In today’s market, a resume is useless unless it is written expressly for a specific job opportunity. Gone are the days of printing out multiple copies of one generic resume. From an employer’s perspective, anyone unwilling to invest time, effort and careful thought into their resume is probably also unwilling to make a sincere contribution to their company.
Numerous studies have shown that recruiters spend only about six seconds on their initial review of a candidate’s resume. One recent report broke this time down further, revealing that 80 percent of that brief time is spent looking at six key resume features:
- Your name.
- Your current title and company.
- Your previous title and company.
- Your current position, and its start date.
- Your previous position, and its start and end dates.
- Your education.
Align Your Resume with the Job
Follow these tips to ensure that your resume makes it past the key window of time that a reviewer – or computerized applicant tracking system – spends scanning it:
- Scour the job description for keywords. This is where reviewers spend the remaining 20 percent of their six seconds: Looking for keywords that match the open position. Even the most qualified candidates will be overlooked unless these words are prominently placed within their resumes. Carefully review the job description and any other content provided by the employer. Find keywords that parallel your skills and qualifications and incorporate them into both your resume and your cover letter.
- Zero in on the most powerful content. Use only relevant information. Make it as compelling as possible. Select five to ten highlights from your professional record, which make you stand out from the competition. Position them near the top of your resume. Lead with your strengths.
- Quantify wherever and whenever you can. Be specific as you describe your accomplishments. For instance, instead of stating that you “succeeded in growing sales,” say that you “increased territory sales by 55 percent in a 12-month period.”
- Use action words. These include robust verbs such as “collaborated, designed, initiated” and “mentored.” When describing yourself, avoid tired clichés like “results-oriented, hands-on” and the granddaddy of them all: “people person.”
A professional recruiter can be a valuable resource as you fine-tune your resume and tailor your entire search process toward landing the job that’s right for you. To learn more, read our related posts or contact the team at Select Group, Inc. today.