How many times have you heard that, on average, a hiring manager initially spends just 7 seconds reviewing a resume? Considering the amount of work that goes into a job application, that’s really not much time to convince someone that you should proceed to the next stage of the application process.
The good news is there are a few tried and tested ways to grab a hiring manager’s attention in that short space of time. So, whether you’re starting from scratch or your resume just needs a tweak, we’ve compiled a list of tips that will help ensure your application journey doesn’t end before it’s even begun.
Tailor your resume
Hiring managers are going to know if you’ve sent them a generic resume – after all, they do this for a living! So the best advice is not to do it. A general resume might make you seem impressive but it won’t address the points the hiring manager is looking for. Take the time to read and then reread the job description and tailor your resume to reflect the requirements. You can even put your resume side-by-side with the job description and tick off key requirements as you address them.
Keywords are key
There may be a number of words and phrases that are repeated in the job description. Organisations are increasingly using screening software to scan resumes for these keywords, with only the best ones making it to the desk of the hiring manager or recruiter. Make it easy for human and machine by putting these keywords in a prominent position on your resume. For example, if skills in Adobe are mentioned early on in the job description, make sure it’s mentioned high up on your resume.
Basic is best
It might seem counterintuitive but boring resumes can work best when it comes to making an impression, unless you’re applying for a design job. Recruiters and screening software struggle to quickly parse resumes with ornate layouts, so it’s best to stick to a very simple arrangement free of images and fancy formatting.
The same goes for the language you use. When addressing the key requirements, get to the point - hiring managers don’t want to sift through paragraphs of fluff before they see anything pertinent. Include the attributes, skills and experiences that are most important in clear, easy to read points.
Don’t limit yourself to ‘job’ experience
If you’re applying for an entry level job, the recruiter will be anticipating a number of applicants with little-to-no professional work experience. How well you’re able to demonstrate relevant experience from outside the workplace is going to be what differentiates you from the crowd.
Talk about instances at uni, or internships, or volunteering, in which you demonstrated skills that are relevant to the role. For example, include your experience being a team leader in group projects as a way to demonstrate your skills in teamwork, communication, and problem solving. Put this under a different heading to work experience, such as ‘relevant experience’.
Did you know you can now receive instant feedback on your resume through VMock? Use YOURSTUDENTID@student.curtin.edu.au email to create an account, and upload your resume for immediate review.