How to “Demystify” Your Resume

September 9th, 2015

First impressions count.

This is not just a cliché. When it comes to the initial impression that you make on a prospective employer, it all rests on your resume. The average hiring manager spends about six seconds on an initial resume review, so you need to make an immediate impact.

Make it easy by offering the optimum in resume reader friendliness:

Formatting is “Key”

An increasing percentage of companies use applicant tracking software, or ATS, to identify candidates. Be sure to include keywords mentioned in the job posting, throughout your resume.

Other important formatting tips to follow are:

  • Include a URL to your professional online profile. Eighty-six percent of recruiters review candidates’ online profiles, so it behooves you to include your URL along with other contact information on your resume. Make a hiring manager’s job easier and save them from having to guess who you are or mistaking you for someone else.
  • Take advantage of white space. Avoid dense blocks of type. Format information in a way that is easy to scan. Make your goals and relevant qualifications easy to recognize.
  • Keep it simple. Stick to black and white, versus colors, and use simple fonts like Times New Roman or Helvetica. Avoid embedding tables, graphs, pictures or other images. They can confuse ATS and jumble your resume.

Catch the Reader’s Eye

The summary section of your resume is an introduction that answers the question, “Tell me about yourself” in a few short sentences. It recaps your value proposition right at the onset, where a hiring manager looks first. Think of it as your elevator sales pitch. Your summary statement should:

  • Catch the reader’s eye.
  • Ensure a clear understanding of your unique strengths at a glance.
  • Emphasize your career highlights.

Did you ever read a good book or watch a great movie? How important was it to be captivated by the first page or the opening seconds?

Steer Clear of Jargon and Acronyms

Jargon is specialized or technical language that is widely used within a specific company or industry, but foreign to those outside that realm. Acronyms are abbreviations that form a major part of jargon. Avoid using them in your resume. You cannot assume that someone in your own specialty area will be the first to review it.

  • Be especially careful when changing industries. Use generic descriptions of your titles, accomplishments and activities. When acronym usage is inevitable, make sure you provide a clear explanation. For instance, if you say you were “the SPOC in the SCM project,” spell out “single point of contact” and “supply chain management,” at least on first reference.
  • Use jargon or acronyms only when you are completely sure they will be understood. If in doubt, avoid them altogether. Stick with time-tested terms and phrases.

As you fine-tune your resume and prepare to ace the interview and job search process, consider partnering with a professional recruiter from Select Group, Inc. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.

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