A Great First Impression Starts with a Winning Resume

You never get a second chance to make agreat first impression. That goes for your resume, too.  Even though you know you’ll dazzle the recruiter and hiring manager with your story, if you can’t get your foot in the door, you are wasting yours and your recruiter’s time. Your marketing documents must match your presence; if not, you’ve got a brand problem.

On average, hiring managers take about six seconds to keep or round file your resume, according to a study by Ladders, an online job matching service. So, to streamline the hiring process and help ensure your recruiter can place you with your dream employer, follow these steps to craft a resume that screams “Hire me!”

1.   Use an online resume builder 

Even seasoned executives struggle writing strong, error-free resumes. Paying a career professional to write your resume is one option, but this can be expensive. If your resume is bland, lacks differentiation, and fails to represent the essential skills, experiences, and contributions you’ve made, let one of the free online resume builders like ZetyIndeed, and Novoresume, walk you through the process.  

If you can fill in a form, you are steps away from crafting a professional synopsis of your work history. Begin by gathering your work and educational history. Then let the software help you choose a modern, professional, template that best represents you. Avoid overly busy designs so that you are the star attraction. Read and re-read again to catch all spelling and grammar errors.  Use a free app like Grammarly if you struggle with writing.

After you’ve given life to your personal brand on paper, simply let the software guide you through filling out the forms. It’s that easy.  

For the top ten resume builders and how to use them for free, read Jobscan.com’s review here. With your resume in hand, it’s time tovisit your recruiter.  

2.  Match your resume to the opportunity 

Once you’ve completed your “boilerplate” resume, you’ll need to tailor it to each application. Because you used a resume builder, it’ll be much quicker to edit sections that don’t apply. For example, if you are equally qualified as an IT or marketing data analyst, you should create two resumes, one that emphasizes your marketing knowledge.  

One mistake job seekers make is to fail to emphasize actual accomplishments. Instead, they include a tedious inventory of positions: “Worked as a legal assistant in a fast-paced law office.” Spice this up by combining tasks with accomplishments: “Oversaw caseloads for three busy attorneys and was awarded management of the administrative team.” Your recruiter is your best friend when it comes to tailoring your responsibilities and accomplishments to the job for which you are applying.  

Even with the help of a resume builder, you can still miss the mark. Follow these suggestions and get ready to say, “Thank you for the offer.  I accept!”

Resume do’s and don’ts

  • DO include contact information including your updated LinkedIn profile URL at the top. 
  • Collect and display all those awards and achievements that show how you’ll bring value to your new employer.
  • DO identify the specific type of job you are looking for and a brief synopsis of qualifying skills and achievements. 
  • DO list job history in reverse chronological order, along with brief details describing your accomplishments in each position, not merely duties.   
  • DO incorporate keywords pertinent to the job you want throughout the resume so that automated screening algorithms can find you.
  • Do place a boilerplate education, certificates, and specialized training section at the bottom.

Do not include:

  • Your picture.
  • Your age.
  • Your salary history.
  • Any personal information not relevant to the job.
  • Any jobs past the last six or seven except those relevant to the position you are seeking. Omit less relevant jobs or very short-term jobs. If past job experience supports the qualifications you need for a particular opportunity, then include it, but we generally suggest no more than your last 10 years of work experience.
  • More than two pages. One page-one and half is better.  Use your LinkedIn profile to store more detailed descriptions about achievements at each job.

Take the 6 second challenge.  Who would you hire?