If you want to have a better understanding of how important having a resume to highlight your talents is, put yourself in the shoes of the interviewer. Every job opening that is posted generates hundreds to thousands of applicants. Each one of these applicants will be sending their resumes together with a cover letter and the usual enclosures.
The recruiter will arrive in his table as he usually does every morning and will have to go through this stack of applications. He has no idea that yours is in the stack nor will he care. He will open each and every one of these packages to assess which applicant deserves to be interviewed.
Here is where having an effectively crafted resume comes in. Many have spent hours; even days preparing their resume, but the truth is the recruiter will only spend 30 seconds scanning the details. Your future will hang in the balance for the next 30 seconds!
The probability of being selected grows dimmer per each passing second because Mr. Recruiter grows more tired and less focused. Suddenly, his attention is caught by a particular resume. Despite having compromised energy levels, this resume has blown out the cobwebs. He reads it with great interest and confidently places it on top of the second list; the list that will be scheduled for the interview.
Was That Your Resume?
Whether it is 30 seconds or six seconds as TheLadders.com contends, recruiters will not spend precious minutes on a resume. Theirs is a role that demands efficiency. Thus, if you want your resume noticed, you must impress the recruiter by having your talents highlighted from the get- go.
So how do you write an attention grabbing resume? Let’s break it down by section:
This is the first section that recruiters look into. Personal information includes contact information, date of birth, address and gender. There are resumes that include personal information in the header while some list it in another section. Considering the limited amount of time recruiters have for each resume, it may be wise to implement these tips for your personal information:
Don’t use headers or footers; they could create confusion if the recruiter has an applicant tracking system.
Distribute personal information strategically throughout the content of your resume.
You do not have to include your full address; the city and state will do.
Include a URL to your online profile; this should be your LinkedIn address which is preferred by most recruiters.
Your professional title should be located at the top; just below your name but above core competencies and work experience.
According to a Jobvite Recruiting Survey, 93% of recruiters greatly consider the applicant’s social media presence. This is the primary reason why you must include a link to your LinkedIn address to make your profile immediately accessible.
Another social media link that you should include is Twitter which has the highest activity level among networks. Make sure your online profiles in LinkedIn and Twitter are updated and consistent in content.
Your professional title does not have to be the title you have now but it should be descriptive of your career in general. It would be advisable to add your areas of expertise below it.
Another key element to include is a section on your core competencies. Your core competencies sum up the types of work you have done and particularly excelled at. This will function as an introduction to “Work Experience” and sets up the expectations of the recruiter.
Once organized and structured in the described format your personal information section in the resume should look like this:
JOHN W. SMITH
email@example.com | New York City. NY
linkedin.com/in/johnsmith | twitter.com/johnWSmith
Technical Analysis – Fundamental Analysis – Behavioral Theorist – Market Psychologist
Researcher and Analyst with specialized training in key technical analysis methods such as Elliott Wave Theory, Fibonacci Ratios, Dow Theory, Stochastics and Moving Averages. Ability to work with a team, manage tasks responsibly and consistently meets deadlines. Thrives in high- volume work, managing large amount of data and organize all information in professionally written reports and journals. Fluent in German, Japanese and French.
Research Work – Data Collection – Data Analysis and Interpretation – Preparation of Charts and Studies – Project Team Management – Conducting Seminars – Training and Orientation
At this point, you need to understand what the purpose of a resume is. And that purpose is to win you the all- important first interview. A resume is a marketing tool; it is an advertising kit that is designed to entice the recruiter to schedule you for an interview.
When you apply for a job opening, the recruiter will assume your work experience qualifies you to apply for the position. The last thing that you would want is to throw off the recruiter by not establishing any degree of relationship between your work experience and the skills required for the job.
Your work experience should organize your previous employment in chronological order. Greater focus and detail should be given to your current job or your most recent employment. This is where the recruiter will process the available information and establish any relationship or relevance with the job opening. Important details to include are:
Current job title
Name of company; Current or most recent employer
Current position start and end dates
When describing your scope of work for your previous or current employer, go into as much detail as you can but emphasize the salient points that clearly state how you contributed to the success of the company. Include your accomplishments, achievements, innovations and improvements that supported the company’s projects and initiatives.
As for your previous employment, you have the option to either summarize these in your work experience or mention them in a short paragraph. The decision would depend if your previous employment carries a strong bearing for the job opening or not. If you believe these would enhance your qualifications, then include them in the summary but do not go into great detail.
Use bullet points when describing the details of your work experience. Three to five bullet points should suffice for your current employer and one to two bullet points for your older work experience. Remember, recruiters only scan content in your work experience. They are identifying keywords that align your qualification with the job opening.
Using these guidelines, your work experience section would look like this:
ABC STOCK EQUITY BROKERS Inc. – New York, NY.
Lead Industry Analyst and Technical Trainer (May 2010 to Present)
- Developed software program to collect and organize all data relating to positions and pricing of currently listed companies.
- Created technical trading software to automatically calculate Fibonacci ratios and recommended entry and exit points in select equities.
- Designed instructional materials to orient incoming technical analysts on the rudiments of Elliott Wave Theory.
- Represented ABC Stock Equity Brokers when discussing market movements to media
XYZ MARKET WIZARDS, Inc. – Philadelphia, PA.
Technical and Fundamental Analyst (June 2005 to March 2010)
- Responsible for gathering and analyzing data for technical and fundamental analysis.
- Authored training materials for technical and fundamental analysis.
YYZ COMMODITY FUTURES, Inc. – New York, NY.
Market Researcher (February 2000 to April 2005)
- Prepared market research materials and content for commodity futures traders.
Your academic record must also be listed in chronological order. Outside your degree and inclusive years, there is no need to go into great detail with your education. However, if you have received academic citations, letters, awards and other forms of distinctions, you could include these in a summary.
Other important data to include would be trainings and certification courses you have taken up which are relevant to the skills required for the job opening.
Thus, your educational background should appear like this in your resume:
LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS – London, England. (1999)
Masters Degree in Business Economics
NEW YORK UNIVERSITY – New York, NY. (1998)
Master of Business Administration
C+ Programming – QuickBooks – Regression Analysis – Microsoft Suite
Putting it All Together
Now let’s look at what the recruiter will see when he comes across the resume of John W. Smith.
As you can see, everything is clean and organized. The information is set up in such a way that it makes it easy for the recruiter to scan and process. The headings are centered, bold faced and has a larger font size.
You may choose to add graphics or design to define the sections of the resume but be mindful that these do not detract from the content.
Regarding a section on “Personal Interests”, there are applicants who include this in a resume. Personal interests refer to hobbies and interests. There could be some value in including this in your resume as it would give the recruiter on who you are outside the professional world. But it may also be ignored. There is no harm in including personal interests in your resume and neither will there be significant benefits.
Felix Tarcomnicu works with ArtisanTalent, a company that helps creative people find jobs.