In today’s working world, if your resume does not immediately stand out, it most likely will land itself in the trash can. Hiring managers attention spans are short and with the many daily tasks that are required of them, looking over an ill-written resume is the last thing they want to be wasting their time with. According to research done by TheLadders, an online job search service (Check them out! They provide a free resume review online), hiring managers spend just six seconds looking at a resume before deciding whether the applicant is deemed worthy of further consideration (That’s if a human looks at it all; before your application even reaches a hiring manager, it usually has to make it past an automated applicant tracking system.)
As hiring continues to increase, job seekers will face some stiff competition this year. Follow the tips below to make your resume stand out in 2016!
1. Enhance your contact information.
Recently, I attended a ‘Life After Athletics’ event on Sunday and my friends from Northwestern Mutual (an official partner of the NCAA) suggested that putting down your campus address and home address would be wise. “Putting down both your home and college campus address allows me to see where we could put you. Since there are multiple branches in the state, I can then put you in contact with people that you could possibly work for in the summer making it easier for you to commute everyday,” Andy (Managing Director) of Northwestern Mutual said.
In addition, make it easy on the hiring manager by hyperlinking your email address so that you’re only one click away, says Wendy Enelow, co-author of Modernize Your Resume: Get Noticed…Get Hired. Keep in mind that you expose yourself to identity theft if you you include your full mailing address, says Enelow, so only put your city, state, and zip code on your resume. Also, use active links to your LinkedIn profile and any other social media accounts that are fit for recruiters.
2. Make the page “pop.”
Depending on the industry or field you are going into, you can distinguish your resume by punching up the design, but exercise with caution: a graphic artist, for example, has more creative leeway than say, an accountant.
Enelow’s co-author Louise Kursmark recommends using color to make your resume unique. To stay professional, consider making only section headers blue, for example, and leaving the rest in black, Kursmark suggests. And replace the outdated Times New Roman with a more modern font such as Cambria, Calibri, or Georgia, Enelow says. (As standard typefaces, they translate well between operating systems.)
In addition, if you do have creative leeway to make your resume more exciting, I highly suggest using Creative Market. It is a site where you can buy templates of resumes, CV’s and lots more! If you sign up to join their mailing list, you will receive discount codes for a percentage off particular items! My resume below is a template from Creative Market that I changed around to make it my own. I purchased it for only $4!
3. Ditch the objective statement…
Today’s hiring managers aren’t concerned with what it is you’re looking for–they’re focus is on finding the right hire. Thus, “the objective statement has become obsolete,” says Tiffani Murray, an HR professional and resume writer at Atlanta-based Personality On a Page.
…and lead with a professional summary
To capture the hiring manager’s attention, start your resume with a short professional synopsis that states your years of experience, job history, and big career achievements. Instead of labeling the section “summary,” use the header to highlight your area of expertise, says Enelow.
4. Keep it short and simple
There has been much debate on how long or short your resume should be, and again, it goes back to your industry. A two-page resume may be appropriate for someone with 30 years’ experience–not for a recent college graduate. As a college student putting down your “Career Experience” will be more than enough.
To ensure that you can fit everything onto the page be sure to decrease your margins to “narrow” giving you more white space to work with. Also, you do not need to list job duties for each job on your resume, that is what your cover letter is for! Start date, end date, position, company and city in which you completed the job should suffice.
To conserve space use bullet points, active verbs and industry-specific acronyms, and DO NOT state the obvious (e.g., including “references available upon request”).
5. Maximize your real estate.
You’re probably wondering, “Well, what about my volunteer experience and other extracurricular activities I am involved in?” Make room for what you want employers to see that you have accomplished. If you have not completed many internships, adding in your volunteering work can substitute for the lack of career experience you don’t have.
Your cover letter is important, too. If you feel like you either don’t have enough room on your resume or would like to expound upon something a little more, a cover letter is a great idea. See an example of mine below.
In a cover letter, you want to open with how you found the job position and express your excitement for applying. TELL YOUR STORY. Make it worthwhile. A cover letter is an opportunity for you to brag about your accomplishments, otherwise how will the hiring manager know that they would like you in for an interview?
Happy resume writing!