5 ways to ensure your resume lands a spot on the short-list

You may often wonder when you apply to jobs online whether or not a human being is actually looking at your resume. It definitely feels at times that there is a black hole that sucks up online job applications, never to be seen again. This is a theory I have heard countless times from frustrated job-seekers.

I am here to tell you that your resumes are being reviewed, but what you have to keep in mind is that Recruiters, especially at very large and well-reputed firms, often receive a couple of hundred resumes per role posted. These recruiters are also typically dealing with a high volume of recruitment on top of other projects and commitments. They simply do not have the time to read every resume received word for word, and try to interpret whether or not you are the right fit for the role.

On average, recruiters spend anywhere from 6 to 20 seconds per resume received. Of course, once the resumes for a particularly role are narrowed down to a smaller short-listed batch, then there will be a few more minutes spent thoroughly reviewing these resumes. You want to ensure your resume makes it through each round of reviews to get you a spot on the final phone screen short-list. How is this done?

Below I list the top 5 most important things you need to do to ensure your resume makes it through the Recruiter’s screening process and lands on the short-list.

1) Ensure your resume is no longer than two pages.

If your resume is too short you may be missing out on some important info and selling yourself short, especially the more seasoned you become in your career. If your resume is too long however, you could be adding a lot of fluff and irrelevant information. Learning to succinctly write about the most relevant and transferable experience is a skill job applicants need to develop.

2) Ensure your resume is chronologically clearly laid out.

Your resume needs to be orderly and easy to read. If your information is all over the place and disorganized on your resume, it will be confusing to a recruiter.  Recruiters don’t have the time to make sense of your jumbled resume so will save themselves the hassle of interpreting yours by tossing it aside. You need to have all experience, education, and volunteerism laid out chronologically, ensuring you address gaps as well. It’s ok to have gaps, but try to briefly explain why they exist (without getting too personal).

3) Have a skills section outlining the top “must have” experiences or skills outlined in the job ad.

At the end of the day, you need to have the must have skills in order to be considered for an interview. Don’t leave these skills buried in your resume, or open to interpretation. Use the exact same words that are in the job ad in your resume to clearly explain your level of expertise, how many years’ experience you have, and which company you gained this experience in. This will catch the recruiter’s eye immediately as they are skimming for these “hot skills” and you will automatically be short-listed.

4) Ensure your contact info is on both pages of your resume.

If you want to be contacted for a job you apply to, it’s necessary to ensure you have BOTH a phone number and email address that you can be reached at. Some recruiters prefer to contact candidates via phone, some via email. I typically call candidates first, and leave a voicemail. As a follow up, I will send an email. Some people don’t have their voicemails activated, so in these cases, it’s extremely crucial to have an email contact where a recruiter can send a message to you. Otherwise, a recruiter will try calling once or twice, and if there is no option to leave a message, they will have to move on to other candidates.

5) Have at least one other person proofread your resume.

Having a clearly communicated resume free from error shows that you have great written communication skills and that you pay attention to detail. Most jobs these days require strong written communication skills, and recruiter’s will judge your ability on these skills starting from the way you write your resume. They will also critique you on your attention to detail, so it’s important that you use consistent formatting, and proper grammar and spelling.

There you have it. 5 simple tips to help you get on the coveted short-list for a job you desire.

Looking for more tips regarding the hiring process? Call us at 905-537-6986 or email us at christine@key-recruit.ca for more information.  We recruit for clients in the Hamilton, Guelph, Waterloo, Burlington, Oakville and Toronto areas.

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