If you're looking for a new job, your resume is your best friend. This document is your first introduction to a hiring manager and, if written well, can help you get your foot in the door of your dream company.
Learning how to make your resume stand out can also help you succeed in a competitive job market. Hiring managers might sift through hundreds of applications to fill a single role, often spending no more than six seconds scanning each resume.
Jeff Hyman, the CEO of Recruit Rockstars, has reviewed thousands of resumes and interviewed more than 30,000 people throughout his 25-year career as a recruiter.
Follow these three steps, per Hyman's advice, to write an eye-catching resume:
One of the biggest resume mistakes you can make, according to Hyman, is cramming in too much information.
"You don't want to submit a lengthy, two-page resume in a small font listing every job or accomplishment you've ever had," he says. "It's never going to work in your favor."
In addition to keeping your resume to one page (and using a 12-point font), Hyman recommends using bullet points under each work experience you include to highlight clear, quantifiable achievements and results, rather than describing your job responsibilities.
"It could be that you were promoted four times in two years, given harder assignments, asked to mentor people, increased revenue or reduced cost – really any kind of data points that will instantly impress the reader and make them think, 'Wow, they kicked butt in this role, and can show proof of their value,'" Hyman explains.
Spend 15-20 minutes reviewing the description of the job you're applying for and make sure you include at least five keywords or specific functions of the job included in the posting.
"You want to create a customized version of your resume that mirrors the job description so that the person reading your resume thinks, 'Oh my God … how could we not interview this person?'" Hyman explains.
For example: One of the most common job functions of a sales manager is to design a compensation plan for sales representatives, so if you're applying for a sales manager job, Hyman says you'll want to point out in your resume that you have successfully designed a compensation program and implemented it with a team.
If there's no job description, read the LinkedIn profiles of people in the same, or similar, roles at the company, or postings for the same job title.
One of the hardest qualities to recruit for is people who can lead and inspire others – but it's often the most valuable trait a job candidate can bring to the table, Hyman says.
"All hiring managers would love to find someone who can grow from an individual contributor into a leader/manager/boss," he adds. "Any experience that you've had around leadership, people development, hiring or mentoring people is one of the most important things that recruiters and executives want to see in a resume."
Think about times where you've helped recruit talent, trained new hires, led a team on a project or spoke during an onboarding session for new employees, to name a few examples, and note them in your resume.
"While hiring managers are interested in recruiting people, they're even more interested in, and excited about, filling their pipeline with talent that will benefit the company's future," Hyman says.