Does your resume pass the 15-seconds-or-less scan? Besides basic spell-checking, how can you ensure you have a memorable resume? Well, the experience section is arguably the most important section on your resume. Most recruiters will be spending the majority of their time with their eyes glued on this section.
Here are the top 4 items that to watch out for in your experience section:
1. Your Most Recent Position
Your most recent position (on most reverse-chronological resumes, this is the first position listed) tells the recruiter what you are doing now. Whether you are currently unemployed, employed but searching for another job, or starting your own company, the hiring manager wants to get an idea of what you are currently (or most recently) doing and how that fits in with the position you are applying to.
2. Your Overall Work Experience
How do your past experiences relate to and fit the position you are applying for? Are your experiences framed in such a way that transferable skills needed for the job are clearly highlighted? Recruiters are able to tell from a few seconds’ scan whether or not you are a possible fit for for the area they are hiring for. Therefore, the way in which you communicate your work experience is extremely important. Be specific in writing your work experience: clearly define your responsibilities, quantify your achievements when possible, and illustrate how your work is integral to your company. Try to put yourself in the shoes of the employer. What qualities and skills would the ideal candidate possess in order to solve their need?
3. Gaps in Employment
Recruiters will always scan your resume for red flags such as frequent job changes or large gaps in your work history. If the recruiter doesn’t see any mention of activity in the gap between employment dates, he or she will wonder about the reason. If you have any type of working experience during the gap period—whether it’s volunteering, freelancing, or taking a course—it is better to include it. Showing applicable skills from the experience is seen as a plus and preferable than leaving the hiring manager to wonder what you were doing during that time. Other more personal reasons for having an unexplained gap could include dealing with an illness or taking care of family, and it is better to briefly address this in your cover letter rather than putting it on the resume.
4. A Logical and Visually Appealing Layout
As long as your resume layout is clear and easy to follow, then most recruiters do not have a problem. There is really no need for super fancy formatting, but a good clean layout has the ability to maximize your resume’s effectiveness while adding a little personality. Because the eye naturally scans from top to bottom, it is also worth noting that your most recent or noteworthy experiences should be placed near the top of the resume.
Guest Post Author bio:
Angela Lin is a resume consultant at Resume Companion, a site that provides an online resume builder and free retargets to help people achieve career success.
Source for the infographic: Top Counseling Schools