One of the most important steps in the job search, and one that often gets overlooked, is the process of building your resume. Sometimes it is the little details that we miss that end up costing us an opportunity to land that dream job we are after. We sat down with Mike Whitehouse, Director of Recruiting here at Softworld, to discuss the importance of resume building and get some tips you can use moving forward.
You only get one chance to make a first impression, and your resume is the first opportunity you have to present yourself to a future employer. “When we look at resumes, it often shows how a person communicates without actually meeting them,” said Whitehouse. “We don’t make decisions solely based on the format or language used in someone’s resume,” says Whitehouse. “However, communication skills are an important aspect of about 80-90% of the jobs I see. So, it is very important highlight these intangible skills.”
Whitehouse suggests that you view your resume as a writing sample. Be careful to avoid any grammar or punctuation mistakes and remember to be consistent throughout. For instance, if you are going to end your sentences with periods when listing out your achievements then put periods throughout the whole document. “I’d say 75% of the time, if a resume is poorly written, inconsistent or improperly formatted, the hiring manager will toss it to the side. That’s a chance you just can’t take in this hot job market,” said Whitehouse.
We asked Whitehouse for 5 tips you should be using when building your resume:
- Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes and think about what they might want to hear. Be clear and concise to minimize any possible confusion. Review the job description to think of any questions they may ask in an interview, and tailor your resume answer those questions.
- Don’t be afraid to lead off your resume with an attention grabber. Remember, this is the time for you to showcase yourself, so lead with your Ace. Did you successfully launch an app that led to $2 million in cost savings? Lead with that! Did you recently graduate Summa Cum Laude from a top University? Lead with that! Don’t worry about sounding like you are bragging in your resume, it is almost impossible to.
- Keep your resume at an appropriate length. There is a delicate balance to building a resume that fully encapsulates all your accomplishments, while not being too long winded and ending up with a 6+ page resume. Generally, your resume should be a digestible 1-3 pages, unless there have been so many previous positions that it is simply not possible.
- Tailor your resume to the job you want. Some people may have accumulated several different skills over the years which is fantastic, but you don’t want to include a skill set in your resume that doesn’t necessarily match to the job that you are applying for. This could throw off the hiring manager and hurt your chances at landing the role. If you do have a multitude of skill sets, Whitehouse suggests creating multiple versions of your resume catered to various roles.
- Don’t just say what you’ve done but also include the end results. You don’t have to dive into all the little details, but you need to include the outcomes of your projects. Too often people list just WHAT they did, not the RESULTS of what they did. Pointing to specifics will give you a better chance of really grabbing the hiring managers attention.
Whitehouse gives us one final piece of advice to make our lives easier, and that is to always keep your resume up to date. Set reminders to update your resume every couple of months with any new accomplishments or achievements in your current role. While this may seem tedious, it just may be the nudge that gives you the slight edge over your competition.
“In my 10 years of recruiting, I’ve read through thousands of resumes,” said Whitehouse “And if you can follow the 5 tips provided here, I promise your resume will catch any hiring manager’s eye.”