Recruiters go through thousands of resumes on a regular basis. This means that unless your resume stands out, it might get moved to the slush pile. Key to getting the job you want is building a winning resume that helps you stand out from your competition. There are important components that you should include in your resume, to grab the attention of potential recruiters. But what are these components exactly?

The Importance Of A Winning Resume

A winning resume is ones that’s precise and specific. You should know, even before you start penning your resume, what you intend to put in it. Don’t add generic facts to your resume, but rather focus on your personal achievements. Your resume is essentially a marketing document that helps you showcase your best professional self.

Your resume should contain information on your experience, education, skills and achievements. Create separate sections for these and emphasize how your skills and experience makes you suitable for the role you’re applying to. A winning resume helps you to:

  • Get the attention of recruiters
  • Move to the top of the list of applicants
  • Get called for interviews

What Do Recruiters And Hiring Managers Look For?

If you want to get hired, then building a winning resume is necessary. Knowing what recruiters are looking for from resumes helps you ensure that you create a resume that recruiters will like. Instead of adding extra information or not being specific about your expertise, know what recruiters look for in the first place.

Here’s what recruiters look for in resumes:

  • Keywords related to the job you’re applying to
  • Personal achievements and examples of success
  • Whether you understand the role you’re applying to or not
  • Gaps in your work experience
  • Career developments and your career trajectory
  • Your contact information
  • How professionally you were able to present yourself

What Gets A Resume Read?

Your resume should be no longer than one page ideally, two at the most. Create separate sections for your contact information, a short summary and then the body of your resume.

Your resume must catch the interest of the reader in 20 seconds.  Recruiters should be able to glance at your resume and pick out essential information easily. Remember they won’t be poring through everyone’s resumes. This means that you’ll need to make an impact with your resume. Try to make your professional achievements stand out as this can induce recruiters to pay closer attention to your resume.

What Is The Structure Of A Winning Resume?

This is how you structure your resume:

1. Begin With Your Contact Information

At the top, you should provide your name and your contact information. If you have a LinkedIn profile or a website, add links to them in this section as well.

2.  Provide A Brief Professional Summary

Right after your contact information, provide a short introduction focusing on your key skills and experience.   Here, also add a value proposition for the recruiter. List out keywords that showcase your skills in bullet points. This can help the recruiter get essential information easily.

3.  Add Your Work Experience

Under your work experience, focus more on your achievements rather than responsibilities. List out what you have achieved in each position you’ve worked in. Talk about how each job you’ve had has helped you develop in your career and reach your professional goals.

4.  Educational Qualifications

The fourth section is where you list what educational qualifications you have. If you’ve done relevant career development courses, then add them here as well. Instead of adding specific years when you graduated, focus on your major areas of concentration instead.

5.  Adding References

You don’t usually need to add references to your resume. Instead, you can write “references available on request”. Recruiters generally expect interviewees to bring a list of their references to the interview. So adding it to your resume isn’t always necessary.

What Not To Do

Here are some red flags that might turn recruiters away from your resume:

  • Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors
  • Solid walls of text
  • Inaccuracies related to your experience or education
  • Providing too much personal information
  • Negative comments about past workplaces or employers
  • Too much focus on personal hobbies and interests
  • Adding photographs unless asked for
  • Details related to short term work roles

Avoid adding these to your resume and this will help your resume stand out.

In Summary

Crafting a winning resume isn’t all that difficult when you know exactly what to do. From what you should add to your resume to what you should avoid adding, this guide takes you through how to write a winning resume. Once you have a solid draft, be sure to have several knowledgeable friends proofread and critique your resume before finalizing.  If you are unsure or are having trouble putting it together, don’t be afraid to consider a professional.

Use the tips in this guide to start getting noticed by top recruiters.

The Resource Connection, Inc.

The Resource Connection, Inc. (TRC) is an award-winning staffing firm providing Direct Hire, Resume Writing and Career Counseling services. As a certified woman-owned business founded in 1987 TRC has earned a reputation for attracting and placing the best candidates for our client companies.  Our customers range from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses, in almost every industry, as well as state/local government, colleges and universities, and nonprofits.

TRC can help you with your resume.  We provide expert resume writing with a personal approach to help produce the best version of you.  Click Resume Writing to learn more about our services.