When it comes to job applications, your resume is arguably the most important aspect, as it is often the first (and sometimes only) impression a potential employer will have of you and is the deciding factor as to whether or not you will be called in for an in-person interview. As resumes play such an important role in the overall job hunt process, you certainly don’t want to be making any easily avoidable mistakes on yours! According to Christie, the following are some key components that employers look for on applicant resumes when making hiring decisions:
1. Although I feel like having proper spelling and grammar should be a given, you’d be surprised at how many applicants still make careless typos on their resumes. Always proofread your resume, or have another set of eyes look it over before submitting it! I generally disregard resumes with typos altogether.
2. Most resumes are structured so that key information can be easily located via the usage of headings, or the order in which information is presented. What I always look for first is previous work experience and education. When I say “work experience,” I mean the companies which you’ve worked for in the past and/ or present, your job title, and how long you’ve worked for the company.
3. I usually spend less than 10 seconds scanning a resume for keywords and information, and I can promise you that all recruiters will do the same. With that said, make sure you only highlight your most relevant experience and education pertaining to the position which you are applying for. Make that information easy to find.
4. A resume is not a “one size fits all” deal. In fact, it’s so easy to tell which applicants have not tailored their resume to the specific position and company. Like a cover letter, you want to make sure that everything is relevant! While I am not a personal fan of the “interests” section, if you are going to include it, make sure what you write is relatable to the job at hand too.
5. Just because you include a long list of duties under each past position section, does not mean that you appear more qualified. Be specific about how you directly contributed towards an outcome. While “organized team meetings” is weak and vague, “improved team’s daily productivity by 10% through organizing sales meetings” is a much stronger statement. I want to know how you directly contributed, and include solid proof, like numbers, where applicable. For retail, this can mean your average sales per hour, or any sales goals that were met and surpassed.
6. Presentation is everything! Stick to one font, double-check your margins and spacing, and overall, try and keep everything neat, tidy, and easy to read. A poorly presented resume can immediately leave a sour impression in the minds of employers.
7. Finally, although many people stress the one page resume rule, sometimes it’s okay to be more extensive when it comes to your past experiences, education, work samples, etc. However, do a bit of research into what’s typically expected in the industry and position that you are applying for, as this is still somewhat subjective.
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