When you're in the market for a new job, your resume can be your most powerful ally. It can be a major stumbling block, however, if you don't include the right type of information. Focus on the following areas that recruiters hone in on when viewing your resume.
1. Your Resume's Opening
Studies have shown that most recruiters spend between 6 and 10 seconds scanning your resume before deciding if it is worth more than a passing glance. Layout and formatting are important here, to make sure that a recruiter's first impression of you is a good one. Your resume should be no more than a page, with plenty of white space between blocks of text; this ensures easy readability. Use bullet points to emphasize important qualifications, and avoid getting too artsy with the font and graphics. Clean, simple lines communicate efficiency and professionalism.
2. Relevant Content
Once a hiring manager gets past the initial look of your resume, he will then look for your relevant qualifications. Make sure that your resume reflects the same skill set and required experiences listed in the job description. Don't just list your skills; elaborate on how your skill set has benefited your past employers.
3. Your Current Role
Recruiters are likely to study your current role and its responsibilities more than any other section of your resume. This is because they need to fully assess your current skills and abilities as they relate to the open position. Really flesh out this section with powerful action verbs and verifiable achievements. What exactly were you responsible for? Who did you work with? What types of tools and software programs did you use? Really spelling it out for the recruiter helps them to imagine you as the new employee.
4. Quantitative Data
Wherever possible, use numerical facts and figures to demonstrate your achievements and contributions. Numerical data is not only eye-catching to the recruiter, but it is also verifiable, which is far more impressive than vague, generic statements that can't be validated. Instead of stating you "helped cut costs," state that you "Reduced department spending by over 15 percent over a period of 3 months." Then, be prepared to explain exactly how you managed this feat.
5. Red Flags
There are many red flags that can potentially deter a recruiter or hiring manager from wanting to hire you. Spelling and grammar mistakes make you appear careless. Sloppy formatting communicates a lack of professionalism. Gaps in employment introduce uncertainty about your background and intentions.
Make sure your resume doesn't turn off potential employers. Keep the layout simple and clean, focus on relevant skills and accomplishments, and highlight your current responsibilities. Avoid employment gaps, and make sure you proofread your document carefully before submission.