3 Tips Most Recruiters Won't Tell You About Writing Your Resume
Look I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if your resume gets the time of day, you'll get an average of 7 seconds (if you're lucky!) to give them enough to want to learn more. And the key is - leave them wanting more! Your resume is purely bait. BUT it needs to be legit bait that looks worthwhile because a hiring manager can sniff out an artificial worm a mile away. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Cut the BS at the top. I mean it.
9/10 resumes begin "excellent communicator, proficient in Microsoft Office, fast learner, good problem solver...". You get the idea. But do people actually think the other 999+ resumes will read "terrible at communication, never touched a pivot table, and you're going to have to spend minimum of 6 months babysitting me to help get me up to speed"?? Not a chance. And the reality of it is hiring managers simply skip over the "Summary and Skills" section(s) because they know there is a high probability it is BS. So instead make a better use of that real estate and communicate these skills in other ways throughout the body of your resume. For example, simply proofreading to avoid typos or spelling errors will reflect good communication skills and attention to detail. Another way to demonstrate you actually have strong Microsoft Excel skills - and do it in a credible way - would be to reference it in several bullet points throughout your experience. Which brings me to our next point...
2. Use bullet formatting. No one has time to read that..."stuff".
- Bullets help bring attention where you want the attention
- Bullets make it easier for you and the reader to organize and prioritize
- You're also less likely to overlook errors when proofreading
- And if you still don't believe me, what percent of students enjoyed math word problems as a kid? My point exactly.
3. Quantify, Quantify, Quantify.You need to keep your audience in mind at all times. Chances are pretty high the hiring manager has never worked for your current company and has no idea the responsibility level you have even if you have the most obvious job title in the world. The problem is so many candidates assume too much and have challenges articulating their experience outside of "Well, I did everything!" One way to alleviate this is to include quantifiable information that will help your reader understand the necessary context to determine you are worth an interview over "the other guy".
Quick pulse check: who would you rather interview below?
- Candidate A: "Provided great customer service and regularly exceeded customer service score goals across multiple customers."
- Candidate B: "Exceeded customer service score goal of 90% or above for the past 6 quarters and consistently ranked in the top 5% out of 500 team members servicing Fortune 500 accounts."
OK that might be a little overkill but you get what I'm putting down. Now here are some questions to get you started on this:
- How did your performance compare to peers? Above average or in the top 20th percentile?
- What kind of volume are you handling, how often, and across how many locations/business units/other nuances that make your job more complicated? (i.e. "Processing bimonthly payroll for 500 employees located across 4 countries" is a lot more impressive than "Processing payroll for entire company")
- What metrics were used to measure your performance? And how did you actually perform against those metrics? How many months/quarters/years have you demonstrated that performance?
- Did your role or team experience incremental growth, value, or efficiency due to you being in the role vs. the person before you? Did a process previously take 10 hours and you simplified it down to 2 hours?
- Is your company avoiding additional costs/risks because you're doing such a great job? (i.e. "consistently came in 20% under budget and met every deadline avoiding $1M in potential fines") Boom. [insert your mic drop here]
At the end of the day, you're providing a lot more value than could ever be articulated in 1-2 pages of a resume, but remember to cut the BS, use bullets, and quantify and that interview is all yours!