While job hunting, you will put a significant amount of time into crafting your resume. And after all the effort, you want to make sure your hard work pays off. After all, it is easy for talented and qualified candidates to be overlooked simply because their application materials did not match the expectations of hiring managers. Take time to consider what the person on the other side is expecting to see.

Besides the obvious elements, such as contact information, skills, experience, education and certifications, what will catch a recruiter’s attention?

Easy-to-Read Layout

On average, recruiters spend six seconds reading an individual resume. (Time, 2012). This means your document needs to be quickly (very quickly) scannable on a computer screen and in print.  Choose a reasonably sized and legible font, keep the layout clean and simple, and include white space and short text to highlight the most relevant information. If you feel the need to be creative, break the rules carefully. A basic, traditional resume often wins.

Qualifications that Fit the Job Description

It may be tempting to write one resume and to send it to multiple employers. This is NOT a recipe for success. Although you may use a standard document as a starting point, be prepared to customize your materials for each position. Read the entire job posting and tailor your work experiences, skills and credentials to the specifics listed. It should be immediately obvious from your paperwork that you may be a good candidate.

Keywords

In today’s world, it is possible a computer rather than a person will be the first to read your resume. ATSs (Applicant Tracking Systems) are software applications that can rapidly sort through thousands of resumes. Based on a company’s criteria, an ATS may rank an applicant higher based on the number of keywords used or eliminate a candidate who does not meet minimum qualifications. For both man and machine, match your resume to the job description as closely as possible.

Specific Results

When you outline your skills, positive contributions and achievements, be as factual as possible. Avoid general statements such as, “Increased sales” and “Improved systems.” Backup assertions with hard facts, figures, dollars, quantities, and percentages.

Misspellings, Mistakes and Other Errors

For better or worse, a minor error can send the otherwise perfect resume directly into the trash can. Recruiters may need to review hundreds of applications in less than an hour. An obvious mistake makes a resume quick and easy to reject. Proofread your document, ask friends and family to proofread your document and then proofread again.

Are you struggling to perfect your application materials? Writing a resume can be a daunting task whether you are looking for your first, second … or fifth job. The experts at an employment agency can provide suggestions and advice as you seek out your next opportunity. United Talent has offices throughout West Virginia and the Tri-State area. Our staffing coordinators would be happy to put their expertise to work for you.