No matter how many times you may have done it, writing your own resume doesn’t get any easier.
According to research done by an American job-matching service and employment website called The Ladders, most recruiters have made up their mind in the first six seconds of scanning your resume, and within that short timeframe, they’ve already noted everything from your name to your education, to your current title and company, and previous title and company.
How can you make those six seconds count?
While there is always a little bit of luck involved in whether or not your resume makes it past the first screening, there are certainly things you can do to increase your chances of being shortlisted.
Karen recommends that job seekers take the time to polish up the specific areas that will catch a recruiter’s attention as they are scanning.
“If you have a brand new degree from a prestigious university then push education up higher on the page,” she suggests. “For job seekers fresh out of school, the education and skills summary are the key sections of your resume.”
“But, if you have a previous position that makes you a great match for an advertised job, there's no rule that says you can't highlight your work history and put education further down the page,” she adds.
Watts also emphasises that it's key to understand the culture of a company and the expectations of the department where you want to interview.
“There are generational and industry differences in what hiring managers want to see in the way of application materials,” she explains.
“A polished, traditional resume might get you plenty of attention as a finance professional, whereas a company looking for a marketing, PR, or social media person will be expecting more on your LinkedIn profile, your social media profiles and perhaps a dedicated website about your qualifications.”
Ditch old fashioned and outdated language like "objective statement" and "references available upon request"
Get your branding, skills summary and contact info in the top third of page 1
Talk about results and not duties at your previous jobs
Always read your resume backwards (end to front) before sending. This helps you to find any tiny mistakes you might otherwise gloss over.