When lots of people are applying for the same open position, your resume has maybe, about three seconds to appeal to a hiring manager. There are key points that should always be included in your resume. If you forget to include one of them, or if something is unclear, you could lose any chance of being called for an interview.
Various job posting sites and online applications are a great way for recruiters to reach a wide audience, but it can also mean far more candidates. With so many more applications to review, it can take a lot longer to find the perfect fit for an open position. This puts a lot of pressure on hiring managers and can become an incredibly overwhelming experience. At the same time, the vacancies continue to put pressure on projects, teams, and companies.
For these reasons, it is more important than ever that your application/resume stands out. Chances are that lots of people will have similar expertise and experience as you, which means that it often comes down to the little things. For example, it is critical that your resume is easy to read and that the key points quickly and clearly pop out.
You also need to keep in mind how your application will be received. No one today is mailing a physical copy of their resume and cover letter to the HR department. More often than not, you will be submitting your resume online and it will be imported into an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This helps hiring managers organize and review information and quickly determine whether someone meets the qualifications of the open position. You should make sure that your resume makes it easy for the ATS to read, which will greatly increase your chances of progressing through the screening process. This means simple formatting and minimal design elements.
There is some boilerplate information that should be included on every resume. Make sure that you address each of the following points, and that they are clearly presented in the document. Forgetting any of these is one of the quickest ways to be disqualified for a position.
Various contact info: Never make someone search for more than two seconds for a way to get in touch with you. This should include an email address and phone number. Many people still include a physical address, but this is no longer necessary. If you would like, you can include city and state. Otherwise, it is recommended that you keep that personal information private. Lastly don’t have your name and contact information in the header of the document. Some ATS systems cannot read what is in the header, and therefore there is no way to contact you.
Degrees and Education: For many positions, the work experience that you have will be more important than whether you have a “brand name” diploma. While including this information may be more of a formality in many situations – especially if you graduated a long time ago – most employers do want to make sure that you have received your degree.
Relevant Work Experience: This is arguably the most important part of a resume. You need to demonstrate that you can do the job, and the best way to do this is to speak about your real-life experience. This does not mean just listing past companies and positions. Speak specifically to your responsibilities and contributions.
Summary: This is something that has become more common in modern resumes. At the beginning of your resume – underneath your name and contact information – clearly and succinctly state your credentials and why you are the right person for the position. This your chance to catch the hiring manager’s attention and make a positive impression. You only have a couple sentences, so use them wisely.
When your resume is cleanly formatted, you make it easier for both an ATS or a hiring manager to get a sense of who you are and whether or not you would be a good fit for the position. Before submitting your resume, have a trusted friend or colleague review the job posting alongside your resume to help identify any gaps or areas that could be improved.