It’s a tough job market out there right now.  With the holidays behind us and the new year offering fresh opportunities, it’s time to learn some new skills to get hired now.  According to the Huffington Post, the average recruiter or hiring manager spends 6 seconds reviewing your resume. Can you stand out of the crowd in 6 seconds? Want to learn how?

Writing Resumes that Get Noticed

Regardless of the industry, you can learn some useful tools from a skilled recruiter.  As a recruiter, I have over 25 years of experience reviewing thousands of resumes. I can tell you that so few tend to stand out of the crowd because writing resumes seems so unnatural. With a little help, you too can write a resume that will get you hired.

What Belongs and What Do You Abandon?

When it comes to writing resumes that get noticed, you have to decide which skills and experience you want to highlight and how to frame yourself. Are you an energetic creative go-getter? Are you a meticulous detail oriented assistant? Who are you and what can you offer the company reviewing your resume? Consider the following resume writing tips to help yourself stand out of the crowd.

  • Highlight only your relevant experience. It seems natural that many people, especially those lacking significant experience in a field, want to include everything they’ve ever done on their resume. This is a big mistake. If you’re attempting to get hired as a marketing professional, that summer teaching swimming at the youth camp isn’t going to help you get the job. Use bullets and bold fonts in your relevant experience to communicate clearly how you meet the job qualifications. Present your resume as an easily scannable document that’s easy to digest and understand.
  • Quantify your specific accomplishments. Did you help your firm obtain new clients? How many? Did you raise sales? By how much? Hiring managers look for specifics such as raised sales by 25% or increased customer engagement by 33%. These are quantifiable figures that hiring managers understand and can compare to their expected return on investment. Make a compelling case that hiring you will clearly benefit the employer.
  • Experience, education, skills. Hiring managers skim and they want to see your most recent accomplishments and experience at the top. Focus your efforts on providing your relevant experience first, then move on to education and skills. If you are a bilingual customer service agent, consider highlighting that in your latest job experience to grab the hiring manager’s attention. Keep your experience and skills relevant to the position and the culture of the company you seek to join.
  • Keep it professional and drop the personal information. While it’s interesting you climbed Mt. Everest, hiring managers aren’t going to interview an under- qualified candidate simply because you had an interesting excursion. This goes double for your love of wine tasting and yoga. Stick to presenting a professional image. In the interview, you can elaborate how you manage stress in the office effectively because of these activities. Be up front, position yourself as the professional candidate with the experience a firm need.

Don’t Lose Sight of the Basics

Unless you’re attempting to attain a job in creative design, your resume should be simple and straightforward. You don’t need fancy borders, crazy fonts, or splashes of color to surround your achievements. Let your work experience and your accomplishments speak for themselves. Although there is still a debate on how long is too long, a good resume is generally between one page and two pages. Longer resumes run the risk of being overlooked by hiring managers in favor of resumes that are easily digestible. Remember to keep it up to date and keep it simple as you write your resume and to let your personality sell it later.