While resumes remain a staple to job-hunting, few have mastered the secret recipe. To make things worse, the recipe only continues to change. Attention spans sit at an all-time low with distractions at an all-time high. As a result, nailing the perfect resume is more important now than ever.
Read and Research.
Do your research. Read the job descriptions top to bottom. Proofread your resume inside and out. While all of this may seem obvious, you would be shocked by how many resumes roll through with typos. Sure everyone has oversights, but it sends a message about how seriously you take the application process and start you off on the wrong foot. A lot of companies also create easter eggs inside their applications processes to weed out applicants like instructing applicants to title their resume with a certain name or send a certain message in the subject header. In today’s day and age, the ability to read instructions can be seen as a lost art.
Cut to the Chase.
Resumes often sound redundant. Stand out from the crowd by focusing on information that is unique to you and your skills and uniquely beneficial to this position. This comes back to the age-old quality over quantity catchphrase. If it doesn’t serve a purpose or move the company’s understanding of how you would fit in the role forward than you can probably cut it out altogether.
Along the same lines, avoid sweeping generalizations and loose adjectives. Jessica Holbrook Hernandez says, “What represents success for a financial manager is completely different from what it would be for a project manager. Use job titles instead of the word professional, and explain results, successes and accomplishments using percentages, dollars or other metrics.” Let industry-specific terms speak for themselves rather than lengthy nonessential descriptors.
Cover All the Bases.
Companies receive a sometimes insurmountable number of applications so many resort to scraper services or keyword searches to more easily identify which resumes best meet the criteria. So while you should keep things to the point, you don’t want to cut out important information. Be specific, clear and concise when it comes to your skillset. As Leela Srinivasan explains, “If an application has a list of required skills, it’s important to prominently display the skills that you genuinely have. Oftentimes, recruiters and HR directors will search for keywords based on the job listing so if those keywords are not noted on your application, your resume will not be viewed.” This also ties back into doing reading instructions and doing your research in order to ensure that your skills meet their needs. In the long run, it will save you time and them.