You’ve got the experience, you’ve got the skills and you just sent away a resume for your dream job. That’s it. Right? Wrong.
Unless you’re applying for an unappealing position such as “trash digger” or something with an extreme experience requirement like “astronaut” there’s guaranteed to be dozens of other applicants. The sad reality is that not every applicant is going to be given the same fair chance. Recruiters are already juggling daily responsibilities in addition to the hours needed to interview, review, and bring on new employees. On average, your resume has about seven seconds of face time. To keep their sanity, the quickest way you have to communicate experience becomes their quickest way to eliminate a candidate.
Want to avoid winding up on the cutting room floor? Start with these basic tips.
Resumes are simple. The key is to make it scannable. Remember: the recruiter most likely has several hours of work to do after reading another pile of resumes. If you have narrow margins, small type and a generally frustrating layout you’re guaranteed to be thrown to the side. Sparingly use italics and bold to guide the reader’s eye to key sections and information that you want to communicate the strongest.
Discuss How You Did, Not What You Did
A title is a title no matter what company you’re a part of. Certain roles like “copywriter” or “analyst” speak for themselves. Don’t waste space talking about the basic tasks carried out by this position, talk about specific accomplishments you carried out and how it benefitted the team.
The Job is in the Details
You may not feel like there’s enough time to talk about minute details. Normally, you would be right. However, some successes need to be screamed at the top of your lungs from a rooftop no matter how little space you have. Think about what sounds better, a sales rep with “high sales volume” or a sales rep with “$25k above average for company’s quarterly sales.” The details give definitive proof you have what it takes and prompt interest that generates an invitation to interview.
Cater to the Industry
You can’t get by just having “experience.” Just because you worked as a busboy for three years in college doesn’t mean you have the three year’s experience needed to lead an aerospace construction project. Your resume should only reflect experience relevant to that specific job opening. For those of you renaissance people, this may even mean having several resumes, each tailored to different positions within your industry.
Getting tossed from the first pass of an applicant pile is a bummer, there’s no better way to put it. With the help of these tips, your resume will stand out in all the right ways, ensuring you survive the first cut.