How to Make Employers Pay a Closer Look at Your Resume

By Roy Maclaughlin

April 17, 2019   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

It is no secret that average hiring authorities spend less than 10 seconds reviewing a resume. That means your main marketing document has very little time to prove to employers that you are the right fit for the job, especially if you are talking about 10-20 years of work experience.

However, there are some things that will likely make employers pay a closer look. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to make a resume stand out:

Step 1: Make sure it passes initial ATS scan

More and more companies use applicant tracking software (ATS) which allows them to filter out candidates at the initial stage, making the life of hiring managers much easier.

A study reveals that the majority of job seekers are rejected by ATS. So, before employers can pay a closer look at your resume, they have to see it first. And they will be able to see it only after it passes the Applicant Tracking System.

To make that happen, you have to do a couple of things:

  • Keep your resume format simple. There should be no graphic elements and fancy layouts. Otherwise, ATS may not be able to read it.
  • Include the required keywords for the job. Those are words or word combinations that relate to a particular position and industry.
  • Don’t forget to mention the employment dates for each and every job.

Step 2: Make it easy for employers to skim through the document

how to write a good resume

The truth of the matter is that no prospective employer will be carefully reading your resume. Spending about 5-10 seconds, they will only skim through the document to see if the things that they need are present.

A well-structured document with a clear heading separation and some white space will significantly help recruiters and employers skim through your resume faster. When a resume looks cluttered and one can hardly navigate through its different sections, hiring authorities simply go to the next one.

One of the most common resume writing mistakes is trying to squeeze everything onto a single page. As a result, employers need a magnifying glass to read that tiny font. But will they bother trying? Not a chance.

Although identifying an ideal length for a resume is quite a challenge, job seekers should use common sense when choosing the font size.

Leave some white space, keep bullets under two lines, go with one font size, use capital letters sparingly. These simple tips should help you create a document that will be easy to skim. Consequently, it means that employers will be able to quickly find the information they are most interested in and take a closer look.

Step 3: Show that you can meet their needs and wants

Now, whenever you see a job opening, that means that the company has a position to fill in. Obvious, right? The need is specific though – the company is just looking for a good person.

There is a set of specific duties that they need someone to be responsible for. That means that they will evaluate all candidates through the lens of those duties and job requirements. That is why relevance is incredibly important when it comes to resume writing.

If you are serious about a particular job opportunity, you have to understand the company’s needs first (position requirements). After you realize what the company is looking for, you can develop an effective resume that will demonstrate your capability of meeting the company’s need.

Showing employers that you can give them what they need or maybe, even more, is simple. All you have to do is draw a straight line between your work experience and skills and the job.

Don’t be afraid to leave out those things that are irrelevant to the position. Make each statement earn its place on the document. This way, your resume will be concise and to the point.

Ideally, you should also demonstrate your career progression. For example, you can mention how you took on increased responsibilities with each new role.

Step 4: Prove you can achieve results

With the current job competition, one has to stand out. It’s one way to have the hiring authorities pay a closer look at your resume and eventually hire you. The problem is that every project manager, customer service associate or teacher will have a similar set of responsibilities just as others with an identical or similar professional title.

As a result, most resumes look very similar since job seekers often put their duties up front.

How do you think hiring managers like it? Any chance of paying a closer look at the lists of generic responsibilities?

Not a chance.

To get noticed by employers, you will need to show that you can actually achieve results as opposed to just performing routine responsibilities. Therefore, the focus should be on how you contributed to your previous employers as well as how you added value.

It is best if you do it with facts and figures (i.e. “Increased sales by 41% within 4 months through implementing new customer retention program”). The more numbers and facts you use to demonstrate the impact, the better.

The real benefit behind what you did is what employers are after. If you manage to highlight that in your resume, employers will likely be happy to spend some extra time on your main marketing document.

Step 5: Proofread your resume so that it doesn’t contain any errors

resume proofreading

Now, this is very basic.

Everybody knows that having errors on a resume can become a turn-off for prospective employers. Nevertheless, there are thousands of applicants who never bother to proofread their main marketing documents.

Despite the fact that employers realize that all people are subject to making mistakes, they want their future employee to be able to eliminate easily predictable errors like typos.

If you really want your resume to last longer than 10 seconds, then you should make sure it doesn’t contain grammatical mistakes and typos. It is better you give your final document to one of your friends or relatives after you proofread it. A fresh look may spot mistakes you could miss.

See Also: 3 Atypical Life Hacks To Improve Your Resume

Key Takeaway

Your resume doesn’t have more than 10 seconds to impress a prospective employer. That means your initial job search goal is to develop a resume that will generate an instant interest among hiring managers.

When interested, employers will spend more time analyzing a candidate to see if one will be a good match for the job. Here is how you can stand out and get some extra time for your resume:

  • Make sure your resume is formatted properly so that it could get past applicant tracking systems
  • Include relevant keywords for ATS to select you as a strong candidate
  • Help employers navigate through your document quickly by using an easy to read layout
  • Focus on experiences and skills that relate to the requirements listed in the job description
  • Prove that you can achieve results by listing your quantified accomplishments
  • Proofread your resume to eliminate grammatical errors and typos

Following these simple recommendations doesn’t guarantee you an interview the next day after you send your application. What it means is that you will stand out against the crowd of other candidates. Plus, employers would want to read your resume more carefully, increasing your chances of getting hired.

Roy Maclaughlin

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