Writing a great resume is a skill and an art that needs to be practiced and mastered to get the desired job. Even the most qualified candidates can end up losing out on jobs because of critical problems with their resumes. This means recruiters can’t quickly see their potential fit for the job’s requirements.
Why a Great Resume is Important
On average, a corporate job posting attracts more than 250 applications, but only 2% of these are ever called for interviews. According to the President of Job Market Experts, Robert Meier, 98% of applications are eliminated during the initial screening stage of resumes.
Hiring managers are under pressure to hire the right people within a short span of time. And given the plethora of applications to go through for every job, they may not be in a position to read through the entire resume. In fact, you may have only 5 to 20 seconds to catch a recruiter’s attention with your resume.
Goals of a Great Resume
- Get the job you want!
- Stand out in the crowd
- Quickly, clearly and accurately communicate
- Who you are, and
- Your Experience, Skills and Performance as they relate to this job
Make Your Resume Great
Be targeted: Recruiters are looking for candidates that meet the specific qualifications of the job they are trying to fill. Whenever practical, tailor your resume to the specific job. It is helpful to review relevant job descriptions to incorporate key words based on your background and the job requirements.
Make it online compatible: A 2015 Pew Research center survey, called Searching for Work in the Digital Era, showed that 54% of U.S. adults were looking for job information online, and 45% had applied for a job online. Other research indicates that with online applications, as many as 75% of resumes are weeded out before they are seen by human eyes. Be sure your resume is upload friendly.
Pay attention to formatting: To catch a recruiter’s attention in a limited span, make your resume as visually clear, concise, professional and readable as possible. Remove clutter and unnecessary words. One page is generally best. If you’ve had a longer career or are applying for a higher level position no more than 2 pages is recommended. Use a readable font (such as Arial, Helvetica or similar). Font size should be 10.5 to 12 points.
Use an appropriate style: Whether you use a Chronological or Functional style, or a Combination may depend on your background and/or the type position. Today, a Combination style is often used to increase discoverability in resume database searches and to visually better to pick out relevant skills and experience.
Key elements in the resume are:
- Name and Contact Information
- Objective or Summary
- An Objective is becoming less common
- A brief Performance Summary can quickly and effective communicate the experience and expertise you have relative to the stated needs of the postion.
- Skills Section
- Highlight key skills you have that are relevant to the job
- Experience Section
- Positions and accomplishments
- Focus on action and results, as well as skills
Use action verbs and keywords as well as metrics for results. Provide references separately upon request. Don’t include personal or negative information!
Include a professional email address. Sources indicate that 76% of resumes with unprofessional email addresses are rejected. Keep it simple, professional and appropriate.
Be flawless: Spell check, proofread and have someone else proofread your resume and cover letter. Be careful with grammar but you don’t need full sentences.
Be truthful: Above all, do not lie! More than 58% of recruiters say they were able to detect a lie on a resume. You want to present yourself in the best light, but do not lie about your experience, credentials, or work achievements. It’s wrong and this information can easily be checked by recruiters.
Evaluate effectiveness: Revisit your resume from time to time. Is it working? Are you getting interviews? Get feedback from friends and other professionals. Check out other resumes.
Put it all together for a great resume and get the job you want!