How to create a strong resume: useful tips for candidates and recruiters
The ability to present yourself correctly, emphasize your strengths, and hide your shortcomings, is 50% of success in finding your dream job. And it is no secret that your self-promotion starts with your resume.
A well-written strong resume will attract recruiters’ attention to your candidacy and allow you to begin the recruitment ladder. Therefore, it is very important to know how to write a resume appropriately, what recruiters pay attention to, and what to include and what not to include.
And it is these and similar questions, resume tips and resume mistakes that we will try to clear up in the article.
As a rule, these two concepts are perceived as interchangeable, but there is a difference between them, and quite significant.
A resume is a short one or two-page document that contains only the key facts about your education, professional experience, qualifications, and skills. Resumes are normally used to apply for a job.
A CV, or Curriculum Vitae, is a longer document, not limited in size. It details your education and the entire course of your professional career. A CV is usually used to apply for admission to a university.
How to arrange and what to include in the resume?
According to the study by The Ladder, recruiters spend, on average, 7,4 seconds scanning a resume. And in those seconds, while skimming the information in the resume, they decide whether to invite the candidate for an interview or move to the next resume on the list.
This study has also shown that resumes with simple layouts, clear fonts, mission statements, bold job titles, and achievement lists are the most attractive to recruiters.
As for the content of the resume, based on the same study by The Ladder and the personal experience of OnHires recruiters, the following components should be included:
Name and contact information.
Your full name and contact information should be the first thing the recruiter will see when they examine your resume. They should know exactly how to contact you, so start the resume with this section.
Your contact information should contain your phone number with the country code, work email address, LinkedIn URL, and the link to your online portfolio if you have one.
The goal of your resume.
The goal is to tell the hiring team what job you are looking for, why you should be hired for the position, and explain in one or two sentences why you are applying for this exact role.
At the same time, your resume will prove your capabilities.
Highlight those qualifications that match the job description or demonstrate the advanced level of training in your field. Be sure to include your resume certificates, work-related continuing education, and any other training illustrating your capabilities in this section.
The work experience section should include jobs, internships, and any other relevant experience for your career area.
Specify the following information when listing your work experience:
dates of employment.
For each job, list the job responsibilities and accomplishments. Use action words when describing your work. In addition, a positive response is caused by demonstrating that you positively impacted your previous company’s profits.
Skills and certificates.
Add to this section any certificates or skills relevant to the role you are applying for. This may include the following:
Some of the information you possess shouldn’t be added to your resume if you want to make a good impression and get at least an invitation to the job interview:
The email address you use for personal communications.
Such addresses (email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org, etc.) often look quite extravagant but by no means make the recruiter want to write you. Besides, they will not make a professional impression on the recruiter.
Your postal address.
This information will be of no value to your potential employer. On the other hand, disclosure of such information may pose a threat to your personal safety.
Your salary expectations.
By including this information in your resume, you limit yourself to those positions that might slightly exceed your expectations. You will most likely be asked about your salary range during the interview.
All the jobs you have ever had.
Enclose to the resume only those positions that characterize you favorably and demonstrate your professional growth and valuable skills.
Your images may not appeal to the recruiter and take up valuable space. Leave your photos for social networks. Let your professional experience, skills, and qualifications speak about you.
What should recruiters pay attention to while scanning a resume?
Most resumes are usually quite dry and concise. Nevertheless, there are some significant details that recruiters should never ignore.
These details have a lot to say about candidates, and they are far from their best qualities:
Poor formatting, missing words, incorrect business names, employment dates, cut-and-paste errors, and other such things show that the owner of such a resume has put little effort into making the resume as attractive as possible and can be just as careless in performing their job duties.
Illiterate resume with spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors.
This resume makes a lousy impression, positioning its author as an illiterate, unambitious person with low self-esteem. These and similar features may later be fully reflected in the candidate’s manner of work.
Lack of customization.
If the candidate cannot tailor their resume or cover letter per the employer’s demands, this is a serious sign. This may tell the candidate has no reason to apply for the position and will simply waste the recruiter’s time.
No compliance with the employer’s instructions.
The candidate’s failure to include all the requested elements in the application, like a cover letter or references other than a resume, demonstrates either the candidate’s laziness or inability to follow instructions. In the same way, this candidate may behave in the workplace. Do not waste time on such a person.
Multiple career changes.
People who toss from side to side, constantly changing one branch of work for another, as a rule, do not know what they really want to do. They still have not found themselves and cannot show their professional qualities anywhere. Likely, they will not stay for long at their new workplace either.
Multiple places of work.
With the applicant who does not stay anywhere for a long time, it is worth exercising maximum caution. Such a sign may indicate that the applicant pays little attention to work and cannot or does not seek to meet the employer’s requirements. Perhaps this person is conflicted and has no skills to work in a team and cooperate productively with colleagues.
Unexpected gaps in employment.
Employment gaps in and of themselves are not bad news. They may happen because of forced relocation, difficult family circumstances, or maternity leave. But suppose the resume contains long breaks in work without any reasonable explanation. In that case, this may say that the applicant is actually looking not for a job but for the opportunity to find a warm place where they do not need to strain too much and do a lot.
Regression or complete calm in career growth.
If the candidate spent quite a long time working for one company in the same position and not only did climb the career ladder but even went down, it is unlikely this person may be useful to any business. Such factors indicate that the candidate lacks initiative, is unmotivated, and most likely does not have sufficient qualifications for any job.
Writing a perfect resume that grabs the recruiter’s attention for more than seven seconds is not hard. It is enough to take a responsible approach to its compilation and consider the nuances listed above. And then the coveted invitation to the interview, and, after that, the offer of your dream job is practically in your pocket.
But remember that highly qualified recruiters will closely monitor all your mistakes to choose among the best candidates for the position.