Writing a resume that gets noticed by the right employers can be a challenge any way you look at it. From the very first attempt at writing a resume, it’s likely that you’ve been told to keep it short and to the point – preferably to limit the resume to a one page document. That’s fine when you’re just starting off, but what do you do when you have years of experience that spills into a second and (horror of horrors) a third page? This is when writing a resume becomes more about strategy than formality.
Including the Right Elements in a Resume
It’s a fact that employers spend only about 6-seconds reviewing a resume before they decide whether an interview should be scheduled or not. That’s according to a survey conducted by The Ladders and featured in an ABC News article. For this reason alone, your resume needs certain elements that will catch a hiring manager’s eye.
Here are the ’golden keys’ to writing a resume that stands out in a big way:
Above the Fold Skills
When designing your resume, remember to keep the elements that are above-the-fold, that is -- the featured content in the top half of your resume, as clear and concise as possible. Use a professional resume format that includes a summary section to highlight your skills. Consider the keywords and phrases found in job descriptions as you write out your list of skills. Make them relevant to your targeted jobs and industry.
Too much detail on your resume will not overwhelm the person who is reading it, but in fact intricate details such as your key responsibilities in your past job will help a hiring manager decide whether you are a worthy candidate or not. Hiring managers are on the lookout for examples of your past success that are quantifiable and specific and not just fancy descriptions of the job titles you have held. Make this count. Find an interesting way of telling them how your work has added value to the previous company you have worked with.
Extra-Curricular Interests (Lifestyle and Sports)
One may find this unusual, but competing as an athlete can help you gain an edge over other candidates, even if you don’t participate anymore. Many hiring managers prefer candidates who have played a team sport in the past since they know what it takes to operate within a team. If they have played a sport in school or college, it also shows that they successfully managed to juggle both their academics and sports. This makes them more qualified to juggle priorities in the workplace.
Recognition or Awards
Humility may be a sterling quality to have, but when it comes to your resume, it is okay to brag just a bit about yourself. Be sure to include any past awards or recognition in your resume in particular. Most employers are on the lookout for those candidates who are driven and talented. If the drive or the talent is related to the job in question, there is nothing like it. High-performing companies are constantly on the lookout for creative, passionate and talented people who can offer them a competitive and significant edge in the marketplace.
Jobs at all Levels
You may think that some of the past jobs you may have held are trivial in nature and don’t need to take up space on your resume. But nothing can be further from the truth. No matter how insignificant you may think your past job was, it is bound to have taught you something valuable which will definitely help you down the line. Include part time jobs, temporary assignments, as well as paid and unpaid internships and volunteer positions.
Failures (If they Demonstrate Effort)
You might think that your resume is no place to add the things you did wrong in your previous jobs, but some experts believe that they can actually help you attain that coveted position. Employers do not expect you to have succeeded in everything. But they want to see that you have tried and given it your best shot and have learned something from your experience. Just be sure to list them in a positive light as part of your overall achievements under each job.
Remember, if you include the above elements in your resume, you will be more transparent to employers. Keep a focus on the positives and be honest at the same time (with tact). If a hiring manager is interested in you, he or she will read through your resume more closely during an in-person interview, which will give you the advantage as a candidate.