Did you know that an average recruiter spends a total of 6 seconds reviewing a single resume? (If this isn’t your first “How to Build a Resume” rodeo, then the answer is probably, “yeah, duh.”)
Imagine spending hours and weeks trying to create a perfect resume and being given only seconds to make an impression!
On top of that, about 80 percent of the resumes sent to a single recruiter doesn’t make the first cut due to being lax on one feature or another.
The majority of job-seekers follow the “one-size-fits-all” approach to resume-building. This is a cardinal sin!
Most candidates refer to a resume similar to the job they’re applying for, edit it to suit their experiences, and send it off to multiple employers. A copy-pasted resume like that is not likely to receive…err…well, any call-backs.
[RELATED: How To Make Your Resume Stand Out]
The key to being shortlisted lies in tailoring your resume to the requirements of your prospective company.
The below infographic covers all the tried-and-tested (and successful, we might add) methods to create the Perfect Resume ideal for the job market of 2017.
Building a Resume: What Your Professor Didn’t Teach You [INFOGRAPHIC]
For the purpose of a more in-depth reference, we have summarized the points for you below:
1. Keep it Clean, Simplistic & Refined
Don’t get overly creative by using tons of watermarks, designs, and graphics.
A clean, sleek, and simplistic format will make a positive impression on the recruiter skimming through your resume.
Typography matters a lot in any professionally written draft, and a resume is no exception!
Use easily legible fonts such as Calibri, Garamond, Trebuchet MS, Georgia, and Helvetica (but for God’s sake, don’t use Times New Roman!)
Do NOT mix-and-match fonts. Use one uniform, standard font throughout the resume.
Instead of changing fonts, use bold, italics etc. to organize your resume. Company headers specific action words and achievements can be highlighted by bolding.
3. Stick to Value Generating Content
In order create a one-page resume, you need to know what information adds relevant value to your resume and get rid of the rest.
Here is some of the stuff you can straight-up get rid of:
A. Objective Statement
Once a popular component of a resume, an “Objective” or “Personal Statement” has lost its relevance in the current market.
It does not do much to highlight your skill set and often ends up looking ambiguous or repetitive.
Don’t waste your already limited space on providing an extensive list of references.
You could add a note that references shall be provided upon request, but let’s be real: why wouldn’t they be provided on request? Save some space and leave it out entirely.
C. Experiences /Skills Irrelevant to your application
You don’t have to list every job that you’ve had to date; stick to the experience specific to your potential job.
If you’re applying for a Business Analyst position, there’s no need to add the editorial internship you did at that xyz magazine or that time you worked at Starbucks. Instead, add bullet points to prior work experience (Lead Analyst & Analyst) and describe your work-related responsibilities in detail.
4. Optimize & Quantify Your Bullet Points
Limit yourself to 3 bullet points per company.
Use quantifiable achievements and facts in the bullet points.
Before: As the assistant manager in the Production Department of XYZ organization, I was responsible for carrying out a study to optimize the production process and increase production efficiency by 10 percent.
Yikes. The recruiter is barely even reading your resume, do you think they’ll really read through all that? Instead, use sentence fragments, which are essentially shortened sentences omitting articles etc. Try something like this:
After: Optimized production process to increase overall efficiency by 10%.
5. The “SO What” Test
After writing a bullet point, analyze the content ask yourself, “So what?” to check whether the point highlights your capability.
Think about what difference it made – Did it save cost? Provide better insights? And so on……
Before: Helped new trainees with learning company procedures.
Urrghhh, whatever you do, don’t use the word “help” in your resume! It’s too vague! What do you mean by help? Did you show them how to use the register? Brief them on the weekly schedule and deadlines? HOW did you help them???? Reading this does not leave a good impression on a recruiter.
After: Conducted training program for new employees, which decreased average training days by 12 percent. Program has run in three offices for the past two years.
6. Action Words
Omit the dull and overused words like “Responsible for”, “Made”, “Participated” with stronger replacements like “spearheaded,” “created,” “managed,” or “delivered.”
The recruiter tends to look for quantifiable outputs rather than generalized job-roles.
Avoid using vague terms like team player, hard worker, detail oriented, thinks outside the box, etc. Almost everyone uses them in their resume and they mean nothing to the recruiter.
Before: Responsible for inventory control and ordering products.
Okay, but WHAT did you do in inventory control? Just stock items? Order them yourself? Take inventory at the end of the day? Load items off the truck? Transport them?
After: Optimized inventory by monitoring for product shortages and ensuring efficient service usage.
7. Reverse Chronological Order
Your current job role comes first, followed by previous job/internships/projects/freelance-Work.
Make sure all job responsibilities apart from your current job are in past tense.
8. Placing Your Educational Details
Always list your educational qualifications after your work experience. Employers are more interested in the work that you have done rather than where you went to college.
If you are a recent graduate, it’s alright to list your education first, followed by internships.
Highlight achievements such as academic honors, club positions, GPA etc. which might be relevant to your future employer.
Employers tend to view scholarships as an endorsement of the candidate’s capability, so if you have won a scholarship, be sure to highlight it.
9. Understandable Language
Everyone ranging from an office assistant to the senior project manager should be able to understand the content.
Don’t use fancy words and technical jargons. They make no sense and you look like you’re trying way too hard to come off as “sophisticated.”
Avoid using passive voice as much as possible. Passive voice basically means when you write an action without an agent (a doer). Ex: Bombs were dropped vs. [Country] dropped bombs.
Write your resume using active voice. This tool shows you how many of your sentences are passive voice and how to fix them.
Tense: When talking about earlier Jobs and responsibilities held, always refer to them in the past tense. When talking about your present job and responsibilities, use the present tense.
10. Online Certifications
With the amount of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) available, online certification is basically a requirement if you want to present yourself as a competitive job candidate.
Online certificates show that you have a thirst for knowledge and are ready to pursue it after regular hours, which is a positive mark on your application.
11. Volunteering Experience
Most companies look favorably upon employees who contribute in a positive way to their community.
Also, highlight the part you played while working there. Don’t simply list “I volunteered for xyz organization.” Statements like “Coordinated and led work parties that constructed 15 homes for low-income families in need of housing” showcases your leadership and management qualities and adds significant value to your resume.
Ensured quality creation and timely distribution of organization newsletter and email communications with staff, volunteers, and applicants; oversaw and managed the website.
Increased contributions by 28% by introducing PayPal donation link to website.
12. Hobbies & Interests
Reading books, watching sitcoms, sports, traveling, scrapbooking, shopping, playing guitar, etc. are some of the most common activities seen in the interest’s section.
Really though, no need to list all of them. A good resume writing tip is to research the company you’re applying for to find out what personal interests to put on a resume. (If you’ve got someone in the company, try and find out what kind of hobbies and interests most employees enjoy.)
Only list hobbies that are relevant to the position! If the job requires you to be “outgoing and a good team player,” sports are good hobbies to mention on your resume. Reading books and watching sitcoms are not.
13. Rewards & Recognition
An award goes a long way in differentiating you from the rest of the competition. They show that you don’t limit yourself to participation, but go the extra mile in creating an impact.
If you have received any awards (workplace or otherwise) in the recent past, feel free to list them in your resume (this includes scholarships).
Also, add some background information (what does the award mean, what it took to get it, etc.) to help the recruiter get to know you better.
Associate, “Simmerville,” San Diego, CA (June’11 – May’14)
Awarded “Excellent at Innovation and Execution” award for establishing large, high-performance IT teams; utilized available local resources & established cost savings worth 30 percent.
14. Foreign Languages
Being bilingual, trilingual, etc. gives you a major leg up on other candidates. You can use the standard terms of proficiency such as “native,” “basic,” “fluent,” or “intermediate” to describe how well you speak the languages listed on your resume.
Spoken Languages: English (Native), Spanish (Fluent) & Hebrew (Basic)
15. How to Present Gap Years
If you have a few months (or years) of gap periods between two consecutive jobs, you can make it less of an issue by eliminating the start and end dates of the previous jobs in the work-experience section.
Just mention the year(s) for each of the jobs. However, if you are asked about it during the interview, be honest!
Give a concrete reason as to why you took time off and how you utilized the gap period.
Lastly, make sure to highlight any volunteer work or skills you picked up during the gap period to show that you were productive during that time!
Poor grammar and vocabulary are the pathways for your resume to be tossed right into the garbage.
Use the read out loud function in MS Word to hear your resume and check for mistakes. You can also ask your friends and family for any error-checks.
While writing your resume, one important thing to remember is DO NOT rely on MS Word for spell check as it doesn’t have contextual spell check.
In the current competitive job market, a good resume is a coveted piece of paper that sells your story to your potential employer.
The above tips have been tried-and-tested by hundreds of applicants and they are sure to take your resume from good to great to all-star. Use it as a checklist to really get out there and create a winning resume.
Now go get that job you were eyeing!
His interest in the digital landscape motivated him to create an online start up for Masters in Management application consulting (MiM-Essay.com), focused on spreading quality information about the MiM degree & performing application consulting services for clients.
He is the chief consultant of the company and takes care of Business Development and Digital Marketing side of the company. He is very passionate about writing and marketing.
Latest posts by Abhyank Srinet (see all)
- 6 Ways To Use LinkedIn To Your Advantage In 2018 - December 29, 2017
- Building a Resume: What Your Professor Didn’t Teach You [INFOGRAPHIC] - July 24, 2017