What Employers Look for in a Resume?

by Pranav Ramesh
June 08, 2021
What Employers Look for in a Resume?

Summary Statement

A perfect resume has a well-written summary statement at the top. It highlights your qualifications, career achievements, and skills. This gives the recruiter and the hiring manager a glimpse of your profile without going through the entire resume. As every job posting receives over 250 applications, a summary statement would help you stand out from the rest. In addition, you could use this space to demonstrate why you would be a perfect fit for the organization.

Tailoring the resume summary to match the keywords listed in the job posting would help you get the recruiter and the AI’s attention! Remember that a resume summary is different from a resume objective. The resume objective focuses on why an applicant wants to apply for a job, whereas a resume summary focuses on what makes them the ideal candidate.

How to Create an Effective Resume?

Choosing the right format for your resume could help you grab the recruiters’ attention instantly. It would de-emphasize the aspects of your career, highlight the important aspects, and focus on what makes you the right hire. Most recruiters prefer these three formats of resumes:

  • Reverse Chronological
  • Functional
  • Combination

As the name suggests, it can help show a clear progression in your career. It has your most recent work at the top, followed by your previous experience, education, and certifications.

A functional resume is ideal for those with a gap year. You could use this template to highlight your skills over the linear growth in your career. This resume format is ideal for entry-level jobs. However, if you have a few years of experience, a functional resume might suggest that you are withholding information.

Combining both these formats would come in handy if you would like to highlight both your career progression and the transferable skillset. However, if you are graduating from college, this might not be the ideal format for you.

40% of the hiring managers spend less than a minute on your resume. So, it is important to make an impact within that duration. Building several versions of your resume, including a comprehensive, targeted, and short teaser resume, would be a smart way to grab the recruiter’s attention. In addition, it gives you the flexibility to pick a resume based on the organization, role, and job posting platform.

Irrespective of the format, make sure your resume does not exceed two pages. 17% of the hiring managers consider this a deal-breaker. There are numerous resume-building tools available online which would help you pick the right template, length, and format for your industry. This would help your job application stand out from the rest.

What is the Best Resume Layout?

While hiring managers to spend over a minute on the resume, most HR recruiters decide within the first ten seconds. Your resume layout will help you make it past the ten seconds and take you to the detailed review phase. So, make sure that the resume is

  • One or Two Pages: Limit the resume to one or two pages. An average job post receives around 250 applications. The recruiters cannot afford to spend their time reading your life story.
  • Catchy Headings: Divide the sections on your resume to mark career progressions, job changes, education, etc. This would help the recruiter skim through it with ease. Use a font size that separates the heading from the content.
  • Ample white space: Your resume isn’t your autobiography. Use simple, short sentences. Do not clutter it with verbose paragraphs. Leave ample white space, have separators and margins.
  • Pick the right font: Garamond is the most preferred font for both human and AI recruiters. It is easy to read and helps your resume stand out. Do not use Comic Sans or more than two fonts on your resume. Instead, stick to font size 10 or 12 for the body and a slightly bigger font for the headlines.
  • Save as PDF: As a rule of thumb, always save your resume as a PDF. This would ensure that your resume format remains the same on all devices.

The aim is to beat the bots and reach the human recruiter. So, pay attention to minute details like typeface, font size, formatting, etc., to pass the AI and reach the recruiter’s inbox.

What to Include on Your Resume?

If you wish to save your resume from being lost in the ATS black hole, you need to grab the recruiter and the AI’s attention in less than six seconds. Here is what you should include on your resume to save it from the “no” pile.

    • Contact Information

This is the most crucial yet often ignored part of a resume. The HR recruiter receives thousands of resumes every day. Unfortunately, they can’t keep track of how they found your resume. So, include your contact details for them to get in touch with you in case you cut.

      • Keywords

Focus on customizing your resume for every role that you apply for. You could do this by including the keywords relevant to the role and your skillset. It would help your resume get past the AI and land in the hands of the recruiter. However, make sure the keywords appear organically and do not seem forced.

        • Job Title

Indicate your job goals clearly on your resume by making it the title of your resume. This will help the recruiter instantly understand the role you are applying for, your experience, etc. For instance, if you are applying for the role of a Marketing Manager, your resume title could be Your Name – Marketing Manager – Years of Experience.

          • Certifications

Organizations are looking for people who are willing to learn, evolve, and grow with the organization. Therefore, if you have professional certifications and credentials beyond your college education, make sure you highlight them on your resume. Besides setting you apart from the competition, it would also demonstrate your willingness to learn.

            • Stats and Sample Work

If you made a significant contribution to your previous organization in sales growth, increasing productivity, traffic volume, etc., make sure to include those stats in your resume. In addition, if you are a creative professional, you could add links to your previous work to help your recruiter assess your skills beyond the resume. Make sure you thoroughly proofread your resume before sending it out to a prospective recruiter. It would always help to have a friend review the resume to spot any inconsistencies, grammar errors, and typos. A survey by Career Builder found that around 77% of the hiring managers discard resumes with spelling errors, grammar mistakes, and typos. After creating a personalized resume, you need to close the deal with an impressive cover letter. Most people avoid writing a cover letter because they are not sure what to include in it. However, it is no rocket science. It is just a personal introduction message that you send to the recruiter. You can use this space to introduce yourself briefly, highlight a few professional accomplishments, and explain why you would be best suited for the role. Finally, end the letter by thanking the recruiter for the opportunity. You now have the perfect resume and cover letter for your future jobs. Good luck!

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About the Company:

Peterson Technology Partners (PTP) has partnered with some of the biggest Fortune brands to offer excellence of service and best-in-class team building for the last 25 years.

PTP’s diverse and global team of recruiting, consulting, and project development experts specialize in a variety of IT competencies which include:

  • Cybersecurity
  • DevOps
  • Cloud Computing
  • Data Science
  • AI/ML
  • Salesforce Optimization
  • VR/AR

Peterson Technology Partners is an equal opportunities employer. As an industry leader in IT consulting and recruitment, specializing in diversity hiring, we aim to help our clients build equitable workplaces.

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