All job seekers like to think their resume will stand out for the crowd when it is submitted for a job.
The reality is in many instances, a resume isn’t actually read from start to finish, and it is looked at for only a few seconds before it is placed on one of two piles. This can be for further reading or the rejected pile.
For this reason, it is crucial to make sure what employers look for in a resume stands out at the very first glance.
Due to the highly competitive job market, there is an overwhelming number of applicants for each position. Many of which aren’t qualified for the position on offer.
With many applications offering point and click applications, there are job seekers who apply for lots of jobs in the hope of landing one.
Employers Receiving Resumes
Writing a good resume is the start of making you stand out against all of these other applicants.
This isn’t as easy as it sounds, and it will take some conscientious thought of the content included. One of the best things you can wish for when writing your resume is understanding what do employers look for.
First off, it should be highlighted, that for some positions, the received resumes are scanned by automated software for the initial reading. All of the information is scanned, and the application is filed away on a database.
When the hiring managers look at possible candidates, they search for keywords. This is the same if they scan over a resume by eye or by the use of the Applicant Tracking System. In both instances, it takes seconds for your resume to be read.
If the right words aren’t shown on a resume, it can quickly go on the rejected or maybe piles, or in the case of automation, it might never be read by a physical person.
How Employers Review Resumes
Forgetting the software approach, when constructing your resume, you need to know the top skills employers look for.
These will be the keywords a hiring manager will search for. When they first review a resume, any summary at the top of a resume will be disregarded, and they will jump straight to the work history.
This is where they will search for the skills they require, and how long any candidate has been in their last position. If none of the skills keywords is found, they will head onto the next resume.
This way of working is flawed because there could be a vast number of applicants who have the skills, but, they just haven’t got the best laid out resume to display the information.
Resume Secrets for Standing Out
As we have just seen, what looks good on a resume can be missed quite easily. With this in mind, it is crucial to have a resume which is well laid out, and the information is visible without a hiring manager needing to read swathes of text.
Jumping from the page is the goal, so here are a few pointers to make sure you get noticed.
- Make your relevant work history clearly visible
- Certifications, skills and experience should jump out. A bold interface can quickly draw an employer’s eye to these.
- All of the terminologies you use should match the job description, this is how they will read what is in front of them.
- Avoid long sentences, brief and easy to digest phrases are concise enough to be spotted.
When you are writing your resume, you should do so from the employer’s point of view. What skills employers look for should be the main focus of your resume.
What not to do on Your Resume
When writing your resume and making sure you highlight your skills, there are a couple of things you might be tempted to do to bolster the impression of you.
Doing either is a real no-no and can quickly get your resume rejected. Managers or software also look for things they don’t want as well as what they do want.
Never add fluff or filler words. This can include clichés or common words you think they will want to see.
Such things as “strong leadership skills” are highly generic and will be on most other resumes. It is much better to say you “served as a team leader to complete a project.”
Never glamorise your achievements or take a team’s credit as your own. Resumes are the first step, and if you are accepted for an interview, you need to back up the information you have contained.
You will at some stage need to back up your skills and achievements, deviating from the exact truth will come back and bite you.
Resumes at a Glance
As has been mentioned, managers will spend seconds looking at resumes for the initial reading, so all the characteristics of a good resume should be there supporting your application.
Here is a brief list of precisely what potential employers look for while they are holding the piece of paper in front of them
- Easy to read resumes – all your resume should be easy to read and navigate around. Fonts should be clearly visible yet not too large. Be sure your resume can be read both in person and also on screen.
- Skills to match – Employers are looking for candidates which match the skills they have listed in their job description. Make sure all your skills fall in line with what they have asked for and are clearly distinguishable from others you might have.
- Easy to Follow – Your resume should be logical and easy to read. It should be an overview, yet detailed enough to tell your story, and not your life history. Keep things simple, concise and relevant.
Formatting a good resume can have a significant impact on readability, and many people have skills for the job, but they just don’t know what the best way to present it is.
For this reason, there are a vast number of people who now seek assistance from professional resume writing services.
This can ultimately make all the difference, and make sure that an employer can see what they really want to see on your resume.