By Kari Moore
In most big corporations, recruiters support multiple openings, each requiring a unique skillset, and with an influx of applicants for each position we support, it’s refreshing to come across a well-presented, professional resume.
On average, recruiters spend about six seconds reviewing a resume before making a decision to: a) continue reading b) maybe/save for later c) throw in the trash. Which is why it’s important to format your resume in a way that allows recruiters and hiring managers to easily scan and identify your qualifications as they pertain to open positions. Let’s review some tips that will help you put a smile on the faces of your prospective recruiters and hiring managers.
- Length – Keep it brief and concise.
The ideal length of the resume will depend on your experience. However, a general rule of thumb is 1-2 pages. A new graduate or early professional should never have a resume longer than a page. As you gain experience, it’s acceptable to have 2 pages. Your technical skills will grow and it’s okay to showcase them, but don’t provide a detailed list of every employment engagement you’ve had over the last 20 years. Remember, you have six seconds to capture the recruiter’s attention
- General Formatting – Keep it crisp and clean.
The easier your resume is on the eyes, the more it will be read in those crucial seconds. Don’t use multiple fonts, or fancy fonts, and ensure you have whitespaces. Review your resume, and ask a friend to review it after. Hiring managers can be particularly quick to trash a resume that has even just one typo.
- Education should be minimized as you advance in your career.
As you gain professional experience, this section gets smaller and should shift to the bottom of your resume. Your college activities and awards should only be listed if you think it will help you land the job. As new collar jobs emerge, interested applicants with relevant skills obtained through vocational training should highlight their training in this section as well.
- Ditch the “Objective” Statement.
Instead, use this space to better showcase your qualifications. This is especially important for new graduates. Employers are investing in you and don’t necessarily want to know how this position will benefit your career goals. When formatting your resume, answer these questions, “What can you do for us?” “How will you help us meet our organization’s goals?” If you’re transitioning your career, you can include a quick, 2-3 sentence summary of your skills and experience to showcase the value you could offer. What do you bring to the table?
- List your Technical skills.
A technical skills section can be especially beneficial to recruiters. Not all of us are technical gurus, so including a list of tools and technologies, software, testing tools, and/or technical languages you’ve mastered will ensure your resume is given a harder look. This section should not take up any more than a few inches of space on your resume – highlight skills your average applicant may not have (In case you missed it, “Microsoft Office Suite” or “computer skills” are no longer out of the norm J). This portion of your resume shows you have the experience recruiters are seeking and also makes it easier for us to find you in keyword searches.
- Use Action Verbs and Keywords to explain your experience.
Don’t type full sentences to explain your responsibilities or accomplishments in each role, rather include bulleted lines of text and begin every bullet with an action verb/keyword. This is your time to shine! Get creative with your action verbs and brag about yourself. Explain to us that you “developed,” “integrated,” or “orchestrated” rather than “assisted with” or “took part in.” Be careful not to overstate what you’ve actually done though as you’ll surely be busted in an interview. Similar to technical skills, the use of action verbs or keywords will make it easier for us to find you in search engines – bonus points if you happen to have the same keywords as those we used in our job description.
- Include Quantifiable Results
We are in the age of data and analytics. Show us the metrics that prove how you “increased company profits.” Tell us if you generated additional hits or revenue – better yet, put them in numeric form so these accomplishments stand out.
- Highlight Accomplishments over Duties
Emphasize those accomplishments that are tangible. If you’re applying for a non-technical role, showcase the accomplishments you may include in a portfolio then elaborate on these during an interview. While it’s okay to list some of the generic duties you held in a position, we really want you to show us what you’re proud of.
Do you have other tips on how to get your resume noticed by recruiters? What has been effective for you? Share it with our readers on the comments section below!
Kari Moore joined IBM while completing a M.S. in Human Resources Development and has been recruiting for 3.5 years. She began her career with IBM Kenexa and now works as a Recruitment Partner for IBM’s Global Technology Services business unit. She supports experienced professional, sales hiring. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Follow her @Kari_Recruit
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