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How To Make A Resume that Would Impress Every Recruiter

How To Make A Resume that Would Impress Every Recruiter

The most common stat on “amount of time recruiters look at a resume” is six seconds,[1] although it’s probably somewhere between those six seconds and 15 seconds on the high end.[2] Regardless: it’s not a lot of time. Your ability to advance in your dream job search starts with a process that takes less than the time it takes to scramble eggs (and significantly less, too).

Because of the 6-15 second screenings, your resume needs a different approach. For years, the conventional narrative was facts: job titles, tenures, education, etc. Now a resume needs to be more. It needs to be a narrative, because a narrative will convey who you are. Facts can’t do that. Employers want to know who you are — and whether that person is someone they’d want.

In those 15 seconds, then, you need to make that employer remember you and want to advance you in the process. But how exactly are you going to do that?

Start with How You Want to Be Remembered

Sit down and write this sentence down: I want to be remembered in 15 seconds as ________.

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Then get to work on filling in the blank, which is going to be your narrative. After someone who’s never met you considers your resume for 15 seconds, what do they need to be thinking about you?

As you begin to think about this question, here are a few tips:

  • Think about what you consider to be your most impressive experiences to date (name of college, brand-name company, etc.)
  • Think of a few lines about your biggest projects, research work, or anything else. Companies increasingly want to see what you’ve done instead of where you’ve done it, so put these together: ever led a study? Managed a marketing campaign globally? Donated/volunteered/raised money/etc.?

Make Every Word Count

Some estimate that up to 50% of words used in a resume are irrelevant to the position being applied for, and there are certain “trigger” words that HR and hiring man agers always cringe about.[3]

Brief and Powerful

Think about your accomplishments and succinctly define them. Remove irrelevant information or anything that seems too buzzword-y (“data ninja”). Remember: this should only be about 1 page.

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While you can’t lie about accomplishments, word choice matters immensely here.

For example, “summer intern” means nothing to most hiring managers. But “summer marketing strategist – intern role” might mean a lot. Similarly, “created presentations” doesn’t mean much —  but “designed a curriculum and presented to an audience of X-amount” might.

Visualize Your Words

The other key concept is to add qualifiers to help the resume reader visualize the situation. When you gave a presentation, how many were there? If you managed e-mail marketing for a company, how many countries are the emails sent to? How many on the mailing list?

Have you ever coordinated a team’s “first” of anything? (i.e. first team-building retreat, first audit.) Include that. If you’ve managed others, note how many: “Managed a team of 12 to results including 163,000 new subscribers to the service.”

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Specific, quantifiable, and brief. That’s the sweet spot.

Show Some Personality

Include some extracurricular activities, passions, and interests. Also tailor your resume to each application and drop something in that might show why you want to be at that specific company.

Here’s an example that takes some work but is worth it. Let’s say you really want to work at Company A. You do some research about a position and go on LinkedIn to find the hiring manager. On his profile, it’s clear he’s into horses. You also like horses and ride a lot! You could work this into the cover letter, but there’s no guarantee he’ll read that. The resume he’ll likely scan. In your “About Me” or “Extracurriculars” section, lead with “Horses” or “Horse-riding” or however you want to define it. You just showed your real self, defined your personality, and forged a connection with the hiring manager. Triple win!

What Not to Miss in Your Resume

  • A resume should be about 1 page —  with an absolute max of 2 pages.
  • Basic fonts (Arial, Times New Roman) and sizes (10-14). Basic margins (1 inch) too.
  • Do not include a photo. This can work for acting/modeling jobs, but for almost every other type of job, don’t do it. It can turn recruiters off (there are diversity issues within the idea of including a photo) and a bad photo could get you rejected even if everything else is a perfect fit.
  • Use a PDF format because Word can change across different platforms.
  • Spell-check repeatedly or have 2-3 friends read it for errors or any misspellings.

Remember: a Fact Sheet Will Never Be Impressive

Stay between the lines on all the formatting rules and expected professionalism. That’s your baseline.

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Make sure your resume tells a story — specifically, of course, that would be your story. It cannot just be facts, dates, and universities. Everything needs to be woven together into a story.

Show your personality and qualify (and quantify!) your accomplishments.

You have somewhere between 6 and 15 seconds, but if you follow this script, you should be able to drive a lot of attention and interest in your resume.

Reference

More by this author

Brian Lee

Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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