According to a recent Glassdoor study, 98 percent of applicants are rejected solely on the basis of their resumes. That is ludicrous and to be honest, it’s unjust. How can a corporation assess all of its abilities, accomplishments, and experiences just on a single piece of paper?
That is why we decided to write this essay. We spoke with a number of hiring managers, recruiters, and career coaches over the last week to learn exactly what they’re searching for when they read over your resume. You’ll know exactly what your prospective employers are looking for when they scan your resume after reading this article. Because we at Optimized Resume feel that content is the most crucial aspect of your resume, our resume tips and techniques are centered on it.
See our ATS resume templates if you’re seeking a resume template that is ATS-compatible, or readable by automated computer screeners.
Resume Tip #1: Use brief, succinct bullet points in your resume.
There are no paragraphs here. How easy would it be for a recruiter to browse over your CV in 30 seconds and get a feel of your experiences and accomplishments if they picked it up right now? This is referred to as the ’30 second skim,’ and your resume should be prepared for it. The readability of your resume relies heavily on short, crisp bullet points. Text blobs, such as bullets or paragraphs of three lines or more, are unlikely to be read. Score My Resume verifies that the content of your resume is the correct length. With the AI-powered resume checker, you can get a fast analysis of your resume.
Resume Tip #2: Get rid of the objective portion of your resume.
On a resume, all recruiters believe that an Objective is unnecessary. Because you apply for a specific position, the employer already knows what you’re looking for. Having a goal section may even prevent you from being considered for other similar positions that you might be interested in resume.
Resume Tip #3:Only include a Summary section if it is absolutely necessary.
A Summary section, with a few exceptions, adds little to your resume other than duplicating your accomplishments and wasting space. Your CV is already designed to provide a succinct overview of your accomplishments. It is unnecessary to re-summarize it in paragraph form. The only time you should deviate from this rule is if you need to provide information that isn’t already included in another area of your resume. This is crucial: do not repeat accomplishments from the rest of your resume in your summary! You might use 1-2 lines to guide a recruiter to the precise roles you’re seeking if you’re looking to entirely shift your career and role (e.g., switching from software engineering to marketing). If you do decide to give a summary, avoid using airy, subjective phrases such as “team player” or “hard worker.” Check out the Resume Summary Generator for ideas if you decide you need a resume summary.
Resume Tip #4:Arrange the sections of your resume according to the job requirements.
Recruiters skim your CV from top to bottom, so place your parts carefully. “Ask yourself if there’s anything that may automatically exclude me from the competition, and either leave it out or move it.” If a specific degree is required and you have another or no degree, place the Education portion of your resume to the bottom.
Resume Tip #5: Customize your résumé to incorporate relevant accomplishments.
“Never send in a generic resume for a job,” Sara Rice of WikiJob advises Optimized Resume. Even if you are looking for numerous jobs in a short period of time, taking the time to customize your CV for each opportunity is well worth the effort. Don’t just include everything you’ve ever done; use every inch of space on your resume to explain to the recruiter why you’re the best candidate for the job. If you have education or talents that aren’t relevant to the job, consider leaving them out or explaining why they demonstrate transferable skills.” Add keywords from the job description to your resume..
Resume Tip #6: Add keywords from job description.
When drafting a resume that will be assessed by an automated screening process, including keywords from the job description to your resume is the single most important step you can do to ensure that you get past the first round. Why? The vast majority of these screening processes are simple, and they merely look through your resume for keywords related to the job.
Your resume will be sent to a human for further examination if they are located in sufficient numbers. If you don’t, you’ll be rejected right away, regardless of whether you’re qualified for the job. Though this may appear to be a deceptive tactic, I can promise you that it will increase your success rate dramatically. Rich Franklin, the founder of KBC Staffing, offers this advice. Using Optimized Resume, you can see if your resume is well-targeted for the job you’re looking for. It’s an ATS resume keyword scanner that determines whether or not your resume is well-targeted to the job description.
Resume Tip #7: Focus on accomplishments rather than responsibilities on your resume.
“Accomplishments should be the focus of your resume. It’s no longer enough to just rewrite your job description in bullet points. This technique does little to demonstrate that you’ve done a good job. It also doesn’t give employers much information about how you may assist them. I constantly advise my clients to conduct pain studies and appeal directly to those requirements with relevant accomplishments. For instance, a corporation might be searching for an administrative assistant who has worked with Instagram. Between these two, which would you be most inclined to ask for an interview?
Create social media pages for each department.
By creating interesting content, attending an Instagram for Business online course, and remaining current on emerging marketing trends, I increased my Instagram following by 58 percent.” Brett Ellis, the owner of Brett Ellis Career Marketing Services, offers this advice.
Resume Tip #8:Make your resume quantifiable!
“Rather of writing your CV to read like a job description (current or previous roles), use it as a guide to figure out what’s most vital for the position you want.” Add keywords and information that indicate your success to those points.
This is where all of the performance measurements and KPIs come into play. Mention anything in your job that you helped reduce, increase, or change. Don’t wait until the fifth bullet point to mention that you helped to improve a process that saved the organization $50,000, or you’ll be 250 percent over quota.
Whatever it is, bring it up to demonstrate how your actions affect the bottom line. Also, don’t be afraid to speak up. You still had a hand in it if you were on a team that supported these efforts. Too many people remark, “Well, I didn’t do it all by myself,” and then go on to explain they were part of a team that did. If you’re stuck on ideas, go over your bullet points again and ask yourself, “Why is this important?” or “OK, so what?” Examine any paperwork you have to back up your claims, whether it’s from your performance reports or other sources. Dory Wilson of Your Office Mom contributed this tip. Check out our blog post on how to build effective resume bullet points using numbers and analytics for additional information on quantifying your resume.
Resume Tip #9: Use a job title that is simple to grasp.
“As a recruiter, one of the first things I look at is a candidate’s present job title. After that, I consider the company, tenure, and past job titles. Education is a distant second.”
“Inventive job titles are frequent, making it unclear what someone is truly accountable for. It’s also usual to have someone’s level as their title, such as Vice President or Director. This makes it difficult to see what you’re doing. It’s crucial to be honest, so don’t make up a title. If you work as a server, however, you should refer to yourself as a waitress rather than a customer satisfaction representative or a customer service specialist.”
“Your resume will most likely receive less than 30 seconds of consideration, giving you only 5 seconds to create an impression. You need to make this as simple as possible for someone. You accomplish this by demonstrating that you are qualified for the position you are seeking for.”
Karla Reffold of BeecherMadden provided this tip.
Tip #10: Check to see if your resume can be read by applicant tracking systems.
For each job, companies receive hundreds of applications. Expecting a recruiting manager to manually analyse each and every applicant, including those that may not have the necessary experience, is unrealistic.
This is why organisations utilise Applicant Tracking Systems, or ATS for short. They’re computer programmes that read and process your resume, lowering the quantity of resumes that hiring managers have to review manually. If you require an ATS-ready resume template, go here.
McCurdy Life Coach’s Erica McCurdy emphasises the importance of matching your resume to the job description: “If you are submitting your resume online, make sure you incorporate the major points and keywords from the job description in your resume and make sure you are using an ATS optimised format.”
“Text in headers and footers is not read by ATS.
Text in charts, tables, or text boxes is not read by ATS.
Bold, underlined, italicised, colourful, or color-filled text are ignored by ATS.
The ATS does not recognise photos in your resume (JPG or PNG files)
Because ATS scans text from left to right, text structured in columns may not be read correctly.”
Make sure to check if your resume is ATS compliant by uploading it to the following sites:
Resume Tip#11: Use a simple resume template.
Avoid using a lot of clutter, colours, different fonts, or graphs in your resume design. These can easily be overdone, and when you’re a recruiter going through hundreds of resumes, it’s simply too much to take in, so you move on.
Becky from Go Write2Hire sent us this tip.
Furthermore, employing fancy styles and fonts increases the likelihood of your resume being misprocessed by ATS. Upload your resume for a free ATS resume scan if you’re not sure if it will be processed correctly by ATS.
Resume Tip#12: Organize your parts well.
“To generate visual space, use separation. Divide your previous work experiences into sections and sub-sections, leaving at least a blank line of regular space between each. Use section headings to help you stay organised.”
“You want the reader of your resume to be able to go down your list—from one previous job experience to the next—without losing track of the facts. However, don’t do it using text boxes; they look cheesy and aren’t compatible with most applicant tracking systems. Because of a formatting problem, you don’t want your resume to end up in the trash file of the recruiting manager.”
Jan Hudson of Surf Search provided this tip.
Here you will find resume templates that are ATS compatible.
Resume Tip #13: Give your file a meaningful name.
As the filename, use FirstName-LastName.pdf (or something similar). Recruiters frequently save resumes in the same folder, and you’d be astonished how many resumes go missing just because they’re saved as “Resume.pdf”!
Use the active voice instead of the passive voice in your resume.
Using the active voice not only makes your resume more concise and less wordy, but it also makes it more impactful.
Stacy Caprio added the following example of employing the active voice:
“When composing your resume bullet points, use active voice rather than passive voice. This implies expressing something like “When I put up campaign X, I boosted income by X,” rather than “Campaign revenue grew by X when the campaign was set up.”
The first active voice example makes it evident that you were the one who took action and got the outcomes, which is crucial for your resume to stand out.”
Resume Tip #14: Make sure your resume is error-free. There are no mistakes in spelling or punctuation!
Although this may seem self-evident, you’d be astonished at how many resumes we’ve seen with spelling or grammar errors. Request that a friend look at your resume!
WikiJob’s James Rice also added, “It is vitally essential that you proofread your CV.” Recruiters will often discard resumes that contain typos or other problems. Don’t rely on spell-check to catch all mistakes; many typos will go undetected. Read the text slowly and carefully, paying attention to every word; it’s also a good idea to show it to a friend or tutor and have them read it. Make certain you submit a résumé that you can be proud of.
Resume Tip #15: After you’ve applied for a job, follow up!
“Take the time to follow up and check about the status of your submission rather than’submitting and forgetting.’ Include a link to your LinkedIn profile and make sure it’s up to date. If you have any recent LinkedIn recommendations, you’ll get bonus points. Plus, if you already follow the hiring organisation on LinkedIn, you’ll get bonus points.”
Stephanie Mahnken, who oversees Directom’s employment process, offers this advice.
If you’re looking for sample follow-up networking emails, click here!
Resume Tip #16: Don’t forget about cover letters!
Karen Elkins Cohen, Director of Human Resources, emphasises the necessity of including a cover letter with your CV.
“It’s not only your CV that matters; it’s also your cover letter. A well-written cover letter will get you in the door if your resume does not indicate where you satisfy every criterion. Use the structure of a template you find online, but not the exact words!
“Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the position offered at your organisation,” I’m seeing on many letters. Given the job description’s criteria, I am certain that I possess the requisite skills to competently perform the work and exceed expectations.” It’s a disaster.
“Instead, explain how your experience aligns with my qualifications in your cover letter. If I ask for a year of supervisory experience and you haven’t had any, that’s fine; tell me how your leadership experience (volunteer? college? church?) qualifies you to be a competent supervisor.
“Ensure that your resume matches up with your experience, education, and qualification information that may be found on your online profiles (e.g. LinkedIn)”
Resume Tip #17: Ensure that your resume is consistent with your online profiles (e.g. LinkedIn)
Ensure that your resume matches up with your experience, education, and qualification information that may be found on your online profiles.” If there are any discrepancies between the two, it could indicate that you have something to hide.
It could also indicate that you haven’t given your application the time and attention it deserves, and that you aren’t aware of how to successfully maintain your personal web brand – a red signal for individuals in commercial professions.”
Lars Herrem of the Nigel Wright Group provided this tip.
Resume Tip #18: Avoid using needless business jargon and acronyms on your resume.
Keep your resume’s phrasing as concise as feasible. Industry lingo and trade buzzwords are too specific, and you don’t want to risk your interview chances because the first HR employee doesn’t get it.
Of course, if the job post specifies a specific term or buzzword in the prerequisites or credentials, use it. These are keywords for a resume.
Resume Tip #19: When describing your accomplishments, use the correct tenses.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: your CV should be a brief summary of your accomplishments – things you’ve accomplished — not your responsibilities.
The majority of your bullet points should be written in the past tense. After all, it’s difficult to write about something you accomplished in the present tense. The majority of bullet points expressed in the present tense are usually duties rather than accomplishments. However, some bullet points can utilise the present tense — for example, if you’re now managing a team, you can describe your current role using the present tense ‘Manage.’