As a recruiter I often hear horror stories from candidates about how they have sent their resumes in for multiple jobs and never heard back. Application volumes (particularly for junior roles) can be HUGE! While I will concede that there should at least be some communication from an agency or company back to every applicant, the simple fact is that there is sometimes just not enough time in the day to get back to every candidate individually.
However as a candidate there are some things that are in your control and the main one is your resume and its presentation. In most instances your resume is the only piece of information that a recruiter or hiring manager has about you – and first impressions count – so take the time to get it right! Find my top 7 resume tips below.
- Employment history – Your employment history should always be listed with the most recent role at the top! The average recruiter spends less than a minute on each resume they look at, and if the first role they see is working at a McDonalds or something else not at all relevant, you may get overlooked for a role simply because the recruiter missed the part of your resume where your relevant experience is listed.
- Dates of employment – Every single role should have the starting and finishing, month and year listed. There is no need to put exact dates, but simply putting the year is not enough information! Some candidates only state the year and when I delve into how long that they were at that job, their answer can be anything from 1 day to 12 months.
- Duties – Recruiters find it hard to read long arduous paragraphs about what you did in your last role. So that they don’t miss anything crucial dot point your tasks and responsibilities with the most relevant points for each role at the top. These points should be able to easily account for what you did on a day to day basis, what systems you used in doing so and whom you interacted with (e.g. clients, customers, direct reports, suppliers etc.)
- Gaps between roles – One thing a recruiter looks for is gaps between employment. If you were unemployed for a period of time, it is important to account for it. It is better to state that you went on a 6 month holiday than to put nothing at all (for all we know you were sitting on your couch watching “Oprah”).
- Photo – Only include a photo if it is professional one! Bare shouldered, glassy eyed, drunken party shots do not make a good impression!
- Correct spelling and punctuation – In this day and age with “spell check” at your disposal there are simply no excuses for spelling mistakes. As a recruiter there is nothing worse than opening a CV in Word to find half of it underlined in red squiggly lines! In many cases recruiters will not even read your resume when this happens.
- Contact details should be current – I know what you are thinking “What dummy sends a resume through without the right contact details attached?” – The answer is MANY! Some resumes don’t even have a phone number listed!
Don’t miss out on your ideal role simply because you have failed to make one of these small changes to your resume. You may have the right experience for the job, be the friendliest person in the world, and have a great attitude towards work, but if a recruiter can’t quickly identify a reason to call you then then you may never get the chance to show them how great you really are.