The first step in jumping into the job market is to create a compelling resume. A great resume can get you the interview; a resume that doesn’t adequately showcase your talents and experience can get you passed over. Your resume is the most important initial step to get you access to the leaders in your target hiring organization and really highlight why you’re the right person for the job. So, how can you make sure your resume is the best it can be? We connected with Bartech recruiters Benjamin Grover and Heather McRae and asked them to give us their best tips for creating a killer resume. Here are their seven tips:
- Keep Your Layout Simple and Easy to Read
Often times, before a resume gets presented to a member of staff at a company, it goes through what is called an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). The ATS looks for keywords and ensures that no bias is given to candidates for a particular position. It is important to keep the layout simple and easy to read so that these systems perform best for your job search.
- Use bullets rather than paragraphs.
- Avoid graphics, tables, headers, footers, or pictures.
Be sure to craft a resume to meet your career objectives, aligning your skills, education, certifications, notable projects, and accomplishments accordingly.
- Add Facts and Quantifiable Details
There is a quote that says, “Don’t tell them, show them.” This is what you should be considering when you are describing your accomplishments at past and present positions. A standard format to follow is “CAR,” which stands for Challenge, Action, Result and keeping this in mind will ensure that you always provide a complete picture of your skill set.
- Did you oversee a team?
- If so, how many people? What did you accomplish in managing the team?
- Did you save the organization money? If so, how much?
- Did you grow an account? How? What were the results?
Take the time to showcase your initiatives and position them so that a potential employer can see what you bring to the table. These speak volumes about the kind of success you can bring to a hiring organization!
- Match Your Experience with The Job Requirements
One resume does not fit all applications, and you should always read through the job description and update your resume to highlight your relevant experience to match what the employer is looking for.
To determine how to update your resume, carefully review how the ideal candidate is positioned. Be sure to use keywords the employer has included and adjust quantifiable data to align with the career opportunity. This is another way to highlight transferable industry knowledge and skills.
- Use Reverse Chronological Order
Start with your most recent position and work backwards.
One of our job partners, Indeed, writes in their Reverse-Chronological CV: How-to Guide, “When asked to submit a resume, it's beneficial to use the reverse-chronological format if you have at least a few years of professional experience. This format works well because it emphasizes your work history section and helps show how your career has progressed.”
- Make Sure All Your Time Is Accounted For
If you have a gap in employment history, the first thing to know is that you're not the only one. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most people have been unemployed at some point in their professional lives.
If there is a break in your employment, add dates and explain education, courses, family leave, and travel, as appropriate.
- Add A Skill Section Specifically for Unique and Soft Skills
This is another area where your resume should match the job description. Transferable skills are critical when you are thinking of pivoting your career from one area to another.
Employers recognize the value of soft skills in the workplace, so showcasing these skills when applying for jobs is essential. Soft skills show employers your attributes and qualities to help you succeed.
Communication, collaboration, conflict resolution, critical thinking, diplomacy, adaptability, leadership, budgeting, and project management are all skills you should be highlighting, when applicable.
- Include Any Relevant Hobby, Volunteer, Project Experience
There are considerable reasons why you may want to include volunteer work on a resume:
- To provide information on transferable skills when changing careers
- To give context when there are gaps in your resume
- To add to a resume with limited professional experience (significant for recent graduates)
Volunteer work may be valuable for those applying to work in industries where such work is highly valued, such as non-profit organizations or academic positions.
Ex: You’re in the automotive industry and have rebuilt or race cars, or you are involved in an auto club. This is a tremendous way to carry over skills and experience that you’ve gained outside of your professional life and further show what an asset you’d be to any company.
There's no doubt that professional development and support from a team that understands what gets you to the next step in the job-seeking process will set you apart. On average, human resources teams evaluate 200 resumes a day, spending just 30 seconds to two minutes reviewing the total content of your resume. These tips we’ve detailed here show how you can make your own resume pop.
At Bartech, our recruiters make it a point to coach and set candidates up for success in each and every interview.