Five to seven seconds. That’s how long the average hiring manager spends looking at a resume.
So how can job seekers create a resume that employers will be sure to remember?
- Keep the format simple and concise. Never let your resume go longer than two pages. Make sure to save something for that all-important interview.
- Customize for company/position. Resumes aren’t one size fits all. If you are applying for a social media specialist position and you have experience in that area, make sure to mention it.
- Include key words from the job posting. A computer’s Applicant Tracking System is searching for words used in the job posting and will pull our resumes with matching words, so make sure to put them in.
- Add a summary of qualifications or achievements. Gone are the days when job applicants put an objective at the top of a resume. It’s now more important to tell an employer what you can do for the company.
- Use words and numbers to highlight accomplishments. If you managed a project that helped increase sales by 25 percent, make sure you let a prospective employer know.
- Fill in gaps when possible. Don’t automatically discount volunteer work, board or committee membership or other projects that happened while you took time off to raise your kids or take care of an ailing loved one. It’s all good experience and will help fill in those dates between paid employment.
Above all, make sure to be truthful. You don’t want to exaggerate too much, because chances are that anything you put on your resume might come up during the job interview.
The JCS Career Center offers a free resume review as part of its “Ask a Career Coach” series at the Pikesville branch of the Baltimore County Public Library, 1301 Reisterstown Road. Bring in your resume for a free one-on-one consultation with a JCS career coach from 4-6 p.m. on the following dates (no appointment needed): Sept. 4, Oct. 9, Nov. 13 and Dec. 11.
For information, visit www.jcsbaltimore.org/free-resume-review/ or call 410-466-9200.
Lisa Gorman is a senior manager for the JCS Career Center. The JCS Career Center offers comprehensive employment services to help job seekers of all abilities and skill levels find and maintain employment or change their career. Services include career coaching, career assessments, resumes, interview preparation and connections to employers who are hiring. For information, call 410-466-9200 or visit jcsbaltimore.org.