Whenever I’m working with a client on their résumé, the first thing I notice is the way they have it formatted. How it’s structured. Whether it’s too lengthy or not long enough (the shortest one I’ve seen ran about half a page). Whether there's too many bullets or not enough bullets. All of these factors play a crucial role in how your résumé is received by recruiters and hiring managers.
Studies have shown that recruiters spend an average of six seconds scanning a résumé before deciding whether or not the applicant is fit for the role. SIX SECONDS, y’all. Like I always tell my clients, the way your résumé is formatted and written makes all the difference in whether you secure the bag (translation: land the interview and hopefully, the job) or get curved (translation: tossed back in the pile).
Every second you have to make a lasting impression counts, which means every detail of your résumé counts. So if you want to get — and keep — recruiters’ attention, here are six key essentials your résumé absolutely MUST have:
1. Clean Format Many folks think their résumé has to be this elaborate work of art to be noticed by recruiters, but that couldn't be any further from the truth. Unless you're applying for a position in a creative field like graphic design, a template with a clean, simple format is the best way to go. The cleaner the format, the easier it is for recruiters to process the information you have on your résumé.
2. Classic Font You want to ensure your résumé is as clear and easy-to-read as possible, so choosing the right typeface is crucial. Rather than distract recruiters with fancy script fonts, stick to classic fonts like Cambria, Georgia or Garamond. Times New Roman is also a classic font, but it’s extremely overused, so I typically don’t recommend.
3. Core Competencies
You'd be surprised at how many folks don't include a list of core competencies on their résumé. This should actually be the first section so recruiters can immediately see what your skills are and how relevant they are to the position you're applying for.
4. Numeric Values
Want to give your résumé some real eye candy? Recruiters and hiring managers love seeing numeric values such as percentages and volumes included in your work experience because it shows how much value you've actually added to the company. For instance, rather than simply state you "processed documents for the company every week", it's better to state that you "processed 250 documents per week, increasing the company's productivity by 20%." See? Eye candy.
It's super important to include the achievements you've made in your work experience, whether you were involved in a major product launch or another big project. Highlighting your achievements shows your ability to leave a significant impact on your company and/or community.
6. Relevant Keywords
Whenever I'm helping a client with their résumé, I always advise them to send me one or two job descriptions of a position they're interested in. This way, I can make sure to include whatever relevant skills or qualifications they may have that are required for that particular role. Tailoring your résumé to the role you're applying for is extremely important because it increases your chances of being noticed by recruiters and hiring managers.