% more website views and a higher search engine ranking
6. Proofread, proofread, proofread!
This one’s important. 77% of hiring managers immediately disqualify resumes because of grammatical mistakes or typos (yikes!) It’s definitely worth taking the time to carefully review your work. After you have carefully read through the document several times, ask someone else to help you proofread. You can ask a friend, a parent, or a coworker. Just make sure they are well-versed in grammar and spelling rules.
Pro tip – Print out your resume and read through it. (It could also be a good idea to read it out loud.) Sometimes, errors are easier to catch in print than on the screen.
Ready to submit? There are two more tasks for you to tackle before you hit “submit”: the cover letter and your LinkedIn profile. Don’t worry, we’ll have all the scoop on that too to help you build a stellar profile. Good luck!
Our specialized recruiters are here to support your unique staffing and recruiting needs. Contact us today.