7 Tips to Get Your Resume Read

Julie Shenkman
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Twenty-four percentage of HR Pros believe that candidates fall flat when it comes to the resume, according to a survey by Nexxt. Combine that with all of the stats out there that say a recruiter only looks at your resume for 6 seconds, 8 seconds, and the most I’ve seen— 20 seconds—I’m not sure which is right—but it just goes to show resumes don’t get much attention, so how can you make sure yours is read?

1.  Less is More

Remember, they only spend 6 to 20 seconds reading your resume, so you shouldn’t be including all of your professional accomplishments. There’s just no way to fit everything unless you use a tiny font size—which almost guarantees you’ll be passed over by the recruiter. So, pick your most significant accomplishments, it’s okay if your resume is more than one page—but try to stick to two, and use a font that’s legible.

2.  Irrelevant Experience Is…Irrelevant

Only include work experience on your resume that’s relevant to the job for which you are applying. For instance, if you’re applying for a position as a software developer and you have past experience as a hostess, don’t include that experience on your resume. For each job you apply to you should tailor your resume to the position you’re seeking. Recruiters will favor your resume when they see that your experience is relevant to what they need in an employee.

3.  Sell Yourself

Remember those 6 or 20 seconds? You need to be able to sell yourself in that short period of time. Your resume needs to be concise, organized, and not only share your hard skills but also demonstrate your employability—aka your soft skills. If someone else with the exact same hard skills applies to the job, your soft skills will be the thing that helps you stand out.

4.  Buzzwords Can Be So Cliché …

Yes, even the word “buzzword” is cliché, but not when it’s done right. Want to have your resume standout to recruiters? When customizing your resume for the job you’re applying to, check out the company’s description and mission statement. Then incorporate some of the buzzwords they use to describe their company to describe you and your experience (as long as it is truthful).

5.  Name Dropping is Okay

Well recognized brands can give you the recognition you need. Even if you loosely worked with a big brand, mention it on your resume. This helps increase your credibility.

6.  Make it Easy to Read

Organize your resume so it’s easy to read and therefore easy to digest—remember recruiters only spend 8-ish seconds reading it! Use bullet points instead of paragraphs and limit those points to no more than six.

7.  Overcrowding is Overdone

Like mentioned above—formatting, font, and the use of space is key. Leave space around key points that you don’t want to be missed and use a format that’s easy to read.

Now, take a few minutes and check out your resume.  Do you have any of the above issues?  Make sure that you take some time and make the necessary changes.  Let yours be the resume that garners that interview and, ultimately, the job!  Are there any other tips that you would offer to other job seekers?



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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Bettakeri U. thanks for your comment. Certainly you can add that to the bottom of your resume. Just make sure that you have the information available should they request it.

  • Bettakeri U.
    Bettakeri U.

    Is it OK to just write a line at the bottom of the resume "Patents and Publications: Details available upon request" rather than adding additional pages to a 2 page resume?

  • Atta M.
    Atta M.

    Very good advice

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Jeff Kidder thanks for your comment. If you wish, you can add it but just sort of as a place-holder. I.e. Houlihan's, Main City USA, From Date to Date, Title - Hostess. Then leave it at that. Or you can always add a subheader such as "Other Work Experience" and then just list them down - without going into detail. However, on the day of the interview, you will want to have all of your work experience readily available so that you can glance at it and discuss it should the interviewer go there. Hope that helps.

  • Jeff Kidder
    Jeff Kidder

    When leaving out irrelevant experiences, how do you get past gaps in history?



  • Sandra W.
    Sandra W.

    I agree great advice

  • Elizabeth M.
    Elizabeth M.

    very helpful

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