This article first appeared in the April Issue of C@reer Connections, Sodexo's monthly e-newsletter. Sign up today!
By Brad Tomaski, Senior Recruiter
However, not all of these recommendations are true. The basic thing to remember is that the easier your resume is to read, the easier it is to get hired. Recruiters review hundreds of resumes on a daily basis. Here are some tips from my experience:
The majority of the time, recruiters are looking for chronological resumes – a resume that shows your experience in time order. For example, it would start with your most up-to-date contact information at the top followed by sections for Work Experience, Education, Skills, etc. It should start with your most recent position/experience and work backwards from there.
Color and Graphics
Simply put: don’t use them. When you upload a resume with graphical elements into a company’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS) where the recruiter reads your resume, it doesn’t always come across in that same format. The colors disappear, and the images often do not show up and can cause content to rearrange on the page in the upload. A Microsoft Word resume that uses straight text (no tables!) with a standard font is simple and easy to read by the recruiter.
When adding content to your resume, use bullet points listed under each of your job titles – bullets are easier to read than long paragraphs of text. Remember, we’re reviewing many resumes each day and want to quickly see why you are a good fit for the job.
Dates and Employment Gaps
We’ll also be looking at the dates and we like to see the month and year that you started and stopped each position. If you have any gaps in your employment, it’s okay to address them on your resume. During a phone screen we can discuss these gaps as well as your experience in greater detail.
The length of your resume should reflect your experience. If you are an entry level candidate, your resume will likely be one page. A more experienced professional may have a two-page resume. Remember to keep the content on your resume relevant to the job for which you’re applying; so if you have 15 years of experience, that job you held in high school is likely not relevant to include.
Skills and Accomplishments
And finally, we see a lot of general statements on resumes such as “great communication skills.” While this is important information, we need more detail. For example, do you have an example of how you have used your communication skills to meet a project goal or other accomplishment? Provide us with examples of your skills and abilities so that we know more about your capabilities.
More specifically, throughout your resume, we want to see examples of how you made, saved or achieved something in your varied roles. Did you start or improve a process? Did you save your company money? Did you help your department achieve a goal? Provide us with these examples to show your abilities and accomplishments rather than simply offer a list of general skills or a job description. Telling us how you use your skills is far more valuable, especially as you prepare for behavioral interviewing.
Making your resume easier to read will undoubtedly help you get more attention from recruiters and hiring managers. Read even more resume writing advice on our blog! I look forward to seeing your new resume in our Career Center!