The Do's and Don’ts of an Impactful Resume

The Do's and Don’ts of an Impactful Resume
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Akshatha Kamath

Last updated October 11, 2017


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Did you know that on an average, recruiters spend just six seconds vetting a resume? Monster.com, a US-based international employment website, receives close to 427,000 resumes every week. Almost 75 percent of these profiles are rejected by hiring companies because of a weak resume, irrelevant experience, or for falsified information. Your resume meets the recruiter even before you do. While you hone your professional skills, it is equally important that you work on building a resume that showcases those skills and experiences and has the potential to capture a recruiter’s interest within seconds. 

Why Is It Critical to Have an Updated and Impactful Resume?

  • Create a good first impression – According to Dr. John Sullivan, a renowned Human Resource (HR) specialist, two of the most important sections in any resume are your job title and the organizations that you have worked with. To create a lasting first impression on any recruiter, it is essential that you display this information on your resume in a prominent manner. Remember that most enterprises now opt for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) for their initial screening round. Therefore, it is important to use the right keywords while creating an impressive profile. 
  • Get noticed by top hiring companies – Statistics show that the chances of getting hired for a job are less than 5 percent, even if your resume is near-perfect. Deloitte, a multinational professional services firm, shortlists just 3.5 percent of the job applications received for any role in the enterprise. It is important to have an optimally worded, skill-packed resume, that showcases relevant experience for that particular opening.  
  • Stay current –  In today’s landscape of automation and recession, sporting a year-old resume on various job sites and social media pages highlights your negligence towards your professional growth. It is recommended that you update your resume every quarter to include your most recent skills and work experience.

The Do's: Things to Include in Your Resume

While scanning through thousands of resumes, recruiters look for some basic information about your profile. Here are seven things, which will make your profile stand out:

Technical skills – You may have gained several skills and mastered different technologies and platforms in past or current roles. Highlighting your key skills at the right time and in the right context on your resume will help you get noticed. Your technical expertise must be logically divided into the following sections on your resume: 

  1. Job title – Include your current designation within the professional summary. This will inform the recruiter about your present role and will guide him to evaluate you for the right role in their organization. Also include sections describing previous companies, roles and responsibilities, and the location of your last employer. 
  2. Awards and accomplishments – Won “The Best Project Manager for 2016-17” certificate at your company? Managed to lower paid campaign costs by 15 percent within six months? Remember to include your career highlights while drafting your resume. Include statistics or measurable results to back up your achievements. This will help employers understand how you can contribute to their organization.  
  3. Certifications – Include a dedicated section that describes advanced certifications and training that you have gained. For example, as a delivery manager, if you are also a Certified Scrum Master (CSM), mentioning it in your resume will give you additional brownie points. If you are a project manager who’s pursuing a Project Management Professional certification, include that under your list of certifications as “Pursuing PMP®”. 
  4. Relevant website linksAccording to the 2015 Recruiter Nation Study, 96 percent of recruiters use social media to look for qualified candidates, and LinkedIn tops the preferred social hiring tools list. That means that your LinkedIn profile should always be updated. A formal profile picture, some good recommendations, and value-added work experience are the essential requisites of a good LinkedIn profile. Include your LinkedIn profile and a link to your online portfolio on your resume.

Soft skills –  According to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, strong work ethics, dependability, positive attitude, ability to work in a team, and being proactive as well as self-motivated are some of the most valued soft skills that employers look for. A few other in-demand soft skills which you should consider adding into your resume are your communication skills, critical thinking abilities, organizational skills, and adaptability quotient.

It is important to package your soft skills when adding them to your resume. For example, if you want to showcase your ability to work under pressure, a sentence that reads “Preferred team member to go the extra mile during last-minute situations” works better than “Can handle pressure.”

Relevant keywords – A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work when it comes to your resume. Remember to customize your resume for a specific job posting. You can do this by highlighting relevant experience on your resume. In addition, go through the job description to identify the keywords used, and incorporate them prudently to ensure that your resume is selected during the ATS scan. 

Contact information – Include your email address and phone number at the top of your resume after your name. Also, be sure to follow these tips before sharing your contact details:

  1. Create a formal email address such as john.smith@gmail.com if your current address is too playful, such as johnthejuggler@gmail.com.
  2. Share your personal number – Phone numbers on the resume are for the recruiter to call you directly. Refrain from offering multiple contact numbers. 

The Don’ts: Five things to take off your resume

  1. Personal information - Avoid including personal details such as your height, weight, date of birth, marital status, general hobbies, and religion. 
  2. Irrelevant work experiences – Avoid including details about work experiences which are not related to your current role or the role you’re seeking. For example, you may have started your career as a cook, but have now stepped into the IT industry. Mentioning your cooking experience in your resume while applying for a senior consultant role does not add any value and is best left out.   
  3. Outdated skills – While emphasizing your strengths is key, talking about skills or technologies which are obsolete is a strict “no.” For example, saying that you are proficient in Visual FoxPro will not impress the recruiter; neither will it better your chances of clearing the interview. Instead, enroll for courses on latest technologies from renowned training institutes and show it off on your resume. 
  4. Career objective – Crafting an objective filled with flowery language and some buzzwords might not impress hiring managers. Describe your career objective with a one-line summary of your work experience.
  5. Grammatical slips and spelling mistakes – Your resume is your first impression to the recruiter, so it must be error-free. After you have written your resume, take time to go through each sentence and correct any grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. Asking a friend with a good eye for grammar to give your resume a second look is greatly recommended. According to a study done by CareerBuilder, more than 60 percent of recruiters disqualify a profile if it contains a typo. In fact, a research by Adecco indicates that 43 percent of recruiters do not consider candidates whose resume has a single spelling mistake.

Officevibe hiring statistics for 2017 indicate that the average cost of hiring one new employee is as high as $4,000 (in addition to their salary). Since the hiring costs are substantial, employers invest sufficient time and efforts into the screening process. A half-baked resume will only add to your roadblocks while preparing for a successful career jump. If you think your existing skills are not enough to market yourself, check professional institutes who offer value-added certifications and training and enroll yourself in a course that will provide cutting edge skills. Aggregate all of your top skills on paper and work towards creating a resume that sets you apart from your peers. 
 

About the Author

Writer, Marketer, Traveler, Experimenter and a huge Book(read Kindle)-addict. Akshatha heads content at Simplilearn and when not at work, she's all of the above.


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