The average time recruiters spend looking at a resume is 6 – 8 seconds, and the average job receives 118 applications. Writing a resume can be intimidating, and as the digital age progresses and processes become more automated, candidates are facing new challenges when it comes to standing out.
What do you include? How do you format it? How do you personalize it? We’re breaking down our top 3 tips to make your resume standout in a digital landscape.
1. Start with your content.
Your resume tells your professional story and outlines what you bring to the table. Start by creating a high-level summary about yourself, making connections between your skills and personal attributes to the core competencies of the job you are applying for.
Then transition into your background, experience, and achievements. Keep it concise and relevant. Use strong action verbs and quantified results. For example, instead of saying, “answered phone calls from clients” you can say “interacted daily with 20+ clients across the Southeast, ensuring excellent customer service and contributing to over 90% customer satisfaction.”
Consider this: when the recruiter narrows down hundreds of applications to the top 10, all of which reflect the prerequisite job experience, and the hiring manager only wants to interview the top 4 candidates, how do they know who to select? Position yourself for success by showcasing proven results that would be essential for this role.
2. Be intentional in layout.
The best tip here? Keep it simple, and don’t forget that online systems, not a real person, are often the first ones vetting your resume. Use an easy to read and clean font like Calibri or Cambria. Avoid italics, and don’t shout with ALL CAPS. Use bold and underlighting lightly. Avoid including logos or other graphics on your resume. Also avoid too many elements of color, as you never know how resumes might be printed and reviewed.
The order of your resume should generally follow:
- Name and contact information including email and LinkedIn profile URL
- Top-level summary, referencing desired job title and core competencies
- Relevant experience, in reverse chronological order
- The key here is to make it relevant: if you are applying for a mid-level position and you have 5 years of directly relevant work experience, you probably don’t need to include a part-time job you had in high school.
- Relevant Systems/Technology/Equipment
- Languages, if applicable
- Civic Leadership & Community Involvement
Don’t forget: Layout will of course vary on an individual basis. For example, those in the educational sector or with less than 5 years of work experience should generally list their education first and work experience second.
3. Remember your audience, every time.
Each time you submit your resume, you need to think about your audience and make sure your resume is relevant to that specific job posting and company.
We know job boards make it quick and easy to submit your resume to many jobs, and you may be tempted to submit the same resume for all of them. But be aware, today most online applications are vetted through an applicant tracking system. This system scans for keywords that reflect a match between the resume and the job description. When you are reading the job description, be sure to edit your resume to include specific keywords that are highlighted as necessary skills or experiences. As long as your resume is accurate and truthful, this can help ensure a recruiter or hiring manager sees your resume.
Note: Most applicant tracking systems search for keywords on the resume only, not the cover letter, and many don’t even require a cover letter. Customizing your cover letter is not good enough. You need to customize your resume if you want to optimize matching the job’s keywords.
How FGP can help
At FGP, we work directly with candidates to help them find the perfect fit for their next position. If you’re looking for your next career opportunity and need help navigating the process, check out our job board or submit your resume today!