In many instances, job applicants only have their resumes to use to get an employer’s attention. It’s not as easy as it sounds since companies can get as many as 428 resumes per position. Aside from competing with other job seekers, you also must compete with time. Companies don’t have as much time to scan every application, so not only should you stand out but also stand out quickly.
Career site Ladders found from its study that you have only got around 7.4 seconds to make a great impression. This isn’t a lot of time.
What can you do?
Characteristics of a good resume
Top-performing resumes share similar characteristics:
- clear font, simple layout and clearly marked title headers and section
- layouts that support E-pattern and F-pattern reading tendencies
- bold job titles
- bulleted list of accomplishments
- detailed mission statement or overview found at the top
If you don’t format your resume properly, recruiters may prioritise other applications over yours . Too many job candidates have lost out on opportunities just because they can’t make a great first impression. Avoid this with these tips.
Resume writing tips
Get the basics right:
- put extra effort in the design – people usually think that “resume” means only a simple recount of your past job experiences. It is true, but a standout resume requires more effort. Make sure you invest in the design. Put in complementary fonts, a headshot that will personalise the document and icons to draw the eyes to the most important information.
- keywords matter – it’s now a keywords game given the number of hiring software algorithms that companies employ. Inject relevant keywords to become more visible.
- take out the ‘fluff’ – don’t annoy hiring managers and personnel with random industry jargons, run-on sentences and unnecessary big words.
- keep to one page – it’s tempting to pass a long resume, but recruiters just don’t have enough time. Make it scannable to one page.
Tailoring it for a specific job:
- Start your resume with an objective statement or professional summary of your experience – the summary section is your first chance at getting the attention of the recruiter. Don’t forget to hint your compatibility to the company’s culture.
- Only pick career accomplishments and highlights relevant to the position – don’t use the same bulleted accomplishments on all applications.
Wendi Weiner, Resume Writer and Career Transition Coach advises: “If you are applying for a sales representative role [at one company], you will need to focus on revenue growth, sales results and business development”.
- Order of work history – this doesn’t apply to everyone but for some roles, order or work history matters. For example, if you’re applying for a marketing role then highlight the most relevant positions you had.
The job market continues to be competitive and applicants who find a way to differentiate themselves can access the best opportunities.