Writing a resume that gets results is a challenge for most people. Yet, it’s imperative if you want to get hired. So how can you tell if you’ve made your case and created a resume that stands stronger against other candidates? You need to make sure yours is optimized, easy to read, and compelling. Ask yourself these questions to check that it is.
What is an ATS and why is it important?
Answer: An ATS is an Applicant Tracking System. It’s software that uses algorithms based on parameters set by an employer. It screens resumes that are submitted in response to a job posting, so that hiring managers and recruiters can focus on other aspects of the hiring process, like interviews.
This means, in many cases, your resume is first seen by a robot to determine if you’re a good fit. According to reports, around 75% of resumes don’t make it through the ATS due to improper formatting and lack of keywords.
How long should my resume be?
Answer: This depends on how much experience you have. If you have several years or more in your field, then a two page resume makes sense. It will allow you to dive deeper into your background and showcase your accomplishments. A longer resume also enables you to better optimize it for an ATS since there’s more opportunities for keywords.
If, however, you’re an entry level worker, stick to one page. There’s not enough experience in your background to justify writing a two-page resume.
Should an objective be included?
Answer: Gone are the days of the objective at the top of every resume. This simply wastes space with a statement that the hiring manager knows: you want to get the job. Instead, use this space to list a Summary of Qualifications in bullet point format. These should be your key skills and accomplishments that are most relevant to the job opportunity. The information you list here should therefore be customized for each position you apply to.
How long does a hiring manager take to read through a resume?
Answer: Around 10 seconds. It’s a shocking number but a good reminder that you really do only have a few seconds to make a good impression. This is why a Summary of Qualifications can be especially impactful. It’s also important to format your resume in a way that is easy to read, with bullet points, bolded job titles, one-inch margins, and a font size no smaller than 11 points.
What’s the best way to start each sentence?
Answer: When you’re writing your resume, use action verbs and descriptive language, rather than passive words. Examples include “Analyzed,” “Led,” “Researched,” or “Spearheaded.” This type of language is more powerful and persuasive, showcasing your actions and the results you achieved.
Is it ok to use abbreviations?
Answer: Think of your resume as a formal business document. Use the full name of colleges, cities, degrees and other words (like Street instead of St.) and skip the abbreviations at the first mention. However, if you mention the word again, then you can abbreviate it. This also helps with optimizing your resume for the ATS since it allows you to utilize variations of keywords.
What’s the biggest reason resumes are discarded?
Answer: There are several. The first primary reason is due to spelling and grammatical errors. One won’t ruin your chances, but a resume filled with them will be passed over.
Another issue that is surprisingly common? Including a headshot. Unless you’re applying for an acting gig, it’s never ok to include a headshot. If you do, it can actually increase your odds of not getting called for an interview because a hiring manager doesn’t want to be perceived as biased based on your appearance.
Another reason resumes get the boot? An unprofessional email address. Make sure your email address isn’t something like firstname.lastname@example.org and create a professional one with just your name.
Should references be on a resume?
Answer: No, the hiring manager will either ask you to bring a list of references to an interview, or ask about references later in the hiring process. So, you don’t need to include references.
However, if you have a mutual acquaintance, you can mention it in your resume as an ice breaker (as long as you check with your acquaintance first). Also, skip the “references available upon request” statement on your resume. This wastes space and is unnecessary.
Do you need help avoiding mistakes and crafting a killer resume?
Answer: Whatever type of job you’re looking for, the resume writers at ResumeSpice can help you make your case as to why you’re a great fit candidate. We can simply edit your resume if it just needs some polishing, or completely write it from scratch, so it’s more compelling. When we’re done, you’ll get a great resume that stands out. Simply reach out at 832.930.7378 or contact us online to get started.