Writing or updating a resume is something most people don’t really look forward to. How do you know if your resume stands out from all the other candidates? Your resume is the first impression you have on an employer so it’s really important you make a good one. Many neglect to put in the time and effort to write an effective resume and then wonder why they’re not getting any callbacks. Here are some tips to help get your resume noticed.
Tip # 1 - Tailoring Your Resume
Sending out the same resume to every opening is not going to get you great results. Your resume should be tailored for each position you apply to. Check the description and see which relevant keywords you can add to your resume. You should also ensure all the required qualifications are present on your resume. You don’t have to completely rewrite your resume every time, but you should be swapping keywords and information in and out where you see fit.
Tip # 2 - Send a Cover Letter
Another common mistake job seekers make is not sending a cover letter. There is a ton of contradicting information on whether or not cover letters are important or even read. Whether or not it’s important or read by the employer you’re targeting is hard to know. A cover letter will also never hurt your chances unless it’s written poorly. You should be sending one for every position unless they specifically ask you not to.
A cover letter is a great way to add a human touch and personality to the plain old boring resume. Make sure that your cover letter is well written and that it’s also tailored for every position. Make an effort to find the name of the hiring manager which you can address it to. You should also mention the company name in your cover letter. “I’m excited for the opportunity to bring my skills and experience to [Company Name]”.
Tip # 3 - Make it Short
Studies have shown that recruiters spend an average of only 6 seconds reviewing a resume. Make sure your resume is short, concise and relevant. Many job seekers make the mistake of writing a cluttered and long resume filled with irrlevant information.
Although there is no rule set in stone, if you just graduated or have less than 10 years of work experience, keep your resume to one page. Those with over 10 years of experience should keep their resume to a maximum of two pages. There are certain scientific and academic fields where a longer resume is required to show publications or research.
Tip # 4 - ATS Friendly
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are used by most employers to screen resumes. ATS software is designed to scan your resume and pull relevant information to determine if you’re a good fit for the job. Many resumes are deleted by the ATS because they're not optimized. Make sure you use a standard format, font and include relevant keywords in your resume. This will get your resume past the ATS and ensure that it knows you’re a match for the job. You can read this guide to ensure your resume gets past an ATS.
Tip # 5 - Use Numbers
The best way to catch the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager is to quantify wherever possible on your resume. Why? Numbers stand out with all that text on your resume. It also makes your experience look more like achivements. “Increased cash flow by 24% in a 6 - month period” sounds a lot better than “Increased cash flow”.
Some people will say, “I can’t really quantify in my profession”. That’s just not true, you can find a way to quantify your experience for any position. If you’re a nurse, say how many patients you handled on a daily basis. A teacher can say the amount of children taught and so on. Find ways to quantify your experience wherever possible.
There you have it! Keep these tips in mind when writing your resume and your resume will get noticed. Don’t neglect the importance of writing a solid resume as it’s your first impression on an employer. Good luck with your job search!