A study conducted by TheLadders, an online job board, found that recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing an individual resume. What does this mean for the typical job seeker? It means that it takes more time to type your name on the top of your resume than it does for a recruiter to decide whether or not you’re a fit for a job. This study emphasizes the need to avoid unnecessary or distracting information in your resume. Here are six tips to make every second count.
- Proofread – Typographical and grammatical errors give the impression of carelessness and inattention to detail. Misspelling keywords, job titles, company names, and technologies are a major red flag and, depending on who’s reading it, may disqualify your resume right away.
- Include Specific Dates – Including only years of employment or omitting dates entirely is a common mistake. A resume that excludes specific start and end dates makes it look like you’re covering up a gap in employment. Your best bet is to explain any gaps in employment rather than leaving out information.
- Length – Everyone has their own take on the ideal length of a resume. Some say one page, others say three, still others five. In reality there is no maximum page length for a resume. I’ve never heard a recruiter say they loved a candidate’s resume but decided not to pursue them because it was six pages. However, keep it concise. If your resume focuses on the highlights of each position throughout your career then it will be easier for a recruiter to read.
- Use Consistent Formatting – The use of consistent formatting throughout your resume is crucial to keeping the reader engaged. Recruiters are looking for company name, location, dates of employment, title, and a summary of your responsibilities for each role. Avoid large blocks of uninterrupted text, fancy designs and fonts, tables, and headers/footers. Keep it simple and minimize clutter.
- Replace your Objective with a Summary – “To gain a position with an organization which will allow me to utilize my skills, abilities, and experience to ensure the company’s success.” Objectives like these are usually as boring to read as they are uninformative. Replace the generic objective statement with a brief summary outlining skills, accomplishments, and the specific value you bring to an organization.
- Omit Personal Details – Hobbies, photos, references, and personal information (i.e. marital status) on a resume are unnecessary. The statement “References Provided upon Request” is also not needed. Recruiters are already aware that candidates will provide references if requested.
In today’s highly competitive market recruiters are often the gatekeepers between you and your ideal job. Following these tips will help you gain an advantage in your job search by ensuring that recruiters are reading what you want them to read in the short amount of time they have to read it.
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