You’ll spend countless hours revising your resume, but a recruiter or hiring manager typically takes seven to 10 seconds to review it before deciding if you’re interview-worthy.
So what’s the trick to getting your resume seen? Sharing the most important parts of your professional story. These strategies will help:
1. Start strong.
Make those seven seconds a hiring manager spends on your resume count by leading with a professional summary, a brief statement of your skills, qualifications, and accomplishments that instantly conveys your value. For someone with a decade of non-profit volunteer experience, this is an opportunity to highlight organizational leadership strengths. Start with the most recently held job/position.
Experienced, entrepreneurial professional with demonstrated success leading teams, developing programs, managing key constituent relationships, and communicating effectively to realize the institutional objectives of diverse non-profit organizations.
2. Emphasize results, not just responsibilities.
Numbers are the most important content in your resume, so you want to add as many numbers as you can. The good news: Most activities can be reframed as numerical achievements. For example, “raised funds” can become “raised $200k, exceeding fundraising goal by 25 percent.”
3. Demonstrate job readiness.
Address this hiring concern by incorporating current keywords from your field. These are the words and phrases most used in job descriptions in your field. If you’re unsure about what keywords to include, use Indeed.com’s job trends page to help modernize the language. In addition to industry keywords, also consider including recent certifications and office software skills to show you’re ready to dive in.
Job descriptions are unique to each position. Amend your professional summary and the information in your experience section to correspond to each job’s qualifications. This also ties in to including industry keywords—it doesn’t hurt to throw in some of the same words used in the job description.
5. Select a user-friendly format.
The format of your resume should direct hiring managers to the most important information: job titles, companies, start/end dates, and education. Section headings should be bold and/or underlined to set them apart. Job titles and employers should be bold or in italics, and employment dates should appear in the same place (either flush left or flush right) for each job description.
6. Include volunteer experience.
Twenty percent of hiring managers consider volunteer experience in their decision-making, so include a separate volunteer experience or community engagement section if applicable. If volunteer work is an important part of your story, bring it into your professional summary. A lawyer transitioning into the non-profit world, for example, should reference her pro bono work in her professional summary.
1. Neglect social media platforms.
Dates and jobs on your resume and LinkedIn profile should sync. Check your privacy settings, and ensure that your online presence is consistent and professional. It would also behoove you to scroll through your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts and erase any potentially unprofessional material.
2. Skimp on proofreading.
Spelling errors automatically disqualify applicants for 61 percent of recruiters and 43 percent of hiring managers. Use spell-check assiduously. Better yet, have a friend read your resume for grammatical errors you might miss.
3. Use an unprofessional email address.
Creatively named email accounts, like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com (these are only slightly altered to protect client confidentiality), will immediately take you out of the running. In fact, this is how 76 percent of job applicants are filtered out. Use a professional address, YourName@Server.com, for career communications, and trade in your AOL account—it telegraphs outdated computer skills.
4. Hide behind your computer.
Networking is essential to complement the low (2-4 percent) success rate of online applicants. Sixty-four percent of hires come through employee referrals, so personal outreach is key in today’s job market.
Learn more about career coach, Barri Waltcher.