Seven and a half seconds. That’s how long on average a hiring manager spends skimming a resume. A candidate only has that short amount of time to capture their attention and spark interest. This may seem like an intimidating statistic, but with a well-built resume, you have an increased chance of getting a second look. Here are some of the top tips from our recruiters.
Building a resume – Our top tips
Gear your resume toward the specific position you are applying for
If your resume only gets 7.5 seconds of attention, you want to showcase the skills specific to the job you are applying for. Doing this will increase your chances of being considered for the position because the employer can see the relevant experience they are looking for. In that same vein, try to limit the amount of old/irrelevant information, including minor degrees and achievements.
Add keywords, but don’t go overboard
Adding job-related keywords to your resume is a great way to grab the attention of recruiters as many use keyword scanning software to help them narrow down their job applicant pool. This strategy works to an extent, but don’t overdo it. Recruiters can spot ‘keyword stuffing’ from a mile away. ‘Keyword stuffing’ is when you load up your resume with keywords in an attempt to manipulate the tracking system and rank higher. This tactic will likely backfire. The keyword tracking software and the hiring manager can usually easily tell when this is happening and your resume will be flagged.
Use Active Language
When writing your resume, use active language. This means using power words, such as ‘achieved,’ ‘earned,’ ‘completed,’ or ‘accomplished.’ These active verbs help provide clarity. Statements that use active verbs make the subject the one performing the action and clearly describe your responsibilities. Sentences that use passive voice tend to be more clunky and harder to interpret.
Another rule of thumb, avoid using ‘I’ or ‘we’ in your resume.
Active voice: Lead multiple team-based projects and effectively coordinated group tasks.
Passive voice: During my time at ABC Company, I ran multiple team-based projects and helped team members with various tasks.
Include up-to-date and professional contact information
This should go without saying. When sending out your resume, make sure you include your contact information. Be sure to include a city, state, phone number, and email address at the very least. You can have a killer resume, but without a proper way to reach you, you could miss out on your dream job. In that same vein, make sure the email address you attach is professional. You would be surprised at some of the emails we see on resumes.
Always add a short description under the Company name
Include 1-2 lines about what the company does, the products and/or services it provides and/or sells. This is a useful tactic even if you worked for a well-known company.
With the largest fleet of specialty farm machinery in North America, ABC Company offers a unique managed lease program for growers to significantly lower equipment costs.
Account Manager Houston, TX 2007 – Present
Provide counsel to growers, farm managers, and bankers throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska outlining the benefits and cost savings of leasing specialty equipment. Manage territory expenses, provide exceptional customer service, and resolve conflicts. Attend trade shows and hold quarterly grower meetings.
- Skillfully identify specialty equipment needs through careful listening and continued communication with customers.
- Sold all inventory the first two years and am on-target to meet inventory goals for current fiscal year.
- Maintain a 93+% customer renewal rate through effective relationship-building and strategizing with clients
- Achieved annual sales of $700,000, and increased customers in territory by one-quarter even during a price increase.
Edit and proofread.
This might be one of the most important things you can do when building a resume. One of the quickest ways to get a resume thrown out is to have typos or grammatical errors. Read over your resume. Read it out loud. Have a friend read it. Reviewing and editing your resume multiple times will help catch mistakes that may have been overlooked at first.
Once your resume is ready to go, make sure to save it and store it someplace where you can easily find it. This way you can make updates and changes in the future.