Hiring recruiters are busy people, notoriously spending very little time on each resume they look at to decide if a candidate will move forward.
"My advice would be, optimize a resume for 10-second viewership," says Nolan Church, who's worked in talent acquisition in companies like Google and DoorDash and who's currently the CEO of talent marketplace Continuum. That may be the only window recruiters ultimately allot.
Even within that 10-second window, there are elements you can include that will make you stand out, like concise bullet points and language that mirrors what's in the job description. Here are three green flags that signal to Church that you're a good candidate.
Past work experience, of course, comes into play when recruiters decide whether or not you could be a good fit.
For Church, that means "working with companies that are analogous [to yours] or that are just known to produce great talent." If you're applying for work at an advertising firm and have worked at other advertising firms, include that. If you've worked at a world-famous company that people around you are constantly impressed by, regardless of whether or not it's in your intended industry, include that.
"At DoorDash we optimized for the big [three] consulting firms," says Church as an example, adding that, "McKinsey, Bain, BCG, we loved that. We ate that up."
Another key element to impressing a hiring recruiter is to include numbers that give a clear sense of your accomplishments on the job.
"If you're a salesperson, I want to see what your percent to goal was every quarter," says Church. "And if you're not a salesperson, can you articulate driving revenue or measurable business impact?"
In marketing, for example, can you give specific examples of how you helped grow the number of followers a company has on social media? If you're managing a team of designers, can you quantify the number of projects you led successfully?
"Even if you're in engineering and you're able to articulate how you helped customers," he says, "it's a huge positive."
Finally, Church loves to see people's interests.
"I love former athletes. I love people that do triathlons. I love parents. I love people that have passion in life for anything," he says. He recommends including a short section at the very bottom of the resume called "interests" or "interests outside of work" with one line listing three to five things in life that you're passionate about.
This can be pottery or writing fan fiction or coaching a little league team — the point is to show what makes you a well-rounded human with a general excitement about life.
Ultimately, he says, "if you give a s--- about something, it tells me that you have the potential to give a s--- about your work."
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