By George Marchant, Technical Recruiter
Published: May 2023
A resume is a document that represents one’s experience in their professional career. It is a glimpse in to one’s ability and track record that may or may not translate to future success in a job in the eyes of an employer. Resumes allow someone responsible for hiring to quickly understand an applicant’s abilities for a given role within a company. The individual reviewing the resume will be faced with making a determination if they feel this person is worthy of an interview for the position for which they are being considered. Typically, the resume is the golden ticket to getting an interview or next step of consideration for a role which makes it such a critical component for job seekers to have success.
There are some ground rules for a resume which include the basics such as grammatical accuracy, font size, and overall consistency and flow. Beyond the basic formatting and structure of a resume is where one can use their creativity and marketing skills to best showcase themselves for a given position to which they are applying. You can think about this through the eyes of a marketer. Think as though you are running a commercial and you need to pitch a product (which is yourself) to the company. How can you get them to purchase or bid on this product? What is it that you can provide to them that will improve their existing team? What value are you adding? Having these questions in mind when writing a resume will set apart someone from the competition. Often resumes are reviewed within a number of seconds by recruiters and hiring managers so it is critical to think about how you best present the information through the eyes of someone on the other side of the table.
I am a believer in a short summary at the top of the resume to captivate the audience and draw in the reader. This is a snapshot of your top skills that are most impressive to someone who is unfamiliar with your work. From there you can go in to each work experience and list what you have done in the past and what experience you bring to the table. Using specific numbers and data in your experience will demonstrate the specific impact that you had with a given employer. Leveraging metrics will be your best bet in successfully communicating your impact and the scope of the work you have been involved in.
Keep the resume concise and to the point. I usually recommend no more than 1 page per 5-10 years of experience. 1-2 pages is usually plenty for most professionals with the 3+ page resume being something that is a recommended in rare cases. A recruiter may not even look beyond the second page due to time constraints so really try your best to consolidate information down to just a couple of pages.
Think about what the job poster is looking for in prospective candidates and tailor your resume to highlight your skills that align with the role. A generic resume that you share with different companies is far less likely to stand out to a hiring team versus a resume that is tailored to that particular role that you are applying to. Telling a story to the hiring team with convincing attributes and experiences that relate to the role will go a long way in their decision making.
Applying to jobs can be an arduous and cumbersome task. Strategic ways to stand out and increase your chances to get an interview require creative solutions. Applying directly through a company’s website and careers page is another way to stand out amongst the crowd versus applying through a job board that has significantly easier access to applications from your competition. The company website is generally a more streamlined route to the hiring team internally that is a direct decision maker for getting you an interview.
Implementing these strategies can be the difference between getting an interview and having your resume lost in the abyss of applications. Continuing to refine your resume over time can make the difference between getting your dream job and future career prospects. Take everything in stride and also consider leaning in on your network to help you get a second opinion before sending out applications and try out some of these strategies and hopefully you will have more success in your future job prospects.
Mr. Marchant is a technical recruiter and has ten years strategic staffing experience for Fortune 500, large enterprises, and small-mid-sized companies. In this capacity, he works as a technical recruiter to analyze and identify hiring needs to develop a recruitment plan. He has extensive experience in screening and interviewing candidates over a broad spectrum – technical and non-technical, work force and executive levels. Mr. Marchant presents on career and employment issues and joined NITP as a visiting speaker in 2022.
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