For every job vacancy in the U.S., an average of 118 people apply.* And many companies now require you to submit your job application and résumé online, so you don’t even have the opportunity to interact with decision-makers early in the process. Now that the all-important first impression comes from a résumé, here’s how to write yours so it represents you at your best.
Recruiters and employers often know exactly what they’re looking for in an applicant, so they tend to quickly skim through large piles of résumés in search of specific keywords, phrases, skills, and experience. According to a recent study released by online job search site The Ladders, recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds scanning each résumé before making the “keep it” or “pitch it” decision.†
When potential recruiters and employers scan through a pile of résumés, they look for specific keywords and red flags to let them know if the candidate is worth a second look. Think of your résumé as a sales pitch—and the product you’re trying to sell is you. If your sales pitch isn’t strong enough, recruiters and employers won’t be motivated to buy. These tips for résumé writing—what to do and what not to do—will help you position yourself as strongly as possible.
If you’ve been unemployed or self-employed, be certain to include specifics on any activities—even volunteering or other unpaid roles—that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
If you cringe at the thought of writing your own résumé, consider hiring a professional résumé writer. If you’re finishing a degree program, contact your college or university’s student services department for help with your résumé.
At Walden University, an accredited institution with online degree programs, our Career Services Center helps students effectively use their degree to advance their careers using a wide variety of tools and resources, including résumé writing and building tips. Get the help you need to continue your education and advance your professional goals.
*Forbes Magazine, “7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Your Job Search,” on the Internet at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/04/17/7-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-your-job-search/
†The Ladders, Keeping an Eye on Recruiter Behavior Study, on the Internet at: http://cdn.theladders.net/static/images/basicSite/pdfs/TheLadders-EyeTracking-StudyC2.pdf
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.ncahlc.org.