According to the Rockport Institute, only one interview is granted for every 200 resumes received by the average employer. Research also tells us that your resume will be scanned, rather than read. Ten to twenty seconds is all the time you have to persuade a prospective employer to read further. When it comes to your resume, it’s your ingenuity and creativity, as much as your truckload of talents, that will either make or break you.
Your Social Media Profiles Precede You
Before you even start writing, remember that your profiles on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are likely to be accessed by potential employers. In fact, 68% of employers will look you up on Facebook, and 93% of recruiters are likely to look at your overall social media profile.
Do a little housecleaning to make sure your social profiles are tasteful. By all means, keep your pictures of your dog, but maybe rethink that photo of you playing beer pong in your pajamas. And be sure that your LinkedIn profile reflects the information on your resume, because interested employers will always look you up on LinkedIn.
Your Resume Is an Ad and You Are its Brand
The best advice from hiring pros is to think of your resume as an advertisement for yourself. Because that’s exactly what it is, and an ad’s only objective is to get the reader to respond. Write a resume that can be easily modified to fit each potential employer. If you want a recruiter to take you seriously, you must take the job of tailoring your resume to his company seriously.
And if your resume is an ad, you are the brand it is selling. Today, brand attributes are commonly woven into a resume summary by job seekers to show their interest in the company they’re applying to. Say you’re writing a resume for a position with a prestigious architectural firm. A clever way to catch their attention is to use the company’s colors in your resume: it’s a way of showing you‘re familiar with their style – and it will catch their interest immediately.
A Few Additional Truths
- 76% of resumes are discarded for an unprofessional email address. It’s time to change firstname.lastname@example.org into email@example.com.
- There’s an 88% rejection rate when you include a photo on your resume. Why put a photo on your resume and give people the opportunity to judge you by your appearance, your hairstyle, your fashion sense, rather than your professional credentials?
- Applicant Tracking Software (robots you didn’t know existed that sort resumes) eliminates 75% of applicants. These systems trash any resume containing misspellings or other errors, but the good news is that they promote those that present the unique keywords and phrases linked to the job offer in question. (So use those keywords and phrases!)
Everything You Need – and DON’T Need
Here is what you need to put on your resume: your full name, your contact information, your present position if you have one, an attention-grabbing summary of your career so far, your professional experience – with details on how you affected change in your different roles. How were your ideas implemented? How successful were they? What areas did you improve and how did you measure that success? Don’t forget to include metrics—they’re beloved by prospective employers (for example, “Increased department revenue by 600% in just three years”). Add your particular skills, your education, hypertext links to your LinkedIn profile and your website if you have one, and that’s pretty much it.
What you should not include on your resume, are the following: your photo (remember that 88% rejection rate?), marital status, religious preference, social security number, age, hobbies (unless you are a former Olympic athlete or something equally mind-blowing), or references (if recruiters want them, they’ll ask for them). And for pity’s sake, spare people outmoded or annoying fonts like Comic Sans!