“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” –Benjamin Franklin
Everyone should have an updated resume when they are in the market for a new position, and making sure you have everything organized the right way can be a challenge. According to The Ladders, recruiters only take an average of six seconds to scan a resume to determine whether or not a candidate might be a fit for a particular organization. To maximize your chances of grabbing the recruiter’s attention in those six seconds, you’ve got to be sure that your resume is laid out in a clear and concise way. Here are a few tips straight from a recruiter that will help you organize your resume to draw attention and get you the interview.
1. Your Contact Information
This may seem obvious, but make sure you include all necessary information for someone to get in contact with you and, if appropriate, view your work portfolio or samples. Start with the basics and make sure your full name, phone number, and email address are up-to-date. You should also include URLs for your LinkedIn profile and your online work portfolio, your Twitter handle, and contact information for any other relevant social media platforms. You should present your contact information with your most-often used or preferred method first, and provide work samples and/or your portfolio information last.
2. Dates of Employment
When it comes to your work experience, you should always have your most recent experience employment listed first. For each position you’ve held, you need to include your job title and the dates you were employed, and following that you should include other relevant information such as your responsibilities within the positions and any achievements or recognitions you earned while there. Consistent formatting for each position is crucial for readability. Recruiters and hiring managers may be concerned if there are significant gaps in your work experience, but make sure to be open about them or it may seem like you have something to hide. That’s the last thing you want a potential employer thinking.
3. Skills at the Top & Education at the Bottom
It’s great to take pride in your alma mater, but it isn’t a good strategy to have that front and center on your resume unless you just graduated and have no work experience. After your first job out of school, your skills and experience take priority over education information on your resume. It doesn’t matter if you got straight A’s in school if you can’t demonstrate the relevant skill set and experience for a particular position. It’s a good idea to present your skills in a table or column format for readability: don’t make the hiring manager hunt for the important stuff! You can also place emphasis on certain skills or keywords by using a bold font. Be careful not to overdo this, though: a little goes a long way. Remember to list only the skills relevant to the job you are applying for and make sure those skills are supported throughout your resume.
4. Condensed but Still Specific
While resumes don’t need to be limited to one page anymore, it is still best to keep it short and sweet: two pages is ideal, or one page if you are still early on in your career. Give enough details about each role you’ve held to give a solid overview of your experience, and try not to condense it so much that you neglect to include important information about what you have done and achieved. Keep the basics in mind, too, and make sure your font is professional-looking and not smaller than a 10-point to 11-point size.
5. Make it Your Own
Keep the above points in mind when you compose your resume, but also take some license to make it stand out. For the positions with lots of qualified candidates, hiring managers may look through dozens of resumes at a time. You may want to put specific words or phrases in bold type, add a header, and perhaps use a small amount of color. If you work in a creative field, you have more freedom to add artistic elements and be less conventional. Finally, remember to include a well-written, personalized cover letter.
These tips can help your resume stand out from a stack of similar applicants and catch the eye of a recruiter or hiring manager in your chosen field. Are there any elements you’ve added to your resume that have been helpful in landing that dream job? If so, share with us in the comments below. We’d love to learn from you!
Is your resume well-organized and eye-catching? Great! Why not take it to the next level and make it specific? Check out our post on Five Resume Rules That Get You the Interview!
Mark Whitman is the founder and CEO of TeamBuilder Search, a dynamic recruiting firm that specializes in digital marketing, digital transformation, and emerging technology. He is an energetic and fearless adventurer who loves working with other innovative, entrepreneurial-minded professionals. He also happens to be a Sport Jujitsu national champion who literally broke his face in competing for the gold medal in the world championship. To discuss your toughest hiring challenges with Mark, contact him here.
Connect with Mark on LinkedIn.