The resume is where it all starts. The impression you leave behind begins with the resume. While HR personnel and recruiters comb through hundreds of resumes each day, there are things they see that immediately irk them as well as things that leave them saying “Wow!” Know what these things are so you present the most effective resume to help get the conversation started.
Related: How To Create A Resume With Impact: Duties Vs. Results
Here’s what you can do on your resume:
1. Present a polished document.
Remember, it’s your resume that will help get you in the door. If you can’t manage to impress on paper with your resume, you’re going to have a tough time getting the job. Take the time to prepare a well-written resume that is free of spelling and formatting errors. Present a resume that expresses to the employer that you took time to prepare it so that it impresses. Don’t leave the impression that you just pulled out the old resume and clicked “Send” or that you whipped it up in 30 minutes. Even the most qualified candidate for the job needs to impress on paper because if you can’t get in the door, you don’t have the opportunity to impress in person.
2. Show how you’re relevant.
Present a resume that is keyword-rich. When recruiters and those in HR see a resume that is keyword-rich, it informs them immediately that you’re relevant to what they are looking for. No one wants to waste time, so when your resume tells the recruiter or person from HR upfront that you have the experience and skills they are looking for it can feel like a great find and they’ll appreciate that. They don’t want to have to dig and dig for relevant information. For more tips on presenting a keyword-rich resume, read: “Optimizing Your Resume With Keywords”
and for your LinkedIn profile, read: “How To Keyword Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile.”
3. Don’t leave the reader questioning.
If you leave the reader with too many questions after reviewing your resume, in most cases the recruiter or person from HR will just move on to the next candidate’s resume. Things like a large gap between employment periods or even short-term employment can leave questions. If you’re lucky, they will call and seek clarity, but other times they will just make assumptions for the worst and move on. In situations where you took time off to care for children, make note of it on your cover letter or resume so it doesn’t leave others to think you’ve been looking and unemployed all that time. And in situations where the company had M&A activity, put in parentheses that it changed its name, and so on so you don’t come off like a job hopper.
4. Offer contact information where you can be reached.
If you’re going to send out your resume, present contact information where you can be easily reached. If a message is left for you, you want to be able to respond to it in a timely manner. Don’t leave two different phone numbers or two different email addresses on your resume, just present 1-2 methods of contact that you actively check and can respond to.
There’s certainly a lot more you can do on the resume that will help the recruiter or person in HR, but starting with these basic pointers you’ll have a resume they’ll appreciate. The resume presented with the right qualities will also direct them to want to follow-up with you for an interview.
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About the author
Don Goodman’s firm was rated as the #1 Resume Writing Service in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Don is a triple-certified, nationally recognized Expert Resume Writer, Career Management Coach and Job Search Strategist who has helped thousands of people secure their next job. Check out his Resume Writing Service
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