How do recruiting and staffing professionals view your resume? What helps one resume step up above the crowd and what’s holding others back? Our career experts weigh in with some resume tips that will help you get the most out of this critical career tool.
What’s most important?
trustaff’ s team ranked work experience, job skills, and presentation as the most critical factors when they initially look at a potential candidate’s resume. “Education and training can definitely be important factors too,” says Ariel, “but those depend more on the field and the position requirements.”
Resume tip #1
Make sure the work experience and skills that will be relevant to the position to which you’re applying are clear and easy to find. Unless your extracurricular activities or volunteer hours relate specifically to your field, it may be better to save them for the interview.
What are you looking at?
More than two-thirds of our team said they jump straight to the most important sections when first reviewing a candidate, while only a quarter read the entire resume from top to bottom. “I scan through a resume very quickly at first, so I can get the gist of their history and where they might be looking to go next,” says Bridgette. “That gives me a big-picture idea of where their career is headed. Then later I’ll go back and read each section and make notes.”
Resume tip #2
Put your most important (and impressive) information on the first half of the resume and make sure it’s clearly visible. Don’t hide your talents away inside paragraphs of text where busy hiring managers may miss them.
How can I stand out?
Over half of our team voted that the best way to help a resume stand out is to tailor it specifically to the position for which you’re applying, something trustaff’s career consultants often assist with during their one-on-one job search coaching.
A sense of personality ran a close second, followed by creating a sense of career progression. “Your resume should read like a story,” suggests Nikki. “Tell us about your past and your present—often times that will point you in the right direction for your future.”
Resume tip #3
Take the time to fine-tune your resume before you hit send, rather than having just one generic version. Be sure to highlight your successes with hard numbers when available, and showcase the direction you’ve been moving.
What are your resume pet peeves?
It’s universal: Bad spelling and poor grammar. “I can’t send out resumes that contain errors,” states Anna. “If you can’t take the time to carefully proofread your own resume before sending it out, what does that tell a potential employer about the quality of your work? Everyone is human, but errors like that can be an instant opportunity killer.”
Resume tip #4
Sending your resume to a friend or family member before submitting it is a great technique; an extra set of eyes can help catch last-minute errors. Unless you work in a creative field, keep the wild colors and crazy concepts to a minimum—and of course, USE SPELLCHECK!
What if I don’t have a paper resume?
Most employers are still looking for a “traditional” resume, whether you’re printing it out or submitting it as a digital file. However digital resources like LinkedIn are emerging as more and more important, especially depending on the field in which you work. “For many employers, especially in tech and education, your LinkedIn profile is really your digital resume.” advises Ariel. “We use LinkedIn as a way to quickly browse potential employees, so it really pays to keep your profile up-to-date and looking professional, even if you’re not currently looking for a new job.”
Resume tip #5
Keep your resume at the ready, but don’t forget online networking sites like LinkedIn, especially if you’re in a forward-thinking field where networking is critical. A professional, up-to-date profile acts as a “bonus” section of your resume.
When all else fails? Ask for help.
One of the advantages of working with a recruiting and staffing professional during your job search is being able to lean on their knowledge to guide you through the process. Our career experts work one-on-one with people to set them up for success, from making recommendations for the resume to providing interview and negotiation advice.