Building a strong resume is one of the quickest ways to land a job that one is passionate about. The reason why is quite simple and boils down to the fact that most recruiters begin the hiring process by reviewing numerous resumes to narrow down the initial candidates. Although they only dedicate this task a few seconds per person, candidates with formidable documentation will stand out. Consequently, they will be much more likely to get a formal interview that could lead to a job offer.
Unfortunately, a lot of students and working professionals do not know the extent to which their resume must be polished. In most cases, people overly focus on formatting and visual appeal. Even though these are quite important, there are many other factors that have to be taken into account. So, what are six secrets to creating a great resume that will stun recruiters?
1. Do Not Exceed One Page
Other than seasoned professionals who have decades of applicable experience, no person should allow their resume to exceed a single page. This is because the recruiters almost never spend more than a few seconds on analyzing some candidate’s resume. So, if they have to go through the front and back, per se, they will be much less inclined to focus on that person. Why? Because the process of finding the relevant information will take longer since it is spread out over an unnecessary length. Instead, manipulating the formatting and margins to get some extra room is a much better compromise.
2. Avoid Oversharing
According to the International Career Institute, resumes should not include an abundance of details. For example, sharing previous internship experience is perfectly fine. Moreover, it is encouraged as it increases the odds that the recruiter will be interested. Using resume space to talk about every little task that was done during that internship, however, is a possible red flag. People who look at resumes mostly focus on the titles and subheadings. They seldom go into the bullet points of each job or educational line and read further into it during their first pass. Hence why oversharing is a waste of time that can be an unnecessary distraction from more important points.
3. Use Applicable Titles and Subheadings
If an aspiring accountant is applying for a job, their resume should have words that show accounting knowledge. This could include everything from CPA-related keywords to actual tax or audit tasks that accounting firms require one to do. One of the main ideas here is to showcase that the candidate understands their profession. Of course, this will be a very limited way of doing so. Nonetheless, the goal of a resume is not to get one hired, it is to help the prospective employee secure a follow-up interview where they can impress the interviewer.
4. Cherry-pick the Best
Working on an ice cream truck during the summer is certainly a fun job. In fact, it could even serve as a conversation starter that helps the candidate build personality. It is not, however, a good line item to list on a resume during an application to a law firm. Regardless of how few job experiences one may have, it is better to have only one related position listed than five completely pointless periods of employment. So, the candidate should focus on listing items that they would like to see if they were in the shoes of the recruiter.
5. Request Feedback
As the International Career Institute reminds, almost every large school or career management center has resources for people who struggle with their resumes. These include workshops and one-on-one feedback sessions that are confidential. The purpose here is to pair the candidate with someone who has experience in the area and understands what the final output should look like. These types of services are usually great for individuals who are not sure where to begin or may not have enough work history.
There are also paid resume writers and classes which can be an invaluable boost to those in need of a world-class resume.
6. Do Not Live in the Past
The final advice when creating a resume revolves around the time orientation of it. In other words, it is crucial to focus on the future and the job that the person is applying for. Consider, for instance, an experienced professional in marketing who is looking to find another job. If this person has years of experience, they should not list any details about things like education and early jobs. In other words, saying that their Grade Point Average is 4.0 was a great idea when they first graduated from college. Now, however, recruiters are going to want to see their background, projects that they worked on, quantifiable results, and so on. Thus, knowing that certain items should be left out once the candidate reaches a certain age or level in their career can help them get more opportunities.
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