Hiring managers look at hundreds of resumes for every open position, so how can you make sure yours stands out and isn’t just another one that’s skimmed over? Format for humans and AI.
In a lot of cases it’s AI that sees your resume first, not a person. Many companies use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to screen candidates’ resumes, rather than having the hiring manager do the initial review. Because of this, you need to optimize your resume for it to be read by the ATS, but also keep it easy to read for the humans looking over it too.
The trick to getting your resume into the hiring manager’s hands is to utilize keywords from the job description. Those keywords are what the ATS picks up on and decides you’re a potential candidate. Pay particular attention to required skills and experience mentioned in the description and incorporate those terms into your resume.
Make it easy to read.
You want to format your resume in a way that’s neatly formatted and easy to skim and read. Utilize spaces and breaks between sections for ease of readability. Use bullet points to list your accomplishments and bold text for headings. Keep the font simple and don’t go overboard with colors or graphics. Avoid large blocks of text, as they tend to be skimmed exceedingly quickly or skipped altogether.
Put your best foot forward.
List your biggest accomplishments first. When the hiring manager is doing their initial review of resumes, they’re skimming, not reading thoroughly. The first point will stand out and can determine whether or not they keep reading. Not sure what to put first? Think of it this way – if the hiring manager only read one bullet point from each of your jobs, what’s the one thing would you want them to know? What showcases your talents and skills best?
Include details and numbers.
You want to provide as much detail as possible when you’re listing your job responsibilities. Include numbers and statistics wherever possible. Numbers help to illustrate your accomplishments, and they’re also easy to see when skimming a document. For example, instead of saying that you improved sales, say that you increased sales by 12% in 9 months. The latter is much more compelling.
Use variety in your descriptions.
If each bullet point starts with ‘responsible for’, ‘managed’, or ‘lead’, after the first few instances everything will start to look the same and the hiring manager will stop reading. Use descriptive verbs to highlight your accomplishments and add variety to your resume. The thesaurus is your friend here – you’d be surprised at how many other ways you can say ‘managed’.
Keep things reverse chronological.
Start with your most recent experience first, then work backwards from there. Your most recent experience is what’s most relevant, so it belongs at the top. You also want to list your work experience before your education and skills.
Ashira Prossack, ForbesWomen, 29 Oct 2019.