Resumes play a key role in landing the job you dream about. =The resume is usually the first impression that recruiters and potential employers have of you. In fact, most of the time it’s the only impression they get of you. If your resume is bad, you won’t hear from them again. It’s of vital importance that you do everything you can to build the most impressive resume you can, it could mean the difference of going in the trash bin or to the top of the pile. Here are a few tips you can use to make your resume stand out so that you can maximize your resume’s exposure.
Focus on the First Page
There are some of us that have 20+ years or more of experience, and therefore will have a very long resume. If your resume is more than one page, it’s critical that you focus on the first 1/3 of the first page. The reason for this is that most recruiters, the first line of defense, will only get through 1/3 of the first page. That first 1/3 of your page will determine whether or not the recruiter wants to read more, or simply move your resume to the trash. Studies show that most recruiters only spend about six seconds glancing at your resume. You need to make those six seconds count. Recruiters sift through hundreds of resumes daily Why go three pages deep if the first page fails to impress? You would likely do the same. This is why most newspapers place their best stories “above the fold” – because that’s what will be most visible when you go to buy a newspaper.
On the first page of your resume, specifically the top 1/3, there are some things you need to make sure to include in order to catch the eye of the recruiter/hiring manager. First off, your name. In a font that’s bigger than the rest of the resume, use your full legal name, and no nicknames. Second, your address, phone number and email. If your email is firstname.lastname@example.org, use a different email address to reflect a more professional appearance such as JamesSmith@gmail.com. If you are looking for a cleared job, place a line about the status of your clearance at the top of your resume, after your name and contact details. Additionally, at the top of your resume, list any professional certifications or training that you’ve completed. In short, in the 6 seconds a recruiter glances at your resume, they want to see who you are, how to contact you, if you have a clearance and what kinds of skills you have. The job history and education sections will be covered by a hiring manager when planning an interview.
Don’t Turn Your Resume into Spam
There are times when you are in need of a job and might be in a dire situation. That’s understandable; it can happen to anyone. The best thing you can do is take a deep breath and take stock of your options. The worst thing you can do, is send a BCC email to every recruiter you know with a generic subject line and your resume attached. It will look like spam and likely will get moved to trash. Whether you are in a bind or are preparing to make a change and aren’t rushing, make a more targeted effort in sending your resume. Your resume will be received much better if you send a personalized email, detailing your situation and interest in a specific job or company, and attaching your resume. When possible, call the recruiter or HR department and talk to someone first, establish contact and let them know you will be sending a copy of your resume via email. This builds rapport and turns your resume into a living breathing person, instead of just another job seeker.
Use a Cover Sheet
I don’t always advocate for a cover sheet, but when you are trying to maximize exposure, a cover sheet can go a long way. Your cover sheet is a warning shot, a flare, to grab the attention of the person you are sending your resume to. In your cover sheet, introduce yourself, explain why you are looking for a job, and express your interest in the specific job or company you are applying to. A cover sheet can be a bad thing if you are not precise with writing it. It should be no more than five sentences, essentially a short paragraph. If you send an essay as your cover sheet, expect it to be deleted… recruiters just don’t have time for that. Who are you, what do you know, why you are looking and your availability is all that should be in your cover sheet.
Focus on the first page, don’t spam recruiters and utilize a cover sheet. Doing those things will help to maximize your resume’s exposure. And if you’re searching for a job, the more exposure, the better.