You have seven seconds to make an impression with your résumé. So you better make every one count.
“Those first seven seconds someone spends on your résumé are the deciding seconds on whether they like you or not,” said salary and hiring coach Olivia Jaras. “They spend the rest of the time trying to corroborate that first impression.”
Jaras is the founder of Salary Coaching for Women, which helps clients get hired and negotiate salaries.
Your résumé does more than just get you an interview, it also plays a role in determining your salary, she said.
That’s why the format, word choice and tone are important to getting the reader on your side.
“It’s playing mind games,” Jaras said. “A good résumé doesn’t sound too pushy, aggressive or assertive. It’s a more subtle energy.”
Here’s how to craft a résumé that will get you hired:
Header: keep it simple
The top of your résumé is precious real estate. All you really need there is your name, phone number and email.
“If they need your street address, they will find or ask for it,” Jaras said.
She also cautioned against going overboard with fonts and colors.
Summary: tell them who you are
This first section of a résumé should be two or three sentences that detail who you are and where you are in your career, your strengths and capabilities, and how you can best fill the needs of the employer.
“You have to set the tone in a way that they like you and are excited to continue to read,” said Jaras. Show the company the value you bring. Read the job posting carefully for hints on what the employer is looking for.
“The job posting will tell you what the needs are, so when you are writing this section, anticipate the needs that are going unfilled by virtue of this vacancy.”
Using phrases like “had the good fortune” makes you come across as more thankful and approachable, according to Jaras.
“If you were to say ‘I’ve directed…’ the way you come across is very different and not at all thankful.”
She advised job seekers to italicize the summary paragraph. “This shows this is the intro to the résumé” and sets the tone.”
Experience: tell them what you can do
This is the only place where you can brag carefully.
The experience section should include your current and past job titles, responsibilities and accomplishments.
List two or three bullet points of responsibilities for each position. The first point should make it clear what you did, with the following points showing how you did it.
“Go into more granular description of how you did your job, for instance: What strategies you implemented.”
Next, list two to three accomplishments that give specific metrics and results that will resonate with the reader, Jaras explained.
“Use numbers if you can. Bring it out in digestible chunks so someone can understand the success and impact of what you do.”
About me: leave on a high note
Ending your résumé with some personal information in an “about me” section can help make you more memorable.
There’s nothing wrong with being known as the “stamp collector applicant.” It gives you personality, it leaves an impression, and it can also help get your foot in the door.
Write about unique hobbies or personal goals that you recently achieved. It doesn’t have be anything too elaborate or over the top.
Maybe you just took up jogging, give them the back story. “Even if it’s: you took it up to help your friend lose 500 pounds and now it’s something you like to do. Make it meaningful and close the reader experience with a sigh of relief.”
Jaras had a client who landed a job at Google and was told that it was a close call between her and another candidate, but that she was ultimately picked because it was hard to ignore her roller derby and accordion playing hobbies.
“The hiring manager told her that information sold them.”