It’s no secret that your resume is one of the first things a recruiter will see when you apply for a job, and likely one of the main tools they’ll use during your interview to start the conversation. Because of this, it’s incredibly important to ensure your resume is in tip-top shape, both in appearance and the information included.
If you’re looking to stand out from the competition, here are some resume tips for job seekers that we highly recommend you consider.
Most job seekers already know that there are plenty of reasons why having a good resume is important. However, if it’s been a while since you’ve updated your resume, it may be overwhelming, and you may not know exactly where to start.
Many times, your resume won’t necessarily give a full picture of who you are, but rather just the basics. Still, your resume is also the first chance you have to show a potential employer your qualifications as a candidate, so you’ll want to take full advantage of the opportunity. A strong resume will help you stand out from a pool of applicants, while a weak resume can cause you to slip through the cracks and even remove you from the running.
Presenting yourself in a professional manner can give you a leg up in the hiring process and increase your chances of landing an interview. Future employers will use your resume to learn more about you and see if you’d be a good fit for the position, so it’s always best practice to make sure you have a decent resume.
Each time you apply for a new position, you’ll want to tailor your resume to that job. While this may be time-consuming and seem like a hassle, especially when applying to multiple positions, it’s incredibly beneficial for you as a candidate.
It’s important to include relevant keywords from the job posting in your resume. Many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan resumes and narrow down the initial candidate pool. Without relevant keywords, your resume may not be selected—and may never even be viewed by a human hiring manager—because it doesn’t “fit” the job’s criteria.
Study every job description and use keywords relevant to your experience and skill set. Pay close attention to words included under the “Requirements” and “Qualifications” sections on the job posting, and incorporate these into your resume as skills or accomplishments. This will increase your chances of your resume being selected by the ATS and given over to an actual recruiter.
Your resume should be simple and straightforward. Employers don’t have much time to dive deep into each resume they receive, so it’s important to consider readability and how easily they can review the details. A busy resume will draw attention away from your relevant skills and qualifications. Instead, keep your resume focused and concise, and only highlight what is relevant to the job you’re applying for.
As a general rule, your resume shouldn’t be longer than a page. There are exceptions to this rule, like if you’ve had an extensive career path or have a lot of highly applicable work experience you want to include. Otherwise, it’s best to keep it short.
Include only the most relevant experience from your work history, since including work experience that’s unrelated or irrelevant only takes up more space on your resume. In addition, you’ll want to include the industry of each position. This gives the recruiter a broader picture than just the place of employment, which they may not have knowledge of.
Instead of considering your resume as a list of your career history, try to sell it as a document where you’re marketing yourself as the perfect candidate for the position. This will help recruiters to easily see if and how you would fit into the role.
Including active language and action verbs in your resume can help to communicate ideas more concisely and effectively. Use power words like “earned,” “achieved,” or “accomplished” to sell yourself to the recruiter, especially when talking about your experience, qualifications, and accomplishments. If your resume is too long or hard to read, consider shortening ideas and using active language to make it more concise.
There’s no better way to show your achievements than by providing hard facts and data. Quantifying your success with numbers and other data points is a great way to show off your work experience because it gives your potential employer a measurable proven value. With numbers, recruiters and hiring managers have a better understanding of what value you can bring to the job.
If you’re struggling to think of ways to use figures and numbers to showcase your accomplishments on your resume, consider common facts such as what percentage you exceeded goals in a previous position or how many people you’ve impacted, or even managed, along the way.
Candidates with long work experience histories may struggle to narrow down what skills are relevant enough to include on their resume. When deciding what skills and experience you want to showcase, it’s best to choose the ones that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for.
While your high school fast-food chain job may have taught you important lessons, the skills you learned there are likely not relevant for the career change you’re currently seeking. With this in mind, it’s best to keep your experiences, accomplishments, and skills relevant to the industry and requirements of the position.
It’s also important to show your experience by including smaller details on your resume, such as your dates of employment at each of your previous positions. Some candidates make the mistake of only including what years they worked at which jobs, but including the months in these time frames can help paint a clearer picture of your work history.
It’s also a good idea to add a link to any social media platforms—especially to your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn has more space for you to go into detail about your skills and experience, and recruiters will often visit your profile to get a larger picture of who you are and why you may qualify for the position.
Nowadays, most candidates must enter their contact information when applying for a job through platforms like LinkedIn and Indeed, so they may not think it’s necessary to include it on their resume. This is actually far from the truth; in fact, it’s very important to include your contact information on your resume so the hiring manager can easily get ahold of you.
Without contact information, the recruiter may pass over your resume. Even if they think your skills and experience level meet the qualification expectations of the job, they’re not going to run around in circles trying to get a hold of you. To avoid this, make sure to include your contact info on your resume before applying for a position.
Resumes are meant to look and feel professional, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t add a little personality. If your resume is the one thing you get to show off to a recruiter and demonstrate who you are, you’ll want to take advantage of the opportunity and sell your personality too.
Are you a team player? Do you work well with other people? Are you personable? While you don’t have to go into too much detail about these things, it’s good to include specific personality traits as skills that benefit the workplace.
Your personality can also be shown through the resume’s design. You’ll have to balance keeping your resume looking fresh and providing insights into who you are as a person. Recruiters will be most concerned with your work experience, but throwing in a few personality traits may help them to see the type of person you are outside of work and whether your personality would fit into the company’s culture.
After writing up your resume, you’ll want to proofread the document, and then proofread again. Check for errors before submitting to any job postings. If your resume contains an error—whether spelling, grammar, poor sentence structure, or something else—your recruiter may send it back to you for a rewrite before forwarding it to the employer. This can become incredibly time-consuming.
Additionally, if you don’t check for errors and there ends up being a mistake, the hiring manager may not be very impressed and instead may skip over your resume altogether.
If you’re looking for your next position, but you’re not sure where to start, Spencer Reed Group is here to help. We can even provide additional tips for writing a resume. Contact us today at 913-663-4400.