Whether you’re just starting out in your job search or need a major overhaul to your application process, the key to a strong job search is a strong resume. But creating one is easier said than done, as most job seekers know from experience that it takes a lot more than an impressive career to catch the eye of the hiring manager.
Check out these six signs of a great resume, and learn how to put one together yourself.
1. Strong descriptors and accomplishments
Employers don’t simply want to know what you think about yourself; they want to see results. If you really are a hard worker, prove it by backing up that claim with some data. A recent CareerBuilder survey found that the words and descriptors that most impress hiring managers include: achieved, improved, trained/mentored, managed, created, resolved, volunteered, influenced, increased/decreased, ideas, negotiated, launched, revenue/profits, under budget and won.
2. Education, certifications and skills
If you hold certifications, degrees or awards that relate to your job, noting them in your resume will communicate to employer just how qualified you are for the job. Be sure to call attention to these accomplishments in a clear, prioritized fashion, like summing up your certifications and years of relevant experience in your professional summary at the top of your resume. You can go more in depth in your education/skills section, or call out awards as they were given by position or organization.
3. Links to even more information
Including links to your personal website, networking page or online portfolio will provide employers with an easy way to learn more about you if they are interested, without cluttering up your resume by trying to pack in too much information in a limited space. Include the essential information and job history in your resume that best relates to the position, and save more secondary information like unrelated volunteer efforts or personal work projects for your online presence, which hints that there’s plenty more to learn about you as a job candidate.
4. Context and accomplishments
If you work for a Fortune500 company, you’ll definitely want to capitalize on that prestige and avoid employers mistaking your work for a smaller organization. Offering context for your experience and accomplishments, like noting company size, market impact or revenue generation, can communicate to employers the range of experience you have, and if your accomplishments will translate well to their company size, culture and goals. It also frames you as a much more accomplished job candidate, which definitely helps.
5. A nice flow of space and information
A resume isn’t given much time to be read, and a solid block of text on the page will likely be scanned instead of read, while bullet points and summaries will receive more attention. Even your bullet points shouldn’t go overboard, and limit each section to two to five specifics. Not only will this cause you to offer a more well-rounded look at your career that offers equal importance to each role, but the nicely formatted flow of your resume will ensure easy readability that can catch the eye of employers.
6. Job description keywords
Since most resumes are submitted online now, and often go through applicant tracking systems that scan resumes before forwarding them on to hiring managers, it’s important to make sure that the ATS will approve your resume. This is a step to save hiring managers time and avoid looking at irrelevant resumes, but can accidentally weed yours out as well if you don’t meet the standards set by the ATS. Your best luck to make it through is to include keywords from the job description in your resume, and sprinkle them throughout to ensure a natural, relevant resume that reads well and aligns you with the company’s goals and needs.
Though it can feel like writing your resume is a job in itself, the extra time and effort needed will be well worth it when you’re tapped as a great potential hire and can start off on the right foot in the hiring process.