It takes recruiters an average of "six seconds before they make the initial 'fit or no fit' decision" on candidates based on resumes, according to research conducted by TheLadders. With this kind of competition, you need to have a flawless resume to get through the screening process.
We write a lot about resumes — what to do, what not to do — so now we're introducing a guide to crafting a curriculum vitae that will get you into the interview room. However, these rules are general advice we compiled from career experts. Everyone should tailor their own resume depending on the industry they're in and the position they're applying for.
Tailor your resume to the specific position you're applying for.
You're basically selling yourself on that piece of paper, so mold the information to reflect what your potential employer is looking for in an ideal job candidate. This is different depending on your industry.
Miriam Salpeter advises in U.S.News & World Report that candidates should study the company's web site and "look for repeated words and phrases, taglines, and hints about their philosophical approaches."
Then, "mirror some of their language and values in your resume."
Put your name and contact info at the top.
This sounds simple, but Peter S. Herzog, author of the book "How To Prolong Your Job Search: A Humorous Guide to the Pitfalls of Resume Writing," says that applicants will try putting this important information on the side or bottom.
This is how it should be done:
1. Put your name in bold face and/or regular caps.
2. Include your full address and home, work (optional) and/or cell phone numbers and your email address but do not bold these.
Decide if you want to include an objective.
We've heard experts go both ways on this, so you need to decide for yourself if you want to include an objective.
Peri Hansen, a principal with a recruiting firm, tells Penelope Patsuris at Forbes that an objective is "the fastest way to pigeon-hole yourself" and if you "specify 'Asset Manager' you may not even be considered for 'Financial Planner.'"
On the other hand, Alex Douzet, CEO of TheLadders, tells us that everyone should include an objective and compare it to a "30-second elevator pitch" where you should "explain who you are and what you're looking for."
The bottom line is to only include an objective if it's not generic.
The length of your resume should reflect years of experience.
This might be difficult if you've had a lot of experience and you're proud of all of it. But this doesn't mean it's necessarily relevant. Cut it down.
If you're in your twenties, your resume should only be one page — there's not enough experience to justify a second one, Alison Green writes in U.S.News & World Report.
However, if you've had more than 10 years of experience, you can add a second page, Douzet tells us.
Don't list your hobbies.
Hiring managers only care about what you can do for the company, so if you can't connect your hobbies to the job you're applying for then leave them off your resume. If your extracurricular activities are relevant, you can include them at the bottom.
"I don't really care what kind of a person you are," Paul Ray Jr., CEO of recruiting firm Ray & Berndtson, tells Penelope Patsuris at Forbes. "I want to know what you can do for me."
Don't list your references.
If your prospective employer wants to speak to your references, they'll ask you. Also, it's better if you have a chance to tell your references ahead of time that a future employer might be calling.
Alison Green writes at U.S.News & World Report: "Unless the company has specifically asked for something other than a cover letter and resume, don't send it. Sometimes candidates include unsolicited writing samples, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and so forth. In most cases, sending these extras without being asked won't help you, and in some cases it can actually hurt."
Create your own CV template.
The pre-made resume templates offered on word processing programs like Microsoft Word just scream "template," Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter writes in Glassdoor. You can use those templates as a guide, but create your own final copy.
Furthermore, you should always stick to a format that's appropriate in your industry.
Simone Fortunini was an online marketing manager when he decided to create a resume in the form of an interactive web site resembling a Google Analytics page.
Fortunini tells us that since his work experience stems from online marketing and advertising campaigns, Google Analytics is a basic tool that those in his industry work with, and he wanted to create a resume illustrating his understanding in online marketing, graphic design abilities and HTML skills.
Use plenty of white space to draw the reader’s eye to specific items.
Don't include so much information that it gets distracting.
"Make it pleasing to the eye, and balanced with bullets, italics and bold font," Roxanne Peplow, career advisor at Computer Systems Institute, tells us. "Have your name stand out in bigger and bold letters ... bullet point your accomplishments. Too many words on a page are exhausting to read."