If you've been applying for jobs and not getting any callbacks, it might be time to take a closer look at your resume. Chances are, it's in need of a refresh.
In this blog post, we will give you 12 tips to help get your resume noticed by potential employers. With the right mix of the latest trends and tried-and-true best practices, follow along and watch your job prospects soar!
Tailor-made, just for you
Even though a variety of job roles could be in the same industry, there are various skills, experiences and expertise that individual employers are seeking. Having these included in your resume will single you out from the tons of other job applications that the company is already receiving.
So how do you cater to all this, whilst keeping your resume concise? The answer is cross-comparison!
Checking the job description for the relevant skills and experience will detail to you what the employer is looking for. This isn’t to say you should be dishonest with the skills you possess as all of those components will be tried and tested by the employer.
Employers often use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) as a first line of filtering through resumes. These tracking systems screen resumes based on the following criteria: education, experience, skills and relevant job titles.
Using the keywords that cater to that criteria will help you get past the ATS so that a hiring manager can see your resume with their own eyes. Resumes that do not have appropriate keywords will likely be skipped over, making it of utmost importance that you conduct thorough research of the job description, in order to assess which keywords should be included in your resume.
Resumes with quality content are highly favored by an ATS as it can read through the resumes quicker!
Formatting for readability
When a recruiter is looking through resumes, they are likely going to be spending no more than 30 seconds on each one. With this in mind, it's important that your resume can be scanned and understood within that time frame.
A way to make this happen is by using headings and subheadings, as well as bullet points. For instance, when describing your past roles and responsibilities, you could use the following formats:
- Heading: Job Title, Company Name
- Subheading: Years of employment (Year - Year)
- Bullet points listing responsibilities and achievements.
While the job role you are seeking may require a resume that is more than one page long, it’s best to keep resumes as short as possible. Resumes that exceed two pages are likely to be skimmed over and not given the attention they deserve.
Having to update your resume from a year ago, once you have gained more skills and experience, can be a lengthy process. Due to this, we'd recommend that you update your resume as soon as you gain those particular skills or experiences. That way, it won't be such a daunting task when the time comes to updating it for a job application.
As well as this, it is crucial that you check both your contact information and references are up-to-date and viable. Your resume could be discredited if the references aren't usable and, if it wasn't discredited, how would the employer be able to contact you if the email/phone number you've provided isn't functioning?
Find Your Tone
The tone, language and style of your resume should reflect that of the company you are applying for.
If you are applying for a role that is senior or manager-level, your resume should reflect this maturity and showcase the professional skills that you have. Resumes that do not reflect the tone of the job description will likely be overlooked by hiring managers as it would be an automatic indicator of a mismatch between candidate and job role.
Eliminate what you don't need
As mentioned previously, your resume should be as concise as possible which means: cutting out what doesn't promote you to the employer.
Avoid listing hobbies and interests unless they relate to the job role or demonstrate your skills and capabilities. Resumes that are too generic are boring and likely to end up at the bottom of the pile.
You should also remove any irrelevant experience, outdated information and skills that are not applicable to the job role in question. Resumes that include irrelevant information will likely be seen as cluttered by hiring managers.
Including irrelevant items will only draw the hiring managers’ attention away from what they should be looking at - your skills, experience and qualifications that cater to the job role - and, instead, makes them question if you have read through the job description at all.
A Resume Objective should be no longer than four sentences long while a Resume Summary can be up to six sentences long.
Including a Resume Objective or Resume Summary at the top of your resume is a good way to highlight what you can bring to the job role. It showcases to the hiring manager how the skills and experience you have aligns as described in the job description.
This is a good way to show the employer that you have read and researched the job role and is especially important as it highlights how your skills and personality can be an asset to their organization.
Stick To The Facts
Being honest in your resume is important because, if you did commit false representation, you would eventually be found out, creating a bad image of yourself and essentially 'shooting yourself in the foot.' Remember, you are not the only one who wants the job you're applying for - this makes you expendable.
It's best practice to only include facts in your resume that you can support. Stick to what can be proven and avoid any exaggerations or opinions.
Use Action Words
"I got my previous employer 20+ new clients in the last month" sounds okay, however, "I gained over 20 new clients for my previous employer" sounds so much better and grabs the attention of the reader.
Using action words like this leaves the reader with a lasting impression of your ability to bring new business opportunities to their organization. It also allows you to take control of the narrative, telling the employer what you did rather than what they should be assuming. Resumes that use more active wording appeal more to hiring managers, especially when it comes down to how you can benefit their company.
Including Quantifiable Objectives
Which sounds better? "I maximized profits and reduced costs" or "I maximized profits by 10% and reduced costs by 5%."
The latter sounds more quantifiable and impressive. Summaries that can be measured or shown through statistics are always a good way to go as this leaves less room for interpretation on the behalf of the hiring manager and improves your credibility. It also showcases your ability to handle data and numbers, an important skill in many business-related job roles.
Showcase Your Accomplishments
Including a section of your resume that showcases your accomplishments is an excellent way to show the employer what you are capable of. This can be done in a number of ways, such as:
- Listing the projects you have worked on.
- Awards or accolades.
- Received promotions at previous jobs.
Remember, keep your accomplishments listed relevant to the job that you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a job in marketing, list any successful marketing campaigns that you may have spearheaded. If you are applying for a job in human resources, list how many people you successfully hired and/or trained during your time at previous employers.
The accomplishments you showcase demonstrates how you have contributed in previous job roles and how you can contribute to the company you are applying to work for.
Proofread, proofread, proofread!
Typos and grammatical errors are an instant turn-off for employers.
Before you submit your resume, you should proofread it at least twice and consider asking someone else to proofread It for you. This will help ensure that there aren’t any embarrassing mistakes on your resume that could ultimately cost you the job opportunity you've been seeking.
Wrapping it All Up...
So, there you have it, 12 tips that will increase the noticeability of your resume using the latest trends and best practices.
Utilize these tips and you will surely be on your way to landing that job interview!