If you’re applying for a full-time office job, it’s likely there are dozens, if not hundreds, of applicants vying for the same position. As a result, a typical employer probably reviews a dozen or more resumes a day while a job is open, and according to Glassdoor, spends an average of only six seconds looking at each one.
You might even get screened out before the employer has a chance to look at your resume. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reports that more than 90 percent of large companies use automated screening tools known as applicant tracking systems to sort candidates based on desired skills and experience to narrow down the pool of candidates for consideration.
So, how do you craft a resume that will catch an employer’s attention and help you secure an interview?
Here are four tips on how to write a resume that will stand out:
1. Customize each resume
Take the time to research each company and study the job description. Before you submit your resume, review it again and make sure you have included the keywords and phrases that you noted in the job description. This will help you optimize your resume in case the employer is using an automated system to sort applications based on select criteria.
2. Quantify your work experience
Avoid simply listing the tasks or projects that you completed for a previous employer. Instead, identify how your work helped drive results for the organization or a specific project and quantify those results whenever possible. For example, instead of saying you “answered customer questions” in your previous customer service role, you could say something measurable: “Interacted with a diverse customer population to ensure each had a positive store experience, resulting in consistent monthly customer satisfaction scores of 98% – 100%”.
3. Format consistently
All sections of your resume must look similar. This includes fonts, bullet points, spacing and overall organization. Make it easy for employers to find the information they care about quickly. For example, if you bold the first section heading, the next section heading should be bolded as well. Remember to check for correct grammar, including appropriate and consistent verb tenses throughout.
4. Highlight transferable skills
You may not always have work experience that directly aligns with the position you want. That’s okay! You still have valuable skills. Take the time to identify the soft skills that all employers value, such as critical thinking, communication, customer service, leadership, time management and attention to detail. For students and graduates of Herzing University, these are the P.R.I.C.E. of Success skills you learned and developed in your classes on a daily basis!
Finally, to help with the tips above, develop a master resume. Keep one main document that you continue to build on and add to. When it’s time to apply for a specific job, use the most valuable and applicable skills and experience from the master resume to create a concise resume tailored to that position.
With these tips, you can start perfecting your resume now so that you’re not rushing to throw something together when your dream job becomes available. Ready to get started? Head to the Career Center, located in your student portal, and connect with your career coach today!