How To Get Your Resume Noticed

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz

Professional Human Resources (PHR) Certified

Applying for jobs can be a long process and may come with many disappointments. When you see a job posting you think is perfect for you, the first step is submitting your resume. But how do you make sure the hiring manager or recruiter sees your resume and it doesn't just get pushed to the bottom of the pile?

Make Sure You Meet the Qualifications

Sure, maybe you "can" do that job but are you "qualified" for that job? The posted qualifications should be met at a minimum. For some companies, requiring 3 years of experience might be a guideline – they're just not looking for someone who is entry-level. For larger corporations, the minimum experience is likely a hard requirement based on their current classification and compensation systems. Don't be surprised if your resume doesn't get a serious look if you don't even meet the minimum qualifications.

Be realistic in your search. Don't expect to get a call back for a VP of Finance position when you've been working in sales for 5 years.

Follow A Standard Format

Take a good look at the format of your resume. Make sure that the margins and indentations allow for maximum use of the page and there isn't too much "white space". Keep your name and contact information at the top of the resume so a recruiter isn't having to search for it. The same goes for your applicable skills, jobs and education. Don't tuck items away or note them in areas of the resume that aren't applicable.

Use bullets to draw emphasis to relevant job duties and qualifications. Make your format easy to read as opposed to creating long paragraphs about your previous work.

Unless you're a recent graduate, move education below relevant work experience. Odds are, your most recent work experience is of greater interest to a potential employer.

Avoid flashy formats, shapes and text. Unless you're applying to an artistic related position, avoid getting too flashy with your resume. Recruiters are looking for skills and qualifications, not how interesting the resume looks.

Make sure you address any major gaps in employment in either the resume or cover letter. The format of your resume should avoid making it appear as if employment gaps occurred when they did not. For this reason, including jobs during schooling may appear misleading and should be avoided unless directly related to the position you're applying to.

Before you submit your resume, format it into a PDF. This will ensure that no formatting changes occur if a recruiter or hiring manager opens the resume in another software program.

Customize Your Resume

Take the time to thoroughly read the job posting and customize your resume to match. Keep an eye out for keywords used frequently in the posting and make sure you incorporate the same or similar words within your resume. Occasionally, resumes are reviewed first by software as opposed to a person. By making sure you're matching the original posting, you have a greater chance of passing the screening phase.

Pay close attention to the required skills and qualifications section of a job posting. If it isn't already clear by looking at your resume, make edits to showcase proficiency in those areas by adding statements and skills which match the original posting requirements.

If you're applying to a position out-of-state or in a different geographic area, consider removing your address information from your resume while leaving the contact phone number. Recruiters may give less consideration to long distance job seekers. In place of your home address, consider leaving your LinkedIn profile address or other professional website address. Never link potential employers to non-professional social media sites like Twitter or Facebook!

Don't just title your resume "resume". Make sure you customize the file name with your first and last name. This will make it easier to recognize your document for recruiters and hiring managers.

Remove Unnecessary Information

If you've been in the workforce for some time, you'll likely have old jobs that aren't applicable to the one you're applying to. Keep your job history to 10-15 years at the most, if possible. Your resume is a summary of your employment history and a document to showcase your qualifications, not a life story.

If you've attended a college or university and successfully obtained a bachelors or master's degree (or have one currently in progress), remove information about high school. It's repetitive unless it's the highest educational level achieved.

Your resume is also a professional document, not a personal one. Avoid including any information that isn't relevant to the position you're applying for or your qualifications. Information about your personal life, family, hobbies, etc. should be removed.

You want to provide a clear and concise document to the hiring manager or recruiter. By removing unnecessary information and outdated information, hopefully you can keep your resume to 2 pages. Much longer than that and recruiters feel as if they have to search for the information they need.

About The Author

Robin Schwartz
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Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz is a PHR certified HR professional with a broad range of expertise including recruitment, performance management, employee relations and talent management. She leverages her years of experience in HR to bring functional change to organizational leadership and direction to management structures and employees. Robin aims to empower the employees and managers she works with by providing coaching and counseling services.

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