The average recruiter will only spend six seconds looking at a resume, so it’s important to make the most of it. Two experts share the five things you need to do to make your resume stand out.
- Focus on your achievements
Leah Lambart, a career coach with Relaunch Me says resumes that are achievement-focused help employers identify how you have been successful in your previous roles. “Add key achievements under each of your most recent positions,” advises Lambart. This doesn’t necessarily have to include awards bonuses or promotions, but the ways in which you have made a difference to the business.
Lambart suggests highlighting specific achievements. “You could say that you developed a key external relationship that was vital to getting repeat business which increased revenues by $20K per year,” she suggests. “Or that you received excellent feedback from customers and suppliers on an ongoing basis which led to being offered a role within the customer service team.”
- Speak the same language
Job seekers should match the language used in your resume to the language in the advertisement or positions description. “If the recruiter is scanning your resume for keywords then it is easier if you are talking the same language,” Lambart says. “It signals you will be the right cultural fit for the organisation and that you will adapt quickly to working in their particular work environment.” It’s easy to match the language – for example, if the organisation refers to ‘clients’ in their job ad, do the same and don’t refer to them as ‘customers’.
- Only include relevant roles
A common mistake job seekers make is to list every job they’ve ever done on their resume. “A resume should highlight the roles, projects and experiences that are most relevant to the job,” says Lambart. “I would remove any information that is not relevant to the job as it takes up valuable real estate on your resume.”
- Spend time on the look of your resume
According to Katea Gidley, Managing Director of Raw Talent, a consulting group focused on graduate employability, recruiters appreciate resumes that are visually enticing. “Recruiters and hiring managers typically spend one to three minutes digesting a resume and will more readily engage with one page of compelling content that is communicated in a visually interesting manner,” she says. Gidley suggests having a well laid out summary page with plenty of white space that highlights your profile, experience, education (if relevant) and tangible and varied key career achievements.
- Respond specifically to the key selection criteria
You may think that you only need to address key selection criteria in your cover letter, but your resume provides a crucial opportunity to refer to the key selection criteria. “Each role has key selection criteria,” says Gidley. “If the resume responds to these, then you’re likely to remain in the selection process.”
By focusing on relevant job experience and highlighting achievements that translated into benefits for your previous employers, matching the language in your resume to that used in the job ad, paying attention to the visual presentation of your resume and responding specifically to the key selection criteria, you will be in a strong position to attract the attention of recruiters and land that all-important interview.