15 seconds or less. That’s the average amount of time that hiring managers spend on each resume during the hiring process.
While your resume may take hours to put together, it’s going to take a few seconds for the hiring manager to decide if it’s a good fit. That’s why you must optimize your resume to ensure it’s noticed immediately.
Here are some tips to do just that:
Use Readable Fonts
One big mistake many people make is to type up a resume using any font and send it over. Your font choice matters. Go for basic fonts such as Calibri, New Times Roman, Arial and others that allow for readability. Avoid the fancy, cursive, handwritten and calligraphy style fonts.
Work on Formatting
Imagine you’re a hiring manager working your way through 50 applications a day. What would you do if you came across a resume that’s jumbled up and hard to read? We’re certain you would do what many hiring managers do: discard it and move on to the next application.
A badly formatted resume is a telltale sign of carelessness and poor attention to detail. You can take advantage of templates and resume builders to ensure you don’t miss it. ResumeBuild has some of the best formatting options you can find anywhere. Here are a few basic guidelines you can follow unless otherwise stipulated.
- Use 1-inch margins
- Use a font size of 11/12pt
- Section the resume into different parts using headers
- Keep it to one page, if possible
Write a Compelling Resume Summary
Kick the old-fashioned career objective to the curb. Instead, write a summary that delivers the goods. Your resume summary is the first thing that a hiring manager is likely to look at.
Typically, a summary consists of three to five hard-hitting sentences. Highlight your experience, expertise, and education in these sentences.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
Remember to highlight your most significant and recent accomplishments in line with the job you’re seeking. Typically, a resume follows this pattern
However, there’s no hard and fast rule to do this. Tweak it based on your strengths. You can bring education before experience if your educational background is stronger. Whatever you do, highlight and place emphasis on your strengths.
Avoid Overused Words
The goal of your resume is to help you stand out from the rest. Well, the easiest way to blend in and become like any other applicant is to use cliches.
If you do a quick Google search on words not to use on a resume, you’ll have about 55 million hits. Such words include “highly qualified,” “hardworking”, “ambitious” etc. Such words are often considered fluff and are common in other resumes.
Also, avoid using personal pronouns such as “I,” “mine,” and “ours.” Such words do not give your resume a professional feel.
Many companies have resorted to the use of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen candidates. If your resume doesn’t have the requisite keywords, it’s likely to be weeded out. Strategically position the keywords in your resume to get the attention of anyone who reads.
For instance, if you’re applying for a teaching post, you should expect keywords such as classroom management, curriculum development, and mentoring, among others.
Use data in your resume
Nothing gets a hiring manager more curious than figures. Let the numbers do the talking. If you’ve helped your former employees win a contract, don’t be shy to say it. Emphasize it using data.
For instance, you can write under your employment history, “led XYZ company to win a $3million contract.” You should also use data during your resume summary.
Your resume can be the difference between getting hired and being ignored. Generally, most hiring managers skim through resumes in 15 seconds or less. Listed above are some steps you can take to ensure your resume gets noticed among others.