Recruiters are really rushed. They only have a few seconds to look at your resume, along with thousands of other resumes. Every single day, in some cases. So it’s really important to make sure your resume is presented in a way that makes the recruitment manager pause for those vital few seconds that might get them reading, before moving onto the next offering.
1. A Good Title
Have a title or header that tells the recruiter something vital about you. Don’t just put ‘Bob’s Resume’, or ‘My Work History’. Make it relevant to the position you are applying for. For example, if you’re applying for a sales role, perhaps use, “Bob Smith, Sales and Marketing Executive.” The recruiter wants to see something that makes them think it’s worth their time to read a bit more.
2. Two Sides Only
This should be a resume mantra. No recruiter is going to sit down and read three, four or more sides of information. If you have reams of information that is truly relevant to the position you’re applying for, fantastic. Include it in the cover letter. Save it for the interview. Don’t try and squeeze it into your resume. Keep a resume to key points, achievements and relevant career experience. And no one wants to know that you grow cacti in your spare time, unless you’re a horticultural professional.
3. Font Matters
There are differences of opinion on this. Some recruitment advisers think that Times New Roman is to be avoided as it makes your resume look like everyone else’s. Others think it’s a great font as it’s narrow and allows you to fit more information into the recommended two sides. Avoid ‘fun’ fonts such as Comic Sans. Although they will make your resume stand out, unfortunately it will be for the wrong reasons. Always keep the font the same throughout, and large enough to read without a magnifying glass.
4. Good Quality Paper
When sending a hard copy of a resume, a slightly heavier paper stock, or a slightly different color than white (without going wild) can really make your resume stand out. Remember, recruiters deal with thousands of resumes. Low-quality copy paper can end up looking a bit smudged and dull. High quality, heavy paper will feel pleasant to the touch and will look crisper and more professional.
Returning to digital resumes, learn how to add a hyperlink. Got your email address at the top of the resume? Great. Make sure the recruitment manager can click on this to reach you immediately should they need further information or, hopefully, to let you know you’ve got an interview. Not sure if it’s worked? Email your resume to yourself and check it works.
6. Key Points in Bold
Don’t highlight massive chunks of your resume, as this can look messy and can actually guide the eye incorrectly. However, a few key points in bold stand out very well, and can help the busy recruiter pick out keywords and phrases that are relevant to the position you’re applying for. Mirror the language of the job posting to give you the best chance to pass the sift. If you’re a customer service manager, but the role is client service manager, adjust your language to match. The meaning isn’t changed, and it vastly improves your chance of having your resume read.
7. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread
Resumes with spelling mistakes get thrown out. Resumes with grammar errors get thrown out. Make the most of spell checker, and maybe invest in an app such as Grammarly or similar to give you the best chance at perfection. The absolute best thing you can do is get someone else, preferably someone in your profession or hopeful profession, to read your resume and make sure it’s visually appealing and above all, relevant for the job you’re applying for.