Employers spend only 30 to 60 seconds reviewing candidates’ résumés when deciding whom to interview. Every second counts! Learn tips, tricks, and techniques to maximize every line of your résumé.
Your résumé is a marketing tool to get you an interview. It acts as your representative until the interview stage of the job search. A résumé should convey the most relevant information for an employer in a professional way that is easy to read.
You can look at your résumé as a commercial for who you are as a candidate. Typically, recruiters spend 30 to 60 seconds reviewing a résumé—roughly the same time spent viewing a television commercial. And like a commercial, if you don’t catch the viewer’s attention and create a positive, memorable impression quickly, the opportunity is lost. The following tips can help you get an employer’s attention and help you put your best foot forward in your job search.
Make contact: Include the best street address, professional-looking email address, and phone number at which to reach you.
Cap and gown: If you haven’t graduated yet, list your anticipated graduation date and the name of your degree.
Value added: List relevant coursework, academic projects, student leadership positions, and research projects if you don’t have much formal work or internship experience.
Mission accomplished: Include accomplishment statements about previous jobs that detail what you did, how you did it, and its impact.
Career path: List names of employers, dates of employment, locations, and job titles.
Skill set: Include technical skills you have and any other skills you have that the job calls for.
Résumé Formats That Rock
The chronological format is appropriate when you have a continuous job history, have fewer jobs, or where the
most recent job has relevance to your job search.
- Organize it by job responsibilities and accomplishments, starting with the most recent first.
- Chronicle your job history by date, with the most recent job listed first.
The functional format is appropriate if you are changing fields, want to highlight a particular skill, or have far more jobs than can be organized concisely.
- List your skills/achievements by functional category headings at the top of the page.
- Summarize your employers and dates of employment at the bottom of the page.
The hybrid format is effective for applicants in career transition, are entry-level, or are looking to re-enter the job market. It enables you to tailor your résumé to specific jobs.
- Emphasize your key skills.
- Include reverse chronology in each section.
Quick Tips To Create A Résumé With Impact
Eliminate errors: Many hiring managers automatically discard a résumé with any typos. Run a spellcheck and have your résumé critiqued. Career Services at Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations or University Career Services can provide critiques.
Pare it down: Delete redundant or superfluous words, and remove all personal pronouns.
Accentuate the positive: Change passive statements to active ones, using words like “coordinated,” “supervised,” “developed,” “managed,” or “researched.”
Work history: List jobs and skills in order of importance, and give specific dates and titles for your jobs.
The right fit: Tailor your résumé to the internship or job as much as possible, using the key elements the job requires for education, skills, qualifications, and experiences.
Keep it simple: Avoid a résumé that is too long or has no white space on the page. A rule of thumb is a page for every 10 years of experience. Use simple formats and common fonts.
Just the facts: Don’t include colors, icons, pictures, shapes, or personal information.
User friendly: Make your résumé digital friendly—clickable with hyperlinks built in for your email and LinkedIn or to relevant websites. Consider making it mobile friendly, too, and submit as a PDF.
Your Résumé’s Professional Summary
Be specific: A professional summary should use targeted, specific, action-oriented language to detail your skills, education, and experience.
Stand out: Include keywords and phrases that form a positive impression on the reader and on applicant tracking software.
High impact: Include accomplishments that demonstrate what you have done. They should be meaningful and measurable.
Problem solving: List actions you took in response to problems and the results you obtained. Ask yourself:
- What did I do daily, weekly, monthly?
- How did I add value?
- How did I contribute to or participate in change?
- What challenges did I face and resolve?
- What was the impact on the team, department, or company?
STAR quality: Use the STAR method: think of the situation/task you faced, the action you took to resolve the problem, and the result or outcome of your actions.