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Writing Resumes to Attract Hiring Managers

Your resume is the most important marketing tool you have during your job search. Since hiring managers receive an average of 300 resumes per job posting, they are limited on the amount of time they have to review resumes. On average, a hiring manager only spends 5-7 seconds to skim over a resume to decide, “yes, no, or maybe”. Resumes that are unclear or raise questions will quickly get put in the “maybe” pile, and only be called if all of the “yes” candidates have been disqualified. Your resume must highlight your qualifications in a way that the reviewer can tell your top skills in less than ten seconds – so don’t clutter it up with things that don’t matter.

Resume 101: Writing Resumes that Win

So, how do you write a resume that wins over recruiters and hiring managers in 5 seconds? Follow these basic resume tips:

  1. Answer obvious questions – address any gaps in employment greater than 90 days or short assignments that hiring managers may be concerned about. This can be as simple as listing the dates with “family medical leave”, “full-time student”, or “worked in retail industry during job search”. 
  2. Customize every time – use the job description to decide what content to include on your resume. Every bullet point should be relevant to the job you are applying for. Take the time to customize your resume and showcase the work you have done that makes you perfect for the specific job you are applying for.
  3. Focus  your resume won’t represent 100% of what you have done in your entire career, but it should represent that you qualify for the job you are applying for. Avoid using your resume to list an entire job description. Instead, focus on primary responsibilities and accomplishments.
  4. Just the facts, please – avoid narrative, overly descriptive or lengthy explanations of your past experiences. Stick to what you did and the technologies you used while minimizing explanations of the reasoning or process. 
  5. Use clear job titles – avoid using multiple job titles for one position. When describing a job in which you were the “doer of all things”, it is important to only focus on what you did that is relevant to the position you are applying for. Remember that you are showing the hiring authority that you have the skills and experience they are looking for. 
  6. Optimize for AI – let the job description guide you. As AI moves into the recruiting and hiring process, many companies are using software that scores resumes based on keywords. Invest the time in tailoring your resume to the job description by optimizing keywords. 
  7. “Other duties as assigned” – avoid cliché phrases like “performed miscellaneous duties as assigned” or “other tasks assigned by manager” or words like “etc.” that don’t tell the reviewer anything about what you actually did. 
  8. Keep it simple – remember that your resume has to make a strong impression in a short amount of time. Use a standard 10-12pt font like Arial or Calibri. For each position, provide the company name, location, job title, accurate dates of employment, and relevant bullet points. 

At the end of the day, your goal is to provide a resume worthy of a follow-up call. Stick to the facts and keywords relevant to the job you’re applying for, and you will see results. Best of luck in your job search!

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