If you submit for positions and don’t get interviews, it is more likely that your lack of experience or presentation is the problem. If you can, imagine the situation in the office of a typical recruiter. The phone is ringing. The inbox is full. The time is precious and visuals are important when a candidate’s cover letter and resume are actually being reviewed. Your documents must be able to demonstrate why you are a great candidate. These gatekeepers are fond of certain structural conventions which can be used to reduce time spent on documents and help you get settled into a great position faster. These are the four strategies that I use daily as a Certified Professional Resume writer.
1) Write a brief opening paragraph
When it comes to resumes and cover letters, being relevant is more important than being creative. This is especially true in the opening. The opening paragraph is often the first place that a potential employer will check to see if a candidate is qualified. A short opening paragraph of no more than three to four lines can make it easier for them and increase their response rate. It should highlight skills that are often mentioned in the job postings. Avoid listing accomplishments and keep the language active. That’s why the rest of your resume is there!
2) Strategically Use Bullets
Regular resume reviewers use a term called “Death By Bullets”, which refers to documents so densely filled with these symbols that they become blurred. Bullets should only be used to highlight achievements in your work history. Did you manage a project that was on budget but received outstanding client feedback? This deserves a bullet. It is not possible to describe standard job responsibilities or technical skills. Let’s be clear: If you are debating whether to make a sentence into bullets, it is probably not one.
3) Continue to Keep the Focus on Jobs Held within the Past 10-12 years
Although it is tempting to list all the positions held, a short resume is better. Many recruiters and hiring agents know that not all qualified candidates have extensive work histories. Consider the resume as a “teaser”, with more detail contingent on the interview. The best response is to leave the reader wanting more.
4) Use standard fonts and a simple layout
It is amazing to see how many qualified job seekers lose interviews due to choosing a flashy font and layout. This approach not only draws in the wrong type of attention, but can also lead to incompatibility issues when used with different software. The strength of job search documents must be strong. Accept no substitute.
All the best with your job search!
Anish Majumdar, a Certified Professional Resume writer (CPRW), is the owner of Resume Orbit. 95% of our clients have experienced an increase in interview rates within 30 days. All work is backed by a written guarantee of 110% satisfaction or your money back.