Will your resume make it to the final round?

You may have spent months, even years, crafting your resume but sadly, a recruiter will review it for an average of six seconds.  This troubling statistic causes one to wonder; how a company could judge four or more years of personal development in a mere six seconds?  The more important question is: Will your six seconds of fame make you an employee, or just another graduate scrounging for a new job?

Luckily I have some advice that will increase your chances.  I recently went to a professional development event at Villanova shedding light on what recruiters will look for in a resume.  Recruiters spend 80% of their time looking at your:

  • Name
  • Current title/company
  • Previous title/company
  • Previous position start and end dates
  • Current position start and end dates
  • Education

Obviously, you should focus on what you can change so you should focus on the last five bullets.  Attending Villanova professional development events and using the Clay Center can bring you various internships to account for titles and positions but the career center focused mainly on education during the presentation.

Proper formatting is crucial to a successful resume. Put your most important categories first.  Start with education, past work experience and any uniquely outstanding experiences.  Put your most impressive qualifications first.  For example, cite leadership positions and studying abroad before clubs you are loosely involved in.  Additionally, format your achievements in reverse order putting your most recent achievements first. They will stand out most and best represent your current self.

Your resume should be spaced out neatly and employ an easily reasonable font.  The style of your resume should be aesthetically pleasing, attractive and easy on one’s eyes. To emphasize important words, use italics, bold and underline font.

As recruiters spend very little time looking at a resume, you want to fill your resume with as many positive buzz words as possible.  Use functional verbs such as accomplished, lead or founded to demonstrate productivity and leadership.

One of the most important characteristics of a successful resume is concision.  You want to demonstrate your most distinctive qualities through your achievements in the fewest words possible.  Therefore, eliminate unnecessary wording and focus on using adjectives that portray you positively.

Interestingly, you may choose to include your High School and SAT scores. I learned that if you attended a reputable high school, even including this can improve your chances at employment.

Mostly importantly, remember to proofread.  Typos demonstrate a lack of effort and care for finding a job, which looks very unfavorable for a recruiter.

The professional development event gave indispensable insights into building a great resume.  I encourage you to read more on resume building and personal development in this blog.  Applicants can use all the help they can get in this job market.

For more on resume building and professional development, read Backpack to Briefcase and the following links