A step-by-step guide to the world's best resume
Like most people new to the job market, you probably obsess about your resume. It’s up against some stiff competition — and not just other people’s GPAs and former jobs.
Resumes are growing bolder and old rules are quickly fading. Think resumes that mimic Snapchat Stories, boards, — even resumes you can We get it if you have resume envy.
Wanting to amp things up is understandable. Corporate jobs, on average, get some 250 resumes, but only 4 to 6 people are called in to talk, according to a 2015 survey from , so many people want to stand out. And wanting yours to be interactive — or thinking that it has to be — makes sense given the all-encompassing digital universe. But if you’re not going into a creative field, a clickable maze of a resume can actually turn off potential employers.
“(Millennials) are designing resumes in response to their own experiences,” says Louise Kursmark, author of . “But the resume is still a fairly traditional document.”
In fact, “sending an infographic resume (can) be seen as frivolous,” says Gayle Howard, author of.
Here’s another reason: time is not on your side. If you suspect that your resume is being skimmed and not read, you’d pretty much be right. On average, recruiters spend only about six seconds looking at a resume, according to . Experts say this gives you little time to get your points across.
“There’s this push that technology means a more engaging resume, but the problem is the person looking at a resume is maybe spending five to 10 seconds on it,” says Barbara Safani, an executive resume writer and the president of Career Solvers, a career consultancy.
“Glancing” at materials has become commonplace, agrees Kursmark.
“You want it to be short and easy to review. If hiring you is a task, I have 100 other applications that are not a task. Why waste my time?” says Wendy Enelow, author of over 25 books about resume writing.
Companies have to abide by fair hiring laws, including the record keeping of applicants and resumes for one year in case a lawsuit, say, is brought against the company, per the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This sorting and organizing process is now done by machines, which typically only know how to read text documents. Thus, when someone submits something other than a traditional resume, companies have to go through hoops to get it in the system.
OK, so the challenge is how to make your resume stand out without turning people off. Our experts have some excellent ideas.
1. PLEASE, PLEASE USE A DIFFERENT FONT
Maybe don’t break out the Comic Sans, but you can ditch the Times New Roman.
“If I look at 100 resumes, 90 of them will be in Times New Roman, and it causes me to hyperventilate,” says Enelow. She says go modern, like Calibri or Cambria. (Note: Save as a PDF. And don’t call the file “resume.pdf” – .)
“Use a modern font you would see on website. We’re accustomed to see it on a Web page, and on paper it will look fresh,” says Kursmark.
2. MAKE A SPLASH WITH COLOR
We’re not talking neon, but color used sparingly can give a resume just the right pop.
“I want a little bit of color and a little bit of design and style on a resume,” Enelow says. “Most people look at a resume online, so they are going to pull up a Word file and will be able to see a logo and color.”
3. BOLD DESIGNS HAVE THEIR PLACE
There are things you can do to knock it up a few notches, like not always aligning all the text flush left, using colored lines to separate sections and adding a border. They’ll all catch the eye and help direct someone through the various sections.
Separating your resume into engaging sections can help as well.
4. LINK, LINK, LINK
Everyone likes a good link. Plus, a pointed link can help your brand.
“Strut your stuff,” says Susan Vitale, chief marketing officer at , a provider of talent acquisition software. “A well-connected applicant should include a link to his or her LinkedIn profile and any relevant blogs, social pages, or publications as part of contact information.”
“For every job seeker, Millennial and otherwise, I would like to see live links on a resume that link to an email or personal website,” reaffirms Enelow. “LinkedIn is also a must.”
“It’s kind of like dating,” Kursmark adds. “You’re first attracted to their looks, and then you go deeper to determine if you’re a match.”
5. GO TEAM!
Employers like people who play well with others, and it helps to show them that you can. This can also help raise your profile.
“Put it in the perspective that you were part of team that helped a company do bigger things,” says Safani.
And while this may seem counterintuitive, she also suggests talking about classroom experiences, especially if you’re a recent grad with little work experience.
“A lot of students just say where they went to school, their GPA and what fraternity they were in,” Safani says. “Show relevant coursework and projects that you did that simulated something you would do in a work environment.”
6. USE KEYWORDS TO GAME THE SYSTEM (DID WE JUST SAY THAT?)
Technology is playing a growing role in the screening process and applicants should adapt. Many companies use applicant tracking systems, for example, that filter resumes via desired keywords or key phrases before moving someone, or not, on to the next level.
“The good news is that there are simple ways to optimize your application just by being aware of the resume-parsing technology basics,” says Vitale. “Include keywords relevant to your experience and do not overgeneralize, as that can be glossed over, both by the ATS — which is looking for words relevant to the job posting – and the hiring manager.”
She suggests, “Do what you can to ‘pack a punch’ in the summary section with tangible, specific information, whether that be tied to results, accomplishments or something else that speaks to your experience.”
Vitale also suggests that you use specific and accurate metrics when possible. “A resume-parsing ATS might bring those metrics directly to a hiring manager’s attention, giving you a huge advantage,” she says.
But don’t just copy and paste the job description onto your resume or cover letter.
“The biggest mistake people make is that they make their resumes look more like job descriptions,” Safani says. “Then nothing stands out, differentiates them or shows what value they bring to the job.”
And people, the machines are watching. The robots know when you’re stuffing your resume just to stuff it.
7. IF YOU’RE A CREATIVE, BE CREATIVE
OK, so you’re in a creative industry, and you want to show off your skills. The good news is an unusually designed or interactive resume could be the move for you.
“For 99% of job seekers … leave creativity to Crayola, (but the) exceptions (are) for someone seeking a ‘creative position.’ Think designer within marketing or another field where cutting edge is a necessity,” says Michelle Kruse, product manager at Nelnet, an education services company with a resume-focused subsidiary, ResumeEdge.
“If we’re seeking a candidate for a specifically creative role, sure, it’s interesting to see if there’s a unique take on the resume presentation,” says Todd Shallbetter, chief operating officer at Atari. “The ultimate key is whether or not the creative take is appealing to the stakeholders on our side. A style that is not agreeable to some can lead to a very quick judgment overall.”
Some existing interactive resumes are so well done they’ve become go-to examples. , a graphic designer, created a video-game resume that was nominated for a Webby in 2014 and is still getting buzz.
An-Ni Wang, a front-end developer at Phenomenon, a marketing firm in Los Angeles, also created an interactive resume worth looking at; potential employers can scroll through a “day in the life” of Wang and see her design experience.
“Try and make a connection between you and your potential employers,” Wang advises creative types.======================= **Important note** - contact our company for very powerful solutions for IP
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