It’s a well known fact that recruiters and hiring managers spend just 10 seconds (if you’re lucky) briefly scanning each resume to find potential candidates for a position. Not only are they pressed for time, but by about the 20th application, they’re pretty much over the whole process. Pages and pages of blah blah blah. What they really want to see is an application that’s straight to the point and gives them all the information they need without spending too much time trying to decifer your story. Below is some pointers to help your resume passed the all important 10 second scan test.
Be concise, structured and specific.
Don’t beat around the bush. Your reader doesn’t have the time or interest in reading about your entire personal and career history. They only want to know if you have the skills they’re looking for and what benefits you’ll bring to their organisation. That’s it. They don’t care if you’re married or divorced, have 4 kids in primary school or spent 3 years backpacking across Europe in 1988. Keep the information relevant to the job your applying for and only talk about the stuff that’s really going to interest your target audience. I’m talking about your achievements, examples of when you’ve demonstrated the skills needed for the role and unique talents that make you stand out ahead of all the other candidates.
Everyone has an opinion on how long your resume needs to be. In Australia, keep to between 3 and 5 pages. Ensure the structure simple and clear. On the front page, start with the most important information such as the profile or opening statement and key skills, followed by your employment history and achievements. Finish with qualifications and training and the less important information. Target each section of the resume to the position you’re applying for. Read through each job advertisement and provide examples of how you’ve demonstrated each required skill. Anyone can say that they’re a great communicator, so why not go that extra step further by showing when you have demonstrated great communication skills. You can bet no-one else will and this could make the difference between getting noticed and getting overlooked.
When you target your resume for a particular role, this also means you’ll probably need to change the details on your resume quite a few times. It’s not unusual to have 10 different versions of your resume in circulation whilst you’re in job search mode. Don’t make the mistake of using just one resume for every application. Looking for a job can be a full-time job in itself and it takes time and effort to get it right.
Just remember, if you keep it concise and specific to each job, hiring managers and recruiters will love you because you’ve made their job that much easier.