Whether you're in the middle of a job hunt or planning to start one soon, there are a few resume changes you should make if you want to immediately stand out and get more interviews.
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Read through the steps below and use this as a checklist to make sure your resume is doing as much as possible to help you get hired!
1. Simplify the Formatting
The average corporate job receives around 250 applications, which means hiring managers look through a lot of resumes each day. Unless you're an artist or graphic designer, you're going to see better results with a simple resume that leaves out the fancy formatting. Instead of trying to impress an employer with design, make your resume straightforward and easy to read. Impress them with your content.
Here are some general design guidelines:
Use 1-2 fonts maximum.
Use 2-3 font sizes.
Use left alignment and don't center any of your text.
Be consistent with your formatting from start to finish.
Do a final check to make sure your resume is easy on the eyes and has a natural flow as you scan down the page. You should have a larger header followed by smaller content. Repeat this pattern and keep it predictable so that a hiring manager can quickly make sense of your skills and background.
2. Use Numbers and Statistics Whenever Possible
Now that your formatting is set, you need great content to impress anyone who picks up your resume. Numbers and statistics are the best way to capture attention, and the easiest way to work them in is right in your bullet points.
Here's how the average bullet point might read: Responsible for handling inbound customer requests, conducting prompt follow up, and ensuring customer happiness.
Here's how a great, data-driven bullet point would read: Responded to 60+ inbound customer requests per day, following up within one hour and achieving a customer satisfaction rate of 97.8 percent.
You can use percentages, time periods, dollar amounts, rankings, and much more!
3. Think Critically About What the Hiring Manager Wants
It's easy to become self-centered in your job search. You thought a lot about your career, decided it was a good time to look for a job, and then focused on your goal. But most people don't take the time to look at the job hunt from the hiring manager's perspective, so they end up submitting generic resumes that aren't tailored to the job.
What should you do instead? Look at the job description and figure out what's most important to the company. What does the description mention first or most often? Now go through your resume and reorder the pieces so that the hiring manager will see what they're looking for immediately. Add bullet points that are highly relevant and show necessary experience, not based on what you feel is most impressive overall, but based on what the hiring manager needs most in the person they hire.
4. Utilize Keywords
When hiring managers and recruiters are looking to hire someone, they're often in a rush, so you need a way to quickly make sure you're worth their time.
Keywords are a great way to show hiring managers and recruiters that you have what they need and that they should learn more about you. This also helps your resume pass any applicant tracking systems that employers may be is using, which will improve your response rate overall.
5. Sound Like an Expert
In the steps above, you added relevant statistics and tailored your content. Now it's time to remove some of the fluff and unnecessary information so that your best content can stand out!
If some of your bullet points aren't related to what the job requires, consider removing them. For most jobs, hiring managers want an expert or a specialist. If you present yourself as a generalist, it's going to hurt your response rate and make it harder to get an interview. If you insist on sharing these other areas of experience that aren't as important, include them in your cover letter!
Biron Clark is an executive recruiter, career coach, and founder of careersidekick.com.