Every day, recruiters review hundreds of resumes for a single position that are simply bland, tasteless and dry, leaving them feeling like their pursuits for finding their ideal candidate are hopeless. If you’re thinking about a recent dish you tried at a local restaurant right now, that’s exactly where we’re going with this when we say most resumes lack that original flavor.
Fortunately, your resume doesn’t have to be compared to that lifeless appetizer you sent back to the kitchen.
If you really want to make a bold first impression with your resume, you’ll need to follow these steps to ensure you stand out among the crowd of other hopeful candidates:
1. Avoid generic words.
When describing your position’s responsibilities, be as specific as possible and try your best to avoid using terms like ‘various’ and ‘others’. Practice being precise by listing the exact project you worked on or the distinct outcomes of a major campaign your team executed.
Also, try to outline your responsibilities in the first few sentences with a general summary if possible – then break down your responsibilities in more detail.
2. Keep it short and sweet.
Recruiters go through a ton of resumes in a day, so make sure you get to the point as quickly as possible. Be sure to describe the technical tools and any management responsibilities, etc. under the appropriate position.
3. But, be descriptive!
This may seem like a contradiction, but don’t assume that whoever is reading your resume can fill in the blanks and automatically imagine the tools and technologies you used and the operations you performed in your position.
4. Remember your grammar and formatting.
Change your descriptions from present tense to past tense. For example, ‘contributing’ would be ‘contributed’, ‘managing’ would be ‘managed’ and so on.
5. Be bold.
When you’re applying for a specific job, read the job description and look for keywords. Now look at your resume, find matching keywords from the job description and bold them.
When a recruiter is reviewing your resume, their eyes will naturally wander to the bold words or phrases in a big block of text. Bolding relevant phrases gives you the upper hand in distinguishing yourself on paper.
But remember: If you bold unnecessary words and text without a valid reason, the bolding will lose all value. Use it wisely!
Ronny Cheng is one of the Co-Founder’s of Digital Astronauts and has helped drive lead generation in the software industry for organizations of all sizes — from start-ups to Fortune 500’s. He helped build one of the first online software review websites, specializing in CRM, ERP, and HR software. He’s a nationally published author with extensive experience working with the HR/Recruiting industries largest brands. In his spare time, you can catch him on Instagram doing his best food blogger impersonation.