Hiring managers look for resumes that are straightforward and easy to read. So don’t use resume formats that are heavy on formatting, fancy fonts and graphics. In fact, such flourishes may work against you by distracting from your skills and experience. Here are some resume tips that give insight into what you should focus on and what things – such as resume keywords – you should include:
Job seekers typically use reverse chronological resumes, which list the most recent jobs first, followed by previous positions. However, if you are a recent graduate or lack extensive work experience, you may want to explore other resume formats. One of the most common is the functional resume. With this format, you begin your resume with a summary of your skills and education and then list your work history.
Some applicants use a combination of the two resume formats, presenting an overview of their most important qualifications and accomplishments along with a shortened work history.
Many employers use resume-filtering software that scans for resume keywords and evaluates how closely resumes match the preferred skills and experience. To minimize the chances of your resume getting filtered out, incorporate terminology and resume keywords from the job posting – if, of course, the terms honestly describe your abilities.
How long should your resume be? Senior executives interviewed for a survey commissioned by our company expressed a greater receptiveness to two–page resumes for staff positions. While most (52 percent) still preferred a one–page resume, a full 44 percent gave the nod to two-page documents.
This is a substantial change from the same poll conducted a decade ago. At that time, 73 percent of employers favored a single page. Executives’ growing acceptance of longer resumes suggests that, although conciseness remains paramount, hiring managers also want to receive enough information to make good assessments of candidates’ qualifications.
The best rule of thumb is to allow the breadth and depth of your experience to dictate resume length. On the other hand, don’t make your resume longer than necessary simply to appear more experienced. Hiring managers can easily spot filler. Before putting anything on your resume, ask, “Does this add value to my candidacy?” If it doesn’t, eliminate the information or recast it in more meaningful terms.