Some studies have shown that a recruiter spends an average of 6 seconds looking at applicant’s resume before passing on to the next one. As a recruiter, I’d love to dispel that myth. Unfortunately in some cases, it is true. If I cannot easily find the information I’m looking for, I will immediately move on to the next resume, no matter how qualified for the job you may be. To prevent that from happening to you, here is my list of resume do’s and don’ts:
DO include all professional work experience. For example, if you have 30 years of working experience, you may not need to go back that far, but if you have 15 years or less of professional working experience, it’s worth listing every position you’ve held. The person you are interviewing with could have worked for the same company in a lower level position 10 years prior. This can be used not only as an icebreaker, but also a platform to demonstrate professional growth.
DO NOT include personal information that does not need to be on a professional document. It is common in some cultures to include such things as martial status and date of birth on a resume. Another item that falls under this category are pictures. One should refrain from pictures, as they can be a waste of space and visually distracting.
DO be clear and concise, without providing an excessive amount of information. Primary responsibilities for each position as well as significant accomplishments should be listed. It is okay to break the one page threshold, however please note that multiple pages can become questionable. It’s also vital that your contact information is easy to read and find, but most importantly, current. In regards to your email address, please keep it professional.
DO NOT list the year you graduated high school or college. If possible please avoid using dates that can indicate your age, unfortunately this may influence an interviewers decision to hire you. In addition, a GPA listing is not a relevant factor to proceed with a candidate, however if you were class valedictorian or were on the Dean’s list, that is wonderful information to include in a list of accomplishments or commendations.
DO list any certifications, memberships, or accolades you feel align with the type of work you are looking for. Unknowingly, there may be commonality with others at the company to which you are applying. This demonstrates your commitment and or involvement.
DO NOT falsify any information on your resume. This should go without saying, however, all of your dates of employment should be listed and should be accurate. Any false information you list on your resume will likely be discovered during a background and/or reference check. Employers always appreciate honesty even if it means disclosure of termination. If you can provide a reasonable explanation for what happened, it’s better to be transparent sooner rather than later.
Lastly, and perhaps most important, check your resume for spelling and formatting errors. As every word on your resume should be spelled correctly and your formatting should be consistent throughout your entire document. For example, if you bold one job title, they should all be bolded. If you have bullets in your resume, they should all line up. This will help to ensure your resume has a consistent look and feel to it. It will also keep your information neat and easy to read.
Following these Do’s and Don’ts should ensure that your resume gets more than 6 seconds of exposure to a recruiter.