10 Ways to Make Sure Your Resume Gets Seen by an Employer
There is more competition in job seeking than ever before. A study back in 2008 by CareerBuilder had pointed out that companies, on average, received at least 75 resumes per job opening which is advertised.
In 2018, that number has most likely gotten astronomically higher. With the widespread use of LinkedIn and other social media platforms to promote job advertisements, there are hundreds of applicants for each position. If you check out job posts by some of the more well-known brands out there, that numbers enters into the thousands quite easily.
This is why it’s more important now to focus on getting your resume seen by the people who matter. This could be getting your resume in front of a recruiter or the human resource team of the company posting the job at the source.
Here are the top 10 ways to make sure your resume gets seen by an employer in 2018 and not just trashed while passing through an applicant tracking systems (ATS).
1. Going Back to the Basics
Online designing apps like Canva have allowed people to make great looking graphics without the technical skills needed otherwise. This has increased the use of fancy resumes when applying for jobs, but it’s important to remember that most HR software isn’t capable of reading such heavily coded files. The more design filled resume you have, the more likely your resume will be just trashed for not meeting the recruiter’s criteria by the software.
That’s something you want to avoid at all costs.
While making your resume, stick to the basics. Use word to create a simple resume, put in the relevant keywords that match a job description and your skillset and highlight your experiences, positions and companies you’ve worked with. Convert .doc files into .pdf to keep the format in place, unless specified otherwise.
Keeping it simple also applies to the font you use and where and how you mention your contact details and experiences. Even though a great looking resume can be created with advanced graphic design software, it usually isn’t worth it at the end of the day. Unless you are applying to a position which needs a display of your portfolio or designing abilities.
2. Keeping It Relevant to the Job Description
Most applicants end up using the same resume for every position they apply for. This practice decreases the chances of it ending up in front of the hiring manager by a lot due to not matching the job description as much as possible.
What you should be doing is going over the advertised positions job description and seeing how your profile and experience matches with what the company is looking for. It’s important to match your skill set to that being advertised. Think about it yourself. Wouldn’t it be logical to consider the most relevant applicant? It’s good to place yourself in the employer’s shoes when applying for a position. Would you shortlist your own resume? It’s worth thinking about and could save a lot of time and effort in the long run.
3. Use A Curated Cover Letter
A professional, well thought out cover letter is a major attraction for most employers out there. This gives the employer a chance to see what differentiates you from other candidates and an opportunity for you to highlight experiences otherwise not described in detail on your resume.
It is important to keep a resume as short as possible and to the point. Your cover letter is where you can expand more on what makes you the best candidate for the position you’re applying for.
Remember to talk about your strengths and how your efforts brought about results in your previous positions. Mention some details about your work ethic and how your thoughts align with the organization’s. This will give whoever is reading your application insight into why you may be the ideal candidate.
If you know who the hiring manager is, then even address it directly to them instead of the generic ‘To Whom It May Concern’. You should be passionate about the position you’re applying for. Make sure you put that on display in your cover letter.
4. Personalize the File Name
We receive hundreds of resumes daily. The most frustrating thing is when you download all of the resumes to sort out and end up having several which have just “Resume” as the file name.
That puts off a recruiter before they even look at your resume.
Just take a look at the two examples, which one would you be more willing to look at in a folder containing hundreds of resumes?
Example A: Resume.docx
Example B: RachelThompsonResume.docx
Just adding your name to the file title made it that much more appealing. That’s for sure.
5. Clearly Mention Contact Details
What could be harder for a recruiter than to start struggling to find each candidate’s contact details? When you’re sifting through hundreds of resumes, not being able to find the email address or phone number of the shortlisted candidates can become a source of confusion and frustration.
The best practice is to have your email address and cell number mentioned as clearly as possible. It is advised that this information should also be a part of the top half of your resume and possibly right under, or next to, your name and initial introduction.
Including the link of your LinkedIn profile is also recommended now. This way, employers can quickly just tap on that while your resume is open and explore more aspects about your profile which may further grab their interest.
6. Adapt Professionalism
Humor may be acceptable to an extent but shouldn’t cross the boundaries of becoming unprofessional and childish. You could keep things fun and entertaining but using the same email address from your high school days isn’t really as cool as you may think of it to be.
Let’s say someone by the name of John Smith is applying for a position.
Would it better if John applied with this email address: CrazyRockstar220@gmail.com or with a more subtle one like: JohnSmith220@gmail.com? I’m hoping you chose to go with the latter option.
This doesn’t only apply to your email address. Take a look at the kind of language you’re using on your resume, cover letter and even consider the picture you might have on your LinkedIn profile. Does everything give off a professional, enthusiastic type of vibe or would someone assume you to be just another non-serious candidate? Choice is yours.
7. Quantify Your Accomplishments
It’s great to know that you were the top seller or led the business development team in your previous role. But how could you portray that even further to the hiring manager? Giving numbers and achievements based on facts and figures goes a long way.
It’s human nature to believe something is closer to the truth when there is some data to back it up. If you were the top seller in your last position, how was that measured? Talk more about how many sales were made, what strategies you used to achieve them and how did it affect the company’s overall performance.
This is the sort of stuff recruiters love. Because it allows them to solidify you as a potential hire and even root for you during the process.
Plus, you’ll stand out of the crowd in which most people are boasting their work histories, but only with words.
8. Keep Your Resume as Mature As You Are
What we mean by this is that if you’ve been in the field for over 10 years and still have your high school and first internship mentioned on you resume, you are wasting a whole lot of space. Space which you could otherwise be using to showcase some of your more worthy and recent skills.
That saved up area on your resume could also go towards adding in some new trainings you may have done or projects you completed. Utilize as much space on your resume as you can for the things that matter and take those things out which are either irrelevant or just are too back in history to consider important anymore.
Sure, if you’re just starting off or have been working for a couple of years, it’s fine to keep your high school and internship on there. But after you cross the 5-year mark, it’s time to say goodbye to the initial years of your career and hello to the more matured version of yourself.
9. Do a Grammar Check
With all the tools out there to make sure your spelling is on point, it would be horrible for someone to see a grammatical mistake on a resume. Proofread your resume. Spend some time going over the content you have on it. Treat it as if someone else was doing a critique of it.
See something that could be grammatically better? This is what could help land that next job you’ve been dreaming off or could also keep you far away from it.
Spelling mistakes, typos and poor grammar just aren’t acceptable anymore. Especially in 2018. Your resume is an examination of you, your work history and your education. Prove its worth someone’s time and money to consider hiring you.
10. Use Those Connections
You have thousands of people added on LinkedIn, Facebook and who knows where else. In 2018, we all have that going on for us, but how many of us are actually taking out the time to build real relationships. A very small percentage.
Be one of those people that shares knowledge, sparks up conversations and is heard. It’s not really that hard to do. Just look at the people who seem to be the most active on sites like LinkedIn. They have engagement and develop a friendship with people maybe even thousands of miles away from where they’re living.
It’s worthwhile to know people who could help you out and to whom, you could also provide value to. A recommendation is 10 times more likely to get you a job you are qualified for, compared to just applying out of the blue.
Why are recruiters hailed for their services to large organizations? Because they recommend only those people who may be most suitable for the role and put their stamp of approval on it. It’s a trust factor and you should be out there trying to build some of your own.
No matter how advanced recruiting gets or how many jobs are advertised and the number of people applying to them changes or not, the basics will always be applicable. Keep your resume fresh, clean and tailored. If you spend that extra effort, it won’t be going unnoticed.