A study* suggests recruiters spend merely 6 seconds on a resume before deciding if a candidate fits a position. So yours has to be lean, smart, and impactful – the most attractive one in the pile.
Every character counts; filling up precious space with minute details is a good way to make a bad impression…like monopolizing the conversation on a first date. Your resume should align with your current job search and demonstrate your best skills and accomplishments – and certain items should be left out.
Having excessive “fluff” causes hiring managers to get bored and move on to the next candidate, like a speed date with no hope of a second one! Check out the article “How to Quit Writing Bad Resumes” on CareerThoughts.com (where I’ve been quoted!) for tips on what to remove from your resume right now to make it more effective. Use it as a guide to improve and refresh yours to make more of an impact – and a good first impression!
Should it Stay or Should it Go?
- Your accomplishments, quantified – use numbers, percentages, or how you met and exceeded certain goals.
- Your experience and achievements as related to the position for which you’re applying – and yes, you DO have to customize your resume specifically for each position.
- Industry keywords and phrases proving your abilities, skills, and fit for the job – use terms specifically listed in the description of the job you want.
- A strong professional summary – show your skills and what you offer a company.
- Contact details – on every page, in case they get separated.
- A picture in words of your career path – show promotions, and how you progressed to your present role.
- Your potential – how you can contribute to the company by proving your value.
- “References available upon request” – this is so common it’s understood by hiring managers; saying it on your resume just takes up space.
- Personal interests – your hobbies give you depth and texture, but your resume may not necessarily be the place for this.
- Anything over 15 years old – if there are skills from your older experience that align perfectly with a position now, allude to it in a brief phrase like “prior experiences include…”
- Excessive details – always remember, you’ve got 6 seconds; summarize your experience and skill set to align with the position for which you’re applying.
- Irrelevant education – if you’re a college grad it’s assumed you were a high school (and grammar school) grad, too! Leave on your highest attained degrees…but ditch the rest.
A trim, sharp, smart resume will help get you noticed on a ‘speed date’ with a hiring manager. It’s important to understand what’s pertinent to include and what to leave out. Use this list as you develop yours, and be sure to check out the article “How to Quit Writing Bad Resumes” for more advice!
*From Eye Tracking Online Metacognition: Cognitive Complexity and Recruiter Decision Making. Will Evans, Head of User Experience Design, TheLadders. 2012.