Recruiters are looking at a lot of resumes when they attempt to fill a job position. You stand a better chance of getting an interview if you do a few things to help them out when you send in your resume. The best thing you can do to help them is to make it easy for them to find the information for which they’re looking. What they’re looking for are specific things that are important to being successful on the job they’re trying to fill.
The most important thing you can do is to make it easy to find any experience of yours that is directly relevant to the job. Even if you have all the skills and experience required to do the job, you won’t make it to an interview if that information is buried somewhere on page three.
Other things you can do to help the recruiter:
Make it obvious that you’re right for the job. This means that you should, first of all, organize the contents of your resume neatly and logically. Providing a bulleted list of your strongest job relevant skills right after your headline and before detailing any experience can help gain the attention of the reviewer. The key is to make sure that the bulleted list contains the qualifications for the job.
Make it relevant. Or conversely, don’t include irrelevant information. This clutters up your resume and makes it difficult for the reviewer to find what the person needs to know about you. You may have other great experience, but if it’s not pertinent to the job for which you’re applying, it can keep you from getting an interview. So what information is relevant? Anything in your experience that is also listed in the job posting and where you got your key words (see my earlier posting on key words to learn more about these).
Avoid being vague. While you don’t want clutter on your resume, you do want enough description of the right things. HR professionals can’t find information if you leave it off or if you don’t describe your experience well. Provide enough detail to let them know that you have what it takes to do the job.
Let’s suppose that you were a fourth grade teacher. “Taught classes in an elementary school” is a vague statement that doesn't convey exactly what you did in order to cram knowledge into those kids’ brains. What did it take to teach those classes? Here are a few examples of how to detail this experience:
Developed curriculum and wrote detailed lesson plans.
Lectured to groups of students.
Created group oriented learning activities to help students build social and team oriented skills.
Wrote multiple choice and essay tests.
Provided developmental feedback to students and created corrective action plans when necessary.
Communicated regularly with parents.
Choose which tasks and responsibilities to emphasize based on the job for which you are applying. In addition, it’s a good idea to keep a master list of all your experience for each job in your history and then choose which tasks to include when applying for specific jobs. This will keep your resume from being too cluttered and make it easier for the recruiter to find information. I know this is extra work on your part, but if you want an interview it’s in your best interest to help the recruiter to see that you have the right experience.