Imagine this situation.
After a long wait, you finally see a new opening for your dream job.
You quickly apply for it and patiently await the interview call.
But as days pass by there is no call on the horizon.
Sadly after a month, you get to know someone else with a similar skillset, has been recruited for the job.
This story is not an uncommon one, and we have either faced this chain of events ourselves or known someone who has gone through the same.
More and more qualified candidates are rejected because they are not able to present themselves well in that one document that counts the most at the initial recruitment stage…..that is the resume.
When a recruiter is flooded with hundreds if not thousands of resumes for a particular job, he just has a few seconds to scan through the same, and understand if you would be a good fit for the job role or not.
In these few seconds, you not only need to explain the highlights of your profile but also showcase your past relevant work experience and achievements.
These can only be done with a well-formatted resume, clear subsections, optimized bullet points, proper action words and so on.
A good resume is an ideal way to stand out from the competition.
In order to understand how you could hone your resume to its full potential, we have created an infographic showcasing what a streamlined resume contains.
Check it out to see how many you got right!
So, now that you know how to create a perfect job resume, we can dive a little deeper into 12 major tips which can up your resume potential.
Ticking these off would enhance your acceptance chances and get you a step closer to your dream job.
1. Make it Easy to Read
A recruiter scans 3 to 4 resumes in a minute and might have read 100s of resumes before reaching yours.
You would want to make it as easy as possible for him/her to understand your profile. Sticking to a simple format which is clean, easily scannable, and to the point goes a long way.
Adding extra elements such as colors, watermarks, designs or background may just distract the recruiter from the information he is looking for and reduce your chances.
2. Choose Font Family and Sizes Smartly
With millions of fonts out there, you might face a paradox of choice.
To refrain from making bad choices, it’s better to choose fonts from the ones which outperform others in formal communication.
Fonts such as Calibri, Arial, Helvetica, Tahoma, Trebuchet, Verdana, Garamond etc have been proved to perform better than the others. So instead of jeopardizing your dream job, you may want to stick to any of these.
It is also important to use one from throughout the resume. Mixing two or more fonts may even mess up the readability. To create a hierarchy, use bold, italics, and different sizes.
The header should be sized between 20 and 22, section head could range anywhere from 12 to 14, while the main body should be between 10 and 12.
3. Add Contact Details
After the recruiter finds you as a potential recruit, make it easier for him to contact you. Adding your relevant contact details right at the top in the header makes it easier for him.
Your contact details should contain a phone number along with the country code and a formal appropriate email address, abstain from using email ids such as [email protected].
Since your Linkedin is an extension of your professional experience, you could add a link to your profile on your resume. But make sure your LinkedIn Profile is updated though.
4. Add Relevant Work Experience
Your resume should always be customized for the job you are applying for. If the programming skills you possess have no relation to the Sales job you are applying for, then it’s better not to mention. Adding it would just take up unnecessary space and prove to be irrelevant information for the recruiter.
If you are applying for a Sales and Marketing Associate position, there’s no need to mention the fact that you have worked as a programmer in your internships/ job.
However, mentioning that you did a Sales internship at ABC Magazine would be a good idea.
5. Optimize the Bullets
Stick to one line bullets, at max 2 lines. Anything more than 2 lines becomes similar to a paragraph and no recruiter is going to spend his time reading long chunks of text.
Converting the impact created by you, in your professional career, to a scalable unit makes it easier to understand your capabilities. Also, numbers are the best way to avoid adding any lengthy paragraphs.
Example A: Saved time by switching from manual to an automatic process.
Example B: Shifted manual procedures to automated procedures and processes, thus saving the company more than $500K in a six-month period.
Though the first mention what was done, the latter helps the recruiter know the impact the person had created.
Hence, it’s best to quantify your bullet points.
6. Do “So what” Test?
While optimizing the bullet points, analyze your point and conduct a ‘So what?’ test.
This basically questions whether the point highlights your capability.
This will help you answer what was the difference that you made with respect to efficiency, time, money etc, through your job role.
Before: Proficient at sales conversions.
After: Orchestrated decrease in sales expenses by 20 percent while increasing sales productivity by expanding alliance partner network.
As we can see the “before” barely showcased any of the capabilities, while the second one clearly shows what the person has done and what impact it has created.
7. Add Action Words
Now a day, most companies use Applicant tracking systems (ATS) to filter resumes in order to save time. To filter out, recruiter uses keywords which he is looking for in resumes. Thus, it’s vital that you use action words, which showcase in a better manner what exactly you were doing in that current role.
For example, if a recruiter is on a look out for a leader, he might search with keywords such as Supervised, Headed, Authorized etc.
Keywords also include skills and experience with respect to the job opening.
Following is a short list of keywords which is apt for managerial job positions –
8. Mention Online Certifications
MOOCs have gained huge popularity in recent years.
In addition to the certifications done in college and other professional institutes, a relevant online course and talking about what you learned from it, can make you look better for an interview.
Also, completing an online course, in and of itself, is impressive. It demonstrates personal drive and discipline. They showcase that you are eager to learn and pursue it further even after their regular hours.
9. Mention Volunteer Work
Community service and volunteer work are great things to add to your resume.
It shows you possess skills such as event planning, teamwork, fundraising, etc. Most companies look favorably upon employees who contribute in a positive way to the surrounding community.
Also, nowadays a lot of organizations give certificates for the same. If you have done substantial work, don’t forget to talk about them.
Awards are the best way to showcase that your work has created such an impact that you were recognized for it.
So if you have received any awards, be it workplace or otherwise, list them on your resume. Make sure you focus on what the award is about and what you did to receive it. This will help the recruiter get to know you better and highlight some specific key skills.
11. Keep your resume Error free
This goes unsaid.
Your resume if the last place you would want to make any error.
Be it grammatical or word choices. Spellings, typing error and so on.
These create nothing but paint a poor of you in front of the recruiter.
Use tools such as Grammarly to spell check your resume. Run your resume by your friends and family. You will be amazed how you might have overlooked so many mistakes.
12. Use an ideal file format
There are multiple formats in which one can send resume. Word doc, HTML, PDF and so on. Out of all, PDF is the best format to send it in as it gives 100% assurance that the recruiter will see it the way you sent it of what program you had used to create the resume.
Other formats might cause issues. For instance, if you send a word doc, and recruiter’s doc version is different from yours, your format might change in his system. HTML files might land in spam, which is often sent in HTML.
In such scenarios, he might get frustrated and move on to the next resume.
With more and more skilled employees entering the workforce each year, competition is growing at a substantial rate.
Hence it is essential that your resume stands out, and does its bit to increase your chances of getting shortlisted.
Follow the tips given above and we are sure your resume quality would increase by 2-3 times.
For more tips on building a job resume, check out this post on 23 Resume Writing Tips to Create the Perfect Job Resume in 2017 to take your resume to the next level.