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How to Grasp Attention with Your Resume

Graduation season is upon us. It's time to find a job that can actually afford you the luxury of supporting your current lifestyle and the bills to come. Your resume is a nonverbal way to convince a recruiter that you are worth their time. With respect to referrals, there is no body language, chemistry, or charm that can save you here. Research shows that recruiters spend an average of three to six seconds reviewing an individual resume. With this in mind, it's crucial to make your resume stand out in a pool of hundreds. Below I have included simple, yet effective ways to increase your odds.

Applying with Indeed


If you have ever been in a rush to find a job, I'm sure you've encountered Indeed. This board often used to apply to as many jobs possible due to it's "quick apply" features.

Click "Apply with your Indeed Resume" boom! It's done. You've applied without the heavy lifting. No forms filled out, no repeated entry of job history that can be easily found on your resume. Great, right? These swift clicks might be what is holding you back. Each time you select this option, your resume is (badly*) converted into a new format. Have you ever taken the time out to manually download your Indeed resume and review it? Often times, there are merging errors and information is misplaced. Aside from that, the formatting is boring, matches thousands of others, and can be easily overlooked!



"The more, the merrier"

Ever heard "tailor your resume to each job you're applying for?" If you're in a bind looking for any and everybody hiring, this can be time consuming. Try creating several industry specific resumes instead. For example, you don't want to use a resume highlighting office work to apply for a role as a server, and alternatively, you don't want to highlight your work at Wendy's when applying for a role as an Executive Assistant. Instead, create a resume for each industry, whether it be Hospitality, Construction, Retail, or Administrative.

"First Name Last Name Industry Year" is a quick and easy way to title and save each resume, and beats JohnDoe1 and JohnDoe1.2. After downloading, employers can see what each resume has been titled, rather it is "fuckthisjob123", "JohnNeedaJob", or the most dreaded*, "Resume".

Contact Information

Save space and use a header. Headers are a great place to put your contact information while providing a more polished look. If you are seeking careers out of state, consider removing your address from this area. Why? Using an out of state address can cause recruiters to begin calculating relocation expenses upfront. All in all - we are looking for the quickest and easiest to hire. Don't let this be the "thing" that immediately gets you overlooked. If the thought of omitting your address makes you uncomfortable, consider adding "Relocating to City, State" instead.

Additionally, if applying in-state, be mindful of the commute. Historically speaking, 15% of turnover is attributed to team members relocating somewhere closer to home. This is relevant for commutes that require 90 minutes or more of one way travel. Again, don't give employers the opportunity to foreshadow your next steps.

If you're applying to a job close by, adding your address may increase your chances. Some applicant tracking systems have a "match by zip code" functionality.

Don't let your address get you thrown into the "maybe" pile. Open their eyes with your resume and win them over in the interview by making yourself their "one and only." Doing so increases your leverage and opportunity of negotiation, including relocation expenses or signing bonuses.

Work History

Employers have hundreds of resumes to look through! With this in mind, we don't want to reach a 7 page dissertation in MLA format. Better yet, we don't want to read paragraphs at all! Bulletize your content. Using this format allows you to highlight your most important skills without burying it in text. Prioritize your bullet points, placing the most relevant at the top. Refrain from speaking in first (I accomplished) and third person (John accomplished). Instead of creating complete sentences, begin with an action verb followed by your achievement.

Example:

  • Spearheaded an initiative to create a capsule that replicated Meg The Stallion's knee capacity.

 

Describe your accomplishments, not responsibilities. It's not enough to simply state you file papers, because . . . that's what you're supposed to do! Tell us what you were good at. We don't want to read a rearranged job description, we want to hear how you excelled.

Great words to use are:

Mentored . . .

Collaborated with . . .

Designed . . .

Accomplished . . .

Developed . . .

Implemented . . .

Responsible for . . .

 

Naturally weave in industry buzzwords into your bullet points. The keyword here is "naturally". Don't over stuff your resume with any and everything possible. Take the time to Google search job descriptions. Many applicant tracking systems recognize this create easy to read summaries, like the one below.

Buzzwords are also essential if you have an 'Honors and Awards' section. Words such as selected, elected, and recognized imply recognition and reinforce handwork without you explicitly listing "I'm a hard worker."

 

Quantify your successes. Numbers jump right out to the eye. Common examples include: sales volume, profit margin, expansions, and savings. If you don't work in any of these types of settings, that isn't a problem either. Numbers can be used to show how many people you are responsible for or how many tasks you have contributed to.

Good: Performed 10 job audits for team members

Better: Performed 20 - 30% of audits for eight colleagues and over 50 vehicles

Takeaways

Proofread your resume out loud for errors. Although spellcheck exists, it cannot tell you when you're correctly spelling a word but using incorrectly. . but a friend can. Reach out to a friend or a local, free career center. Each college campus has one, and if you are out of school but in the Michigan area, try Michigan Works, Detroit at Work, or MiTalent.

There are many resume templates out. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. If you do not have access to Microsoft Word, Google Docs and Canva are great alternatives.

And remember, if a resume is a chore to read, it won't be read.

*my personal opinion. My blog = My thoughts.

DISCLAIMER: These thoughts are of my own and not a representation of any of my employers or clients.

 

Wanna get your resume reviewed for free? Submit your feedback below listing your thoughts and any ideas you have for our HR series and we will reach out to you.

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