9 steps to resume perfection
Did you know the attention span of recruiters and Human Resources (HR) managers is declining, due to the overwhelming volume of candidates applying for the same job? If you have ever seen the Old Spice commercials, you might understand why it is important to capture their attention in the first 10 seconds. Jokes aside, a hiring authority usually spends around 15 seconds looking at resumes, according to recent studies.
“They could take between 15 to 30 seconds, but no more than that. It is the time they need to figure out if the candidate fits into the minimum requirements the job demands”, said Amos Tayts, professional recruiter and co-founder of Resume Target – a resume writing and job search strategy company. If you cannot capture their interest in that time frame, they will just move on to the next candidate.
As the attention span of the potential employer shortens, your resume needs to change along with it. You cannot write long paragraphs or summaries about yourself anymore. It is time to cut out the jargon and focus on what is important. Replace the objective statement with a value proposition instead. Summarize your work experiences and highlights, as well as key contributions and achievements. Personal skills should be kept at a minimum and you should exclude the references section which should only be given when requested.
If you are wondering how to use the Old Spice strategy to catch the attention of HR in 10 seconds, here are a few hints:
- Excel to perfection – Even before checking the requirements, the initial gatekeeper will look at the general appearance. “Presentation is important. How the person puts the information together. Concise and with clarity. Communicate your value without persuasion and people will take notice.”, said Tayts. So, if presentation is everything – take the actor Isaiah Mustafa as an example – be a little capricious.
- Treat your resume as a marketing tool – Make sure you check the document many times before submitting it, so that it looks like a personal marketing document advertising YOU – not just a summary about yourself!
- Use appropriate vocabulary and grammar – Advertisers believe that people only have a 15-second attention span these days which is why commercials are shrinking to fit the audience’s decreased patience. To catch the reader’s interest in that period of time, try using a thesaurus and find some new synonyms to use.
- Add (the most important) certifications in addition to your education – Build a list of your achievements and awards to increase the marketability of your resume. Include your top qualifications and credentials in the resume.
- Skip the objective statement – Instead of the objective, write a strong value proposition at the beginning of your resume. This should focus on your core strengths and career goals without giving overloaded information. Sometimes, the recruiter does not have time to read all of your past history or work related experience. Add a strong branding statement to make it unique.
- Include your top professional skills – Highlight your major accomplishments at work over the years and list some of your key professional skills that may be suitable for the job you are applying for.
- Put in words which target the job – Target the right audience by using the correct industry words to focus on the job you are looking for. Do not be afraid to be bold and creative with your language structure. The stronger and more hard-hitting your vocabulary, the more notice you will get.
- Let your personality shine through – Give the potential hiring manager a taste of your character by adding some flavour into your resume writing. Write some of your key attributes and character traits (i.e. interpersonal skills, language skills, etc.). Use the ones you think will provide a good insight into your work ethic. Just do not extend yourself too much. Remember you want to get noticed, not make them ‘change the channel’.
- Be as clear and concise as possible – In order to attract the potential employer, you should limit the use of adjectives and focus on keywords that will sell your profile to potential employers. Include accountabilities that match up in your past tenure. Do not include any words you feel don’t comprehensively describe your skills or focus on your intended goal.
Remember that your resume should be as clean as possible, limit the use of jargon and descriptive words. Do not put in extraneous information, which may decrease your chances of getting an interview. Your resume is the first step in getting your foot in the door. Remember to give the reader solid information so they are left with a positive and compelling impression of you.
Not sure if your resume will pass the test? Get a free resume assessment here.