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Tenured recruiters know exactly what they’re looking for when they review your resume.

The top and bottom get the most attention. At the top recruiters want to know who you are, what you say about yourself (that should be in a profile or summary), what you’re doing now and how long you’ve been there. At the bottom, they want to see what you’ve studied, when you studied it. They also want to know what your first job was out of school, or what you have listed as your first position.

Please note, some people look at your first job so they can compare it to your graduation date. Don’t avoid judgment by skipping graduation dates, that raises flags about age as well as undisclosed work experiences.

If a scan of Top to Bottom has made a positive impression, the body copy of the resume gets a chance to shine. Here’s when I’ll spend 30+ seconds on a resume not 6. That said, I need to see clear concise documentation so I can parse out what I’m looking for quickly. If I can’t get a good gut feel, I move on. If I’m bombarded with copy, too many bullet points, side bar tables and long paragraphs, you’ve lost me.

Here are six things you need to do with your resume to get the attention it deserves:

1) Develop a profile that tells it like it is, what you do, and why you do it well. Avoid ALL generic adjectives like accomplished, results oriented, successful, and senior. This is a distillation process and it’s your mission statement which shouldn’t read like everyone else’s.

2) All of your work experiences should be listed in less than 5 bullet points, less than two sentences each and begin with an accomplishment NOT a responsibility. Heading up your bullet points with action verbs like, delivered, increased, built, created or managed are very effective.

3) Numbers speak volumes, if you’ve increased, enhanced, grown, developed, sold, promoted or marketed anything; tie a metric to what you did where ever possible. This can be percentages, time or dollars. Remember, RESULTS matter!

4) Degrees, certifications, diplomas, hobbies, and sabbaticals can all be listed at the END of your resume. Hobbies matter to many employers, it’s up to you if you want to include them.

5) Please use a chronological resume, functional resumes are despised by most recruiters, HR professionals and hiring managers. Functional resumes hide when you accomplished your feats and with whom. Career progression and evolution are most evident in a chronological resume.

6) Send your resume to job postings only if the experience defined in your resume lines up with the job your applying for. If you can’t connect the dots so that it’s clear you’re a suitable candidate, don’t expect professionals parsing through hundreds of resumes to get creative and take a chance by selecting your resume over others.

by Carmen Jeffery


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