You’ve written your resume in accordance with all resume rules and guides. You are sure that you’re 100% qualified for a job opening and possess the relevant experience. Your resume is pretty informative in terms of content and represents your professional profile. So, why aren’t you invited out for a dream job interview? The problem might be that your resume isn’t eye-catching.
The eye-tracking study of professional recruiters proves that it’s important not only WHAT you write about yourself, but also HOW and WHERE you put this information. In this entry, we are going to share some valuable tips on how to write your resume so that it would really capture the attention of the reader.
What do hiring managers look for?
According to the study mentioned above, first and foremost your potential employers are interested in
- Candidate's name
- Current job title and company
- Previous job title and company
- Previous position start/end dates
- Current position start/end dates
In addition to the above, recruiters also browse the text for keywords that should match the open position. And, if they’re satisfied with what they found during this brief scanning, there’s a chance that your resume will be read in a deeper detail.
How to get your resume read?
- Use the keywords in headings or subheadings
Resume headings often sound generic, such as “Career history” or “Professional experience”. It’s time to rewrite those headings and make them work for you. For instance, you can replace “Professional experience” with “Software development experience” or “Project management experience”. Thus, the extra key phrase given in bold will make the reader stay on the heading rather than just skip it.
- Boldface your impact on business
Usually, people put their achievements or awards under a specific section. Generally it’s correct; however, in this case the power of your achievements often gets lost among the other information. There’s a way to make the stress on your achievements. Since the recruiters browse position names closely, putting your key achievement or award right after the position name, as follows:
Sales Manager – 38% sales growth during the last year
Office Manager – #2 in the overall performance rating
- Keep the juicy information to the top of the page
The top half of the first page gets most of attention, so make this rule work for you. Include your achievements in the summary, put your key skills (if your job is skill-based) above the experience and other facts. Even if you’ve had had some serious achievements several years ago, it’s still worth putting this information at the beginning of your resume as this information can become a real lifesaver.
- Start the bullets with accomplishments or numbers
Most of the bullet points start this way: “Developed a policy…”, “Managed the team…” etc. Try and rewrite the bullets under the different angle. For example, instead of “Led negotiations with vendors that saved the company $70K”, use the following: “Saved $70K on operating expenses during negotiations with vendors”.
- Center and boldface the key information
If there’s a fact, achievement or an important reference that you feel can make the difference for your career, be sure not only to include it to your resume, but also put it into a visible place, boldface, or underline. If an influential person in your industry has left a positive reference about your performance, it’s ok to put it at the top of your resume.
- Use a graph or chart
if your performance had had a measureable impact on business and ensured substantial growth in sales, profitability, or client acquisition, why not present it graphically? Thus, the recruiter won’t have to search for the key information in the text and will know your capabilities at a glance. Images that demonstrate positive trends will definitely ensure that your resume will be read and give you much more chances for an interview.
- Put the position name and key areas of expertise at the top
Instead of a mundane Objective section which isn’t necessary for most resume, start your resume with stating the name of the position you’d like to obtain and 2-3 statements describing your excellence or career focus. This can look as follows:
Senior Project Manager
Proactive Management – Operating Budgets – Timely Delivery
- Keep it short and sweat
Many job-seekers who are striving to make a killer first impression (especially for management positions) put each and every achievement on the resume. As a result, each job description section looks lengthy and the recruiter doesn’t feel like reading through huge blocks of text to find something worth his attention. The recommended length for each job is 4-6 bullets, 1-2 lines each (might be a little longer for CEOs). So, prioritize the information and only leave responsibilities and achievements that will be of interest for a recruiter.
- Enrich the Summary with keywords
As we said before, what is at the top of the document gets more attention. Thus, make sure that your summary has enough keywords to motivate the HR to read on. Even if you are a recent graduate and lack relevant experience, you can use necessary keywords and connect them with your curricular or voluntary activities.
- Add a short description after the company name and job title
Most people limit themselves to giving the name of the company and sometimes name of the department. However, recruiters are often interested in more details – and if they have their questions answered straightaway, such a candidate evokes trust and gets more consideration. So, be sure to include the following: company size, turnover, budget and number of people that you personally managed.
- Update your online profile with professionally looking picture
The chart shows that recruiters spend 19% of their time looking at the profile picture when looking through LinkedIn profiles. So, make the headshot your advantage – update your profile with a picture in a professional environment, dress code, and make sure it demonstrates your positive attitude.
Proofread and proofread again
Mistakes grab the recruiter’s attention – not in a good way. Mistakes on a resume indicate sloppiness, poor writing skills or carelessness, which isn’t the impression you are looking to make. So, proofread the resume before sending it – use an online spell checker and, ideally, have someone else to review it with a fresh eye. A spotless, grammatically correct resume will be another plus for inviting you for an interview.
Make it mobile-friendly
Many hiring managers download and review resumes using their mobile devices. Thus, you want a resume that looks good not only on a computer screen, but open correctly on a smartphone either. Open your resume file from multiple devices to make sure the formatting preserves. You might want to convert your resume to a PDF format if the formatting is not displayed correctly.
Add links to your online resources
Since the recruiters will be look up for you online anyway, why not ease their job and communicate the right impression at the same time? Along with your contact info, attach the links to your online profiles – such as LinkedIn page, personal website or professional blog, or social media in case these are professional pages. The employer will appreciate the opportunity to evaluate your background better, and you’ll have a chance to show off your competencies and professional value.
Choose a style to make your resume eye-catching
The design of your resume plays an important role in getting your resume noticed. In addition to perfecting the content, you need to pick the right resume style that helps you win the recruiter’s attention. Need some inspiration? Take a look at the samples of resume styles below.
Vibrant resume template
Infographic resume are taking over, and this resume style is a great example how to make your resume bright while keeping it concise and professional. This kind of resume shows your career progression, skills and summarize your key career milestones using minimum text.
Image source: https://www.easel.ly/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/53.jpg
Monochrome resume example
Want to make your resume look classy but would like to go away from traditional ‘black text on a white background’ format? Then, this resume style is a great way to go. It’s easy on the eye and gives your resume a fresh, modern look while keeping the structure and color choices conservative.
Retro resume style
Retro typographic is a great way to add a playful element to your traditional resume. Thanks to its unusual style, a retro resume is a great way to distinguish from traditional word and infographic resumes. This resume looks pretty much like a traditional text resume, yet is easy on the eye and communicates all key details.
Will the above tips help me to get an interview?
Yes! If you do everything right and showcase your major achievements and capabilities by putting them on the most visible place, you’ll get noticed for sure. However, if after rewriting your resume and making it eye-catchy you are still not getting interview calls, there must be a problem somewhere else. For instance, you are not qualified enough for the position, or your resume is ATS-unfriendly. To understand the weak points of your resume (and to correct them), you can take the advantage of free resume critique service.
Is your resume designed in a way that captures the attention of the reader at the first glance? Why?