On average, every job opening in the corporate industry attracts around 250 resumes. Only 4 to 6 candidates are called into an interview and only 1 is offered the job.
Seems pretty intimidating, doesn’t it?
That’s also why it’s extremely important that your resume portrays you in the right light otherwise you might not get the opportunity at all.
Let’s check out some statistics mentioned in an article on Undercover Recruiter:
Recruiters spend an average of 3.14 minutes reading a candidate’s resume and they have generally made up their mind within the first minute.
1 in 5 recruiters will actually reject a candidate before they’ve even finished reading their resume.
5% of applicants are dishonest when describing their previous roles or the time they spent in a job.
10% of job seekers have applied for 50 or more jobs without hearing back.
Sounds like some pretty intimidating stuff, right?
Buckle up because I’m going to show you 5 important and essential tips to make sure your resume gets read:
1. Use Correct Grammar
Oh, for the love of grammar!
Some people are going to go ahead and think that this is a no-brainer but trust me, it isn’t! When I want to recruit, you’d be shocked at the amount of people who submit their resumes without even double-checking their grammar.
Did you know that according to UR,
59% of recruiters will reject a candidate because of poor grammar or a spelling error. Though these mistakes seem small, they indicate that the candidate is sloppy and hasn’t taken the time to proofread their resume.
And I can’t agree with them more!
Before a company can ever even call you in for an interview, you failed to make a good first impression on paper. That’s already a pretty big indicator to them about the kind of employee you could be. Present yourself on your resume as the same way you would in person.
Make sure you use proper language and correct grammar because there’s no excuse for handing in a sloppy resume to any potential recruiter from any respectable company that you want to work for.
Moreover, nowadays where we’re all exposed to the Internet and Google, there’s no excuse even if the language your resume is in isn’t even your first language.
2. Keep the Visuals Professional
Presentation counts. Yes, it’s important that your resume is attractive but only if it’s executed in the right way. Keep it professional and avoid ‘snazzy’ out of the ordinary decorations and colors.
44% of recruiters get put off from a resume because of the use of distracting borders and backgrounds.
42% of recruiters get put off from a resume because of the use of inappropriate or unnecessary clipart and emojis.
31% of recruiters get put off from a resume because of inappropriate use of fonts.
Imagine what would happen if you had all of the 3 big no-no’s on your resume but in reality you are the perfect candidate for the job. You wouldn’t be given a second chance just because of the lack of professionalism!
Yes, visuals can help, but make sure it’s within the professional criteria, for example, use all black colored fonts, capitalize at the beginning of sentences and for pronouns and use bullet points to keep the layout easily readable and consistent!
3. Avoid Clichés
Ever heard something so many times to the point where you find yourself rolling your eyes?
Trust me when I say this, whether a recruiter is reading resumes or an interviewer is asking you questions, they’ve probably heard a lot of people say the same things many times before.
Avoid saying clichés that make you sound unoriginal and no offense – boring.
According to Undercover Recruiter, some phrases that put recruiters off are:
‘I can work independently.’ – Most people can!
‘I’m a hard worker.’ – Yes, aren’t we all?
‘I work well under pressure.’ – Congratulations you tough cookie!
I mean, that’s all great but isn’t everyone?
Think about what sets you apart from the crowd and mention the things about yourself that a lot of people don’t have so that you’re not just another paper in the pile.
4. Tailor Your Resume
Make sure you tailor your resume to the position you’re applying for. According to Entrepreneur,
41% of HR managers look for whether or not the resume was customized to the open position or not.
Tailoring your resume doesn’t mean you’re going to change it up altogether, it just means you need to make adjustments to make it relevant. The reason for this is because, as mentioned before, ‘1 in 5 recruiters will reject a candidate before they’ve even finished reading their resume’ so you want to grab their attention and make it relevant as soon as they lay their eyes on the first sentence.
Secondly, focus on the content. This means actually understand the job that you’re applying for and make appropriate changes to your bullet points about relevant information on there. For example, if you are applying for a managerial position, it would be important to mention more points on how you’ve thrived in leadership positions before and make sure you make it the first section of your resume.
5. Keep it One Page
Eliminate all the fluff.
Recruiters don’t have time to go through really long resumes, and it’s one of the things that actually puts them off and make them want to stop reading. Your resume should be short, concise, to the point and relevant in all aspects.
If you have too much information going on it can also confuse them, and once you’ve confused them, they don’t make a choice so you’ve pretty much lost them.
Other ways through which you can make your resume more appealing, short and concise is through eliminating the use of unnecessarily big words, run-on sentences and random jargons because it can set hiring managers off more than impressing them.
Keep to the point – especially with an average of 250 resumes coming in for one open position, nobody wants to waste time.
6. Replace Your Objective with a Pitch
Don’t forget that when you’re sending out your resume, you’re marketing yourself. A great way to catch the recruiter’s attention is through replacing your opening statement or objective with an elevator pitch!
It’s understandable that condensing your entire work history into a few short words (no longer than 25 to 50 words) can be difficult and challenging to say the least. One of the ways to get around it is to make sure you have the right information. I always mention that whenever you’re addressing an audience, even if it’s on paper, you need to make sure you have three important factors covered, so ask yourself,
Is it educational?
Is it inspiring?
Is it entertaining?
Creating the right balance with each of these elements is what’s going to make you stand out from the crowd.
Seek gives a great example of an opening statement that leaves a lasting impression:
I’m a self-motivated, creative copywriter with five years of marketing and advertising experience, specializing in digital content with a keen interest in social media.
By making it short, precise and to the point, you ensure that you leave them intrigued by making a lasting first impression.
Writing resumes is never easy, but no matter what level you’re in the industry or where you’re applying for your next career advancement, always remember that you’re trying to market and sell yourself. You can be sure that you’d make a great fit for the company and the team but others don’t.
You owe it to yourself to make sure you have an above-average resume that’s going to ensure that you get called in for that interview.
Once you’ve made it through the door and you’re on to the next step, read my other article on ‘How to Ace an Interview’.