Your resume is one of the most important components of a job application. It is your opportunity to make a strong first impression on hiring managers. Data shows that employers receive between 10 and 200 resumes for every job posting. The stakes are high and the competition is fierce! Representing yourself well in a resume is an important step to landing an interview. In my role as Manager of Selection, I review applications and resumes for roles across our system before passing them on to hiring managers. I see up to 20 resumes a day and spend only a few seconds reviewing a resume before deciding if I want to read it more closely. Resumes that have glaring errors, inconsistencies, or are hard to read usually don’t get the additional time. The resumes that I move forward in the interview process are a concise representation of a strong candidate, which clearly communicates that candidate’s education and experience.
As you build your resume and consider job opportunities, keep these important components in mind:
- Introduce yourself as a professional. Hiring managers are looking to learn more about your experiences and education and a clear resume is the best way to do that. Your resume is a summary of the universities you attended, your degrees and areas of study, professional positions, and community involvement.
- Highlight your accomplishments. Demonstrate your impact in your prior experience by using numbers. A resume that can point to specific numbers, clients, growth percentages, is more compelling than a list of soft skills or assigned tasks. How much did your team improve? How many people did you impact? Providing quantifiable data on your contributions shows hiring managers how you could contribute to their organization.
- Tailor your resume to the position you’re seeking. No two jobs are the same so it is important to tailor your resume to the position you are seeking. This means making sure that your resume has relevant experience highlighted. If there is an objective, make sure the objective addresses the duties and responsibilities for the job you are seeking. You will likely tweak your resume with every job application. You may even consider keeping a long master-list of your positions and accomplishments. As you review positions and submit resumes, you can choose which experiences are most relevant to the role.
- Pay attention to formatting. Your resume says a lot about you, so making sure it is clear and ‘skimmable’ is important. Hiring managers should be able to glance through your resume and get a high-level picture of your education and work experience. Additionally, consistent formatting, fonts, and margins allow readers to focus on your candidacy rather than the paper your resume is on.
- Your work experiences should be listed in reverse chronological order, with your most recent positions listed first.
- Keeping your resume to one to two pages with a legible font ensures that hiring managers will give weight to your listed experiences.
- Saving your resume as a PDF ensures that the formatting remains just as you intended—no matter what device or program opens the file.
- Proofread and then proofread again! Strong communication is an important skill in any job. Up to 75% of resumes are discarded for errors. Ensuring that your resume is free from typos and grammatical errors is extremely important! It can be easy to overlook errors on your own resume. Asking a friend or colleague to review your resume ensures that your communication is clear and your accomplishments are showcased. Finally, a hiring manager will want to talk to you about next steps in the selection process. So, be sure to proofread your contact information, too!
This year, our organization expects to hire over 350 campus-based employees. In the twenty seconds I review your resume, I want to get to know your professional history and make assessments on how you would perform in a job. Submitting a great resume is the first step to your next career, so brush up that resume and apply today.
Nora Atkinson, graduate of Rhodes College (BA, 2008) and Colorado State University (MS in Teaching and Learning/English Language Learning), began her career as a high school Spanish teacher in Memphis City Schools in 2008 as a Memphis Teaching Fellow through The New Teacher Project (TNTP). She has consulted for TNTP and worked in school operations to hire teachers in Memphis, Denver, Dallas, and Fort Worth before joining YES Prep as a Manager of Selection in 2014.