Recruiters not calling? Maybe it’s your resume.

Recruiting professional shares how to make your resume stand out

resume-writingResumes are a hot topic. How many resumes should candidates have? How many pages should they be? What should be emphasized and what left out?

The answer from most resume professionals is “it depends” on the circumstances. However, the general consensus is that resumes should be targeted towards the job you’re applying for, they shouldn’t read like War and Peace, and they should showcase your accomplishments. Oh, yeah, don’t forget that honesty is always the best policy.

To pick up some tips from the recruitment side I interviewed Thomas Moran CEO of the Addison Group which provides professional staffing and search services. The Chicago-based firm specializes in Administration, Engineering, Finance & Accounting, Financial Services, Healthcare, and Information Technology. Here is what he had to say.

Many career professionals advocate candidates target their resume to the job they’re applying for – how many resumes should a candidate have?

This completely depends on how many positions you are applying for. There is no blanket rule, and no general rule of thumb. Your resume should be an ever evolving document, which can be molded to any position or career path that you want to focus on. It is up to the job seeker to decide how many they want to have.

What’s the best way to make sure a resume showcases a candidate’s accomplishments instead of reading like a list of job duties?

One way that our recruiters help our candidates work on their resume is by focusing on a few questions. How did I make my company money? How did I save my company time or money? These 2 factors are extremely important in the world of an employer. If the candidate can focus on how they saved his last boss money, for example coming up with a new billing system, or streamlining an internal process – that would both show their accomplishments as well as the result.

Can you give me a few tips on what makes an effective resume?

It’s tough to stand out in such a competitive atmosphere. Luckily there are several easy ways to attract employers with a strong resume. It’s often the first impression potential employers will get and it’s necessary to make it both informative and visually appealing. Here are four ways to make it stand out.

  1. Be Precise: Resumes are not the place for run-on sentences. Keep bullets short and to the point. In addition, Moran suggests removing first person references to shorten and strengthen sentences. “It’s your resume, so the first person is assumed. Applicants can also start each bullet or sentence with an action verb by removing the first person pronoun. The result is a direct and stronger sentence,” explains Moran.
  2. Use Keywords: When an HR employee is browsing resumes there’s a good chance that there are a handful of words they’re specifically looking for. “The best place to search for keywords is in the job posting,” says Moran. “Look for ways to integrate buzzwords from the posting into your resume that will register with the computer program or employee who is screening resumes.”
  3. Prioritize: For applicants with a lengthy employment history, it’s not necessary to include every position ever held. Focus on the experience that is relevant for the current job application and tailor it specifically.
  4. Reformat: A great resume looks modern and is easy to read. Make sure name and contact information is at the top and easy to find. For the modern aspect, employers will look for any relevant social media profiles so applicants should be sure to include the direct links. In addition, a distracting or outdated font can give away the age of applicants, unfairly dating them. The traditional Times New Roman font is acceptable, but one that’s more modern is encouraged as well.

About Annette Richmond, MA

Annette Richmond, MA, CARW, CCELW, is a Certified Resume Writer, Certified LinkedIn Profile Writer, and former recruiter. Her career advice has been featured by Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Business Insider, Monster, Vault, and WSJ. She helps motivated, senior level professionals tell their unique career story. She also serves as executive editor of career-intelligence.com.

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