If one of your New Years resolutions was to kickstart your career — this one’s for you. All month long, RV Recruiting is sharing TONS of awesome advice about how to get hired in 2017 (whether it’s here or elsewhere).
Today: Here’s an inside look at what recruiters are really looking for in a good resume.
(PS – Know a great tip we didn’t share here? Let us know on Twitter using #newyearnewjob!)
1. Proof-Read Your Resume
“Oops I a word!”
For the love of all things good, go back and ensure that every word is correctly placed and spelled! Then, go back and double check that you’ve replaced the name of the other company – the one that you applied to right before Red Ventures – with our company’s name. (If you submit an application for “Red Expeditions,” I’m going to question the sincerity of your interest in joining my team.)
It’s not a bad idea to have your mom, uncle, sister, teacher and dog proof read it, too. This might seem like an obvious step, but I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen a resume listing “attention to detail” as a skill, but plagued with mistakes from top to bottom.
Your resume is our first impression of you, and as the old saying goes “A first impression is forever.”
2. Don’t Use a Crazy Font
If you want to mix up your font from the standard Times New Roman (Pre- Windows 2007 – the good days) or Calibri (Post Windows 2007 – the dark days) – go for it! It’s a great way to make your resume stand out from the other hundred that we have reviewed.
However, I caution you to select your font carefully. The style should be easy to read and professional. Be aware of your font size, and don’t fall into the trap of shrinking your words down to fit more on the page. Instead, work on condensing your content. Recruiters are much more likely to pick up a friendly-looking, easy to read resume than a dark, terrifying one with giant walls of text.
Once you’ve got a great font selected, I strongly recommend viewing the entire document electronically and as a print-out so you can see everything exactly as your recruiter will see it.
3. Limit the Details
It’s always challenging to know what to include or exclude from your resume. My suggestion is to keep a “master” resume – a document that includes every award you’ve ever received (sorry, participation ribbons don’t count), every educational experience and every job you’ve had.
Once you have your “master” resume, print out the job description of the position you’re applying for, and place it next to your resume. Think strategically about the skills required for the position you’re applying for and which experiences on your resume are most relevant.
Always list an accurate reflection of the jobs you’ve held, but be selective about how much detail you provide about each job. If you were a lifeguard at the county pool, for example, there’s no reason to brag about your skill for yelling “Stop Running” on an application for a web designer role.
4. The Truth about Cover Letters
We don’t read cover letters – unless we do.
Let me explain.
Recruiters typically only read cover letters if they’re looking for answers. “Why did this person stop working for two years?” “Why did they hold three jobs in three years?” “Why are they looking for a career change?” “Why are they interested in switching companies?”
Essentially, you should treat cover letters as an opportunity to address any “red-flags” on your resume. If you have a long gap between jobs, are located in a different state, or have anything else that may be confusing or concerning, you should definitely make a point to explain those things here.
Another thing to remember is that depending on your skill set, cover letters can take as much away from your application as they can add. Again, if we find frequent mistakes in your cover letter, we’re much more likely to either stop reading or decline your application.
My advice is that if that your resume has a “red-flag” on it, always write a cover letter. But if you have a kick-ass resume without any red-flags, you don’t really need one.
5. Bullet Points are Your Friends
Show us your skills!
What if I told you…
In my position as a Recruiting Coordinator at Red Ventures in South Charlotte, a position which I have held since May 2016, I am a highly detail-oriented person with strong time management skills and a sometimes superhero-like ability to multi-task.
Recruiting Coordinator (May 2016)
Red Ventures, Fort Mill
Job Duties and Responsibilities:
- High Attention to Detail
- Superhero Ability to Multi-Task
Obviously on your resume, you should go into more detail and actually include your job responsibilities, but from a visual standpoint, I strongly prefer the second version. Your skills are the most important content on your resume, so make them pop off the page. Show us what you’ve got instead of making us search for it.
6. Limit it to one or two pages
As much as I like reading novels, your resume should not be one.
If you cannot fit your experiences into two smartly formatted pages, please go back to Tip #3 again. You are telling us entirely too much. Be selective and only put pertinent information!
In the words of Forest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
7. Save it Right to Send it Right
After you’ve spent so much time writing your resume (and possibly a cover letter), it would be a real shame if we weren’t even able to open it. The absolute, best way to do that is to save your file as a PDF. Word Documents work too – but let’s be real – not all the time.
If you send it in any other format, you run the risk of the recruiter not being able to open it.
And one last piece of advice for free –
There are some things we don’t need to know.
If you don’t have much work experience, don’t just fill up space on your resume with weird facts about yourself.
I’ve gotten resumes that include applicants’ blood types, Myer’s Briggs results, even total yards rushed in college football. Not kidding. (I know some of you are laughing, but I hope some of you are quietly erasing things from your resume…) If it doesn’t directly apply to the position you’re applying for, we don’t need to know it.
Plus, it’s better to have some white space than to add something to your resume that could become a “red flag”.
Interested in applying at Red Ventures? Check out current positions here, and let us know what kind of questions you have for RV Recruiting by using #newyearnewjob or tagging @RedVentures on Twitter.
Jordan Zemmin joined Red Ventures in May 2016 as the Technical Recruiting Coordinator after graduating from NC State. Outside of work, you can find her reading a book or hiking somewhere deep in the woods. If you spot her at the animal shelter, please remove her to a safe place where she can’t accidentally adopt puppies.