Recruiters spend about six seconds scanning through each resume they receive. Of course, this is assuming that your resume has the right keywords and has passed the test of the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), if the company you are applying to has one. So once the recruiter gets your resume, what is it that she looks at?
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Based on TheLadders’ “eye tracking” study, conducted on recruiters to determine which information they scan for while shortlisting a resume, these are the most important parts of your CV:
1. Your name
2. Current (or most recent) position and company
3. Start and end dates
4. Previous position and company
5. Start and end dates at that position
Here are a few tips that can help you make the most of the six seconds your resume has with the recruiter:
- Highlight your name, as you would like to be addressed, and keep it consistent across all your professional and social media profiles.
- As Amanda Augustine, career expert at TheLadders, explains at Business Insider, “If you have a common name, consider including your middle initial on your resume and online professional profiles to differentiate yourself from the competition.” If you would prefer a nickname, you could mention that as well. (Example: Katherine (Kat) Watson or Kat Watson).
- Suffixes that establish your birth order in your family are not important either and can be avoided — unless, of course, you are applying in the same organization as your family member and need to be distinguished by the suffix.
- Depending on whether you want the recruiter to know your gender, you could use initials or your complete name. Example: L. Thompson instead of Lydia Thompson or Jackson Matthews instead of Jackie Matthews
- Be careful about the email address you share in your contact details. Keep it professional. Coolguy76@, sweetsmile21@ could be good personal email IDs, but on the resume, they just appear amateurish.
- It is possible that your title in your current or previous organizations is not recognized in the industry. So although you could be “Chief Evangelist of Code” in your organization, the more appropriate but less flamboyant “Software Developer” may be the title to put on your resume.
- Do not use your photo on the resume, unless you are applying for a position that requires one — model, actor, etc. According to CareerBuilder, “If they (employers) have a picture of you and choose not to hire you, it’s possible that you could come back with a discrimination lawsuit. In most cases, they’ll throw your resume away without looking at it, to avoid the issue altogether.”
- Unless you are a fresh graduate or have relatively few years of experience, place your education details after your experience. You don’t have to list the years you went to school either — unless you’ve just graduated, in which case it can help explain the lack of experience. Jenny Foss at The Muse advises that you should exclude your GPA (if it is less than 3.5 or if you graduated more than three years ago). Instead she says, showcase on your honors at your university.
- Avoid getting your resume trashed by ensuring you’ve proofread your resume and are following the very basics.
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