Did you know recruiters only spend 6 to 10 seconds scanning a resume before deciding whether to keep it or discard it?
This is if your resume even makes it through the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), an automated recruitment software that sorts the selects resumes before they even make it to a human hand.
So much so, that a recent study found that 40% of employers use ATSs to filter out the ‘underqualified’ during the first round of the hiring process. Therefore, you must optimise and tailor your CV for these initial screenings.
Before sharing your resume with any organisation, check for these 6 critical aspects to ensure that you get past the initial screening and receive a call-back for an interview.
1. NO ERRORS
This is possibly the worst thing you can do for yourself. Yes, the ATS may not spot spelling or grammatical errors but it is the first thing any human recruiter will check for. Small, seemingly insignificant errors are the biggest reason for a resume to be rejected. I know this sounds like common advice but having an error-free resume makes all the difference. I would recommend having a few people who have a knack for editing go through the document to ensure it is free of any errors.
2. USING RELEVANT PHRASES AND KEYWORDS
Do you want to know a secret?
Great resumes always emulate the language in the job description. Using the same keywords and phrases as in the job description and backing it with your experience from your previous jobs shows your expertise in the field. Moreover, adding keywords that are specific to the industry you are applying for will also stand out to the hiring managers and provide talking points for the interview.
3. MAKE IT CRISP
While there is no hard and fast rule about how long a CV should be, making one that is too long will put off the recruiter and one that is too short will not show enough of your experience. You need to find the right length for your CV. Make sure it is crisp and to the point. I would recommend a 1-page CV for anyone who has under 25 years of experience and not more than 2 pages for anyone with more than 25 years of work experience.
4. KEEP IT SIMPLE
The first look of your resume can be the difference between receiving or not receiving a call-back. You can ensure that your resume makes a positive first impression by making it easy to read. Format it neatly, make sure the text is aligned properly and that the font is easy to read. You don’t want the recruiter squinting and struggling to read your resume.
5. SUMMARIZE WELL
You must capture the essence of your entire resume, your experience, everything you have achieved, in a crisp yet interesting summary. Make it sincere, powerful, thought-provoking and highlight your strengths.
6. COMMUNICATE WITH CONFIDENCE
Tell the employer how you have made a difference in your previous and current roles, how you have added value to the organisations you have worked for. Your resume is not the place for you to be modest and you cannot expect the recruiter to read between the lines. Communicate who you are and what you are capable of with confidence and clarity.
I’m sure you’ve heard that first impressions are lasting impressions and when you are applying for a job, your resume is your first impression. Make it a good one so you get the call-back and have the opportunity to interview for the job.