The sad truth is that the resume you took hours preparing, formatting and revising will only be seen by a potential employer for about fifteen to twenty seconds. In those twenty seconds, it has to convince the employer that your skills, experience, and qualifications are a perfect fit for the position they are seeking to fill. The importance of having a strong resume is immeasurable and the ability to write a quality resume is an art form. We asked a few our Talent Acquisition Specialists what they look for when reviewing a candidate’s resume.
Here’s what they said:
Highlighted experience: The employer wants to see that you have experience in the field and are capable of doing the job at hand. All descriptions should be tailored towards the position you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a job in customer relations and have previously worked as a cashier in fast food. You would want to highlight your experience in dealing with customer complaints and the strong communication skills required to be a cashier.
Leadership: Employers want to hire people that have proven to be leaders in the past. Whether the leadership position has been in a previous job or in an extracurricular activity, it is a strong trait to possess and highlight on your resume.
Uniformity: Make sure that your resume follows the same format and spacing throughout. The aesthetics of your resume is viewed as a direct extension of you. If it’s disorganized (full of different fonts, font sizes and inconsistent spacing), the employer may think of you as disorganized or as someone who doesn’t pay attention to detail.
Action words: The use of action words throughout your resume catches the attention of the employer. The longer you can keep their attention the better chance you have of getting an interview.
Use resume paper: Resume paper is thicker and higher quality than regular paper. Especially important at career fairs where recruiters are receiving dozens (or perhaps hundreds) of resumes, the use of a thicker paper stock will make your resume stand out from the rest of the pile. (However, it’s good to point out not to use colored or patterned paper. Be conservative and stick with a neutral white).
If you’re searching for your first job after graduating from college, employers want to see your background in the field. Any relevant internship experience, as well as coursework that you completed in college, gives the employer an idea of your skills and expertise. They also want to see if you were involved in extracurricular activities (including sports) so make sure you list them. Try to keep your resume to one page in length and make it precise.
On the other hand, there are many things that employers find in resumes that make them immediately move on to the next applicant. They are:
Grammatical or spelling errors
History of “job-hopping”
Lack of professionalism/uniformity
Information overload (makes it too hard to quickly find the information they want)
While there is no proven way to get your resume noticed, following these tips will have you well on your way to getting noticed and hopefully selected for an interview.