When applying for a new position, first impressions count. We hear this all the time, but it’s usually related to the first meeting. Make eye contact, smile, have a good handshake, and so on. But in the world of employment, your real first impression is your resume. You have just a couple of pages to give a good impression to the employer, or you may not ever get to make that good impression in person. As an entrepreneur, Justin Cobb reviews resumes regularly. Many of the things he looks for were recently revealed by MIT career experts as being very specific things you can do to improve your chances.
We’ve all seen a resume that includes 20 years of varied experience in about four different fields, and a list of about ten organizations the holder is part of. No recruiter is going to read your whole resume if it’s not relevant to the position. Don’t send out the same generic resume for every job. Read the job description, find out what skills they require, and then take a moment to explain how each part of your resume is relevant.
A recruiter is looking through your resume for specific experience and skills that match what they want. Often these are not even the people who will interview you. They will find your information quicker if the layout is traditional and easy to follow. Forget all that rubbish about being memorable and standing out from the crowd. Your crazy fonts and weird design will probably just find your resume in the trash can. You have plenty of time to prove you are special when you get to the interview.
A typo might not be a big deal in an email or text message, but research shows that even one error in your resume is enough for most recruiters to pass on it. Remember that these people are sifting through perhaps thousands of applicants. They are not looking for reasons to hire you. They are looking for reasons to throw your resume out and move on. Don’t give them an easy one.
Justin Cobb is an international entrepreneur, based in the US, with a network of companies spanning the globe.