Six seconds: that’s the average time a recruiter needs to determine whether your resume passes “the test” or not. The thought of having your job application decided within such a short amount of time based on a ‘simple’ piece of paper could indeed put you under huge pressure, but if you create your resume following the criteria of employers, you have nothing to worry about.
Now, the only question is this: what are the things an applicant has to pay attention to?
A common mistake is the use of personal pronouns, such as “me”, “I”, and “my”; granted, you have to write the resume in first-person, but somehow without these pronouns. The resume must also be devoid of typos, grammatical, spelling or syntax errors, and must present a logical, sequential flow of information.
Speaking of the flow of information, your strictly one page-long resume must highlight the most important things about experience, skills and education in an inviting, easy-to-read way. In this regard you should use bullet points, various emphasizing techniques on important words, ensure you are consistent with fonts, margins and spacing, and if your resume has to be printed, use high quality (16–25lb.) paper.
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Here you should include your name (with the largest font in your resume), address, email, and phone number in the very first section. Remember: this section will be skipped during the first screening, but if the rest of the CV passes, it will help you to be contacted easier. And despite recent trends, including a photo is not necessary.
This is the most important part of your resume, therefore it needs extra care. This is why you should only include jobs that are relevant to the one that you are applying for, and in that regard any kind of employment is valid, whether that’s full, part-time or even an internship. Specify what your job title was, when and where you were employed and what responsibilities you had. Highlight the skills required for your previous jobs using power words and don’t forget to mention your accomplishments using quantitative and qualitative indicators.
Leave out high school and the date of degree if graduation took place more than five years ago. The list of your degrees should always start with the most current one, with the highest attained level. For this section you should format the degree in bold, but not the name of the university. And for the placing of this section, put it at the bottom if you have five or more years of experience and at the top if you are a fresh graduate or applying for an educational position.
Make sure you have a career objective in the resume relevant to the position you are applying for. Try using key words, industry acronyms, buzzwords (though don’t overdo them), and make use of action verbs. Omit irrelevant information such as hobbies and, for the love of God, do not under any circumstances send the same resume to each of the positions you are applying for. Customize your resume to the job position you’re applying for to have it highlight those skills and experiences that are key for this particular role. Resume builders make it easy to create customized versions of your resume and help you fine-tune your CV for the positions you want to go after.
Be honest and truthful when writing your resume: your background will be thoroughly examined during the interview and if you lied on your CV, consider your chances ruined for good.
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