Like everything else in our ever-evolving world, the process of selling yourself through your resume is always changing. As young HR pros, we get so much advice on the “right way” to write our resume that it can sometimes be overwhelming. The whole goal of writing your resume is to find that perfect first job that we spent so much time in college studying for. The last thing you want to do is get missed in the shuffle.
Here are three situations to be cautious of as you begin your career.
Myth 1: Resumes should only be one page.
Truth & Tips: It’s safe to say that most college students/recent grads may only have enough relevant information for a one-page resume, and that’s okay. However, it’s important to know that you don’t always have to keep it at one page. It’s common to see most resumes at two or more pages to ensure that all relevant qualifications, job experience, and skills are listed. If you are wondering what experience would be relevant for you as a college student/recent grad, think internships, summer-jobs, extracurricular activities, and leadership opportunities.
Myth 2: Recruiters will spend however much time it takes to read over a resume.
Truth & Tips: On average, recruiters only spend about six seconds reviewing your resume. Studies have found that they will spend about 80 percent of that time looking at your name, current title/company/dates worked, your previous title/company/dates worked, and your education. So how do you make the best impression in those first six seconds? Ask a professional to review your resume; use a strong, clean visual layout and reduce clutter; and focus on your current and previous positions, making sure that your title and employment dates are accurate.
Myth 3: Resumes always get reviewed by a recruiter / HR pro.
Truth & Tips: Companies today receive such a multitude of resumes and applications that they rely on Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) rather than an actual human to weed out unqualified applicants. Think about it: have you ever applied for a job and then you get that rejection letter saying, “Thank you for applying, but…” almost immediately? You become perplexed wondering how that happened so fast. The company you applied to probably uses an ATS to pick out resumes that best fit the job description of the desired role. So how can you get past this? Take the time to do research to understand the qualifications, skills, and experience that the position calls for; customize your resume to include the exact language found within the job description; and review your list of previous jobs to emphasize pertinent roles and remove irrelevant positions.
If you’re interested in learning more resume tips, or if you are an HR Pro that can provide some stellar info, then please make sure to participate in the SHRM #nextchat on June 6 at 3:00 p.m. ET. My fellow SHRM Young Professional Advisory Council members will be joining me to discuss additional steps you should take to showcase your talent effectively.