Employers want to hire people that can make a difference and improve things, you have one shot to make it clear they need to talk to you.
You may have the most well-written, thoughtful resume out there—but if you’re not taking into account what recruiters really want to see, all those spell checks and design elements may unfortunately go unnoticed.
Looking to take your resume to the next level (and get it to the top of the pile)? We spoke to a handful of recruiters and hiring experts to get their insights on what you should definitely be making more of an effort on when it comes to crafting a great resume.
Get to the point.
It’s important to understand that the recruiter is likely sifting through hundreds (if not thousands for certain roles) of applications. As a result, they’ll be aiming to extract all the important information as quickly as possible. “
All your qualifications, achievements, life experience and other relevant information should be easy to pick up through a brief scan, using proper headings that highlight the key information, such as where you’ve worked, when you worked there and what your role was,” says Mark Webster, Co-founder of Authority Hacker, an industry leading online marketing education company.
If you’re left thinking you haven’t included enough information, remember, this is exactly what the interview stage is for. “Your resume is not the time to explain why you dropped out of your major to pursue other interests, or why you left your previous job,” says Webster.
“If the recruiter wants to learn more, they will in due course. For now, though, focus on making things clear and succinct without bloating your resume.”
Include quantifiable results.
“Employers want to know what you can do for them, and how well you perform and the top indicator of one’s future performance is often one’s past performance,” says Andrea Clement, Career Coach and Founder of Career Collateral. “If possible, these results should include how you impacted the bottom line of the company.”
Clement added that there may be some roles for which including quantifiable results will be difficult to show, but most roles should be able to show a quantifiable contribution to an increase in revenue or profit, or a decrease in overhead, etc.
Include appropriate keywords.
“I wish more applicants knew how important it is to use keywords in their resumes!” says Patricia DiCresce, freelance consultant and human resources expert.
Nowadays, most resumes are dropped into an applicant tracking system software and because of this, the hiring manager is not the person screening your resume initially; it is initially screened by the software, which searches for desired keywords the company has input into the system.
“You can have great experience and great education, but if you don’t have those keywords, the system is not going to pick up your resume.”
If you’re concerned about nailing the required keywords or ensuring your resume will work with the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), you might want to consider having your resume professionally edited.
Resume writing services like TopResume will pair you with a professional resume writer who will ensure your career experience makes it to the top of the pile—no matter what industry you’re in.
Include hobbies and volunteer experience (sparingly).
“As far as including information about hobbies, sports or volunteer work, those only matter if they’re significant to the role,” explains DiCresce.
“You always have to keep in mind that a potential employer may view extracurricular activities as something that could interfere with your ability to do the job you’re applying for.” On the other hand, if an employer is interested in this information, you could discuss it in the interview.
Don’t leave it to the reader to assume things.
“Start each employment period with the company size and niche, don’t expect them to Google the company!” says Kelly Garland, Founder of Garland Source, LLC a transportation recruiting service based in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
“Next include your scope of management, staff size and role types that report to you and repeat for each job but don’t be redundant, keep showing you have always made a difference in each role if you want to get an interview.”