Employers are very busy people that have to sift through thousands of resumes and job applications every year. This can be quite a laborious task for anyone doing temporarily, but if you are doing this day in and day out, all year around, how often would you actually take the necessary time to read a resume all the way to the bottom? Not often I’m sure.
Not every resume makes it into the ‘yes’ pile, but those that do will go on to be read from top to bottom in the second stage of the recruitment process. When you are applying for what is potentially your dream job, you will want to do everything in your power to have your resume read right to the very end. By understanding how an employer looks through a resume, you will be able to improve your odds of having your resume read completely.
Short and Sweet
Everyone has heard the tried and tested advice to keep things short and sweet. Nowhere is this advice more important than with your resume. Imagine the reaction you would get from an employer when faced with your resume that is five pages long. Do you really think they will be encouraged to even get past the first page? Probably not.
An employer will be quite time-restricted with searching through resumes and job applications. They don’t want to sit there for hours on end every day sifting through applicants, so longer resumes are not going to grab their attention. Long resumes can be very overwhelming, especially if they pick one up to look at after four or five hours of sorting through applicants. It really doesn’t matter that the information contained on page four is absolutely outstanding, the employer is probably never going to reach that page.
Try to keep your resume short. About one or two pages long is fine for most employers to scan over and pick out the information they are looking for. If your two-page resume is particularly well constructed with easy to read highlights, then there is more chance of it being read in its entirety.
You can browse through our collection of resume packs that have been designed to be easy to read and pleasant to reader’s eyes.
Make keywords count
Using the right keywords within your resume will make it easier for the employer to spot the skills they are searching for. The best keywords to use are the ones that appear in the job advert and job description. Cast an eye over your resume and then compare how many preferred keywords jump out at you that match those you see in the job advert and job description. If there are very few at first glance, then you need to up your keyword count to include more within your resume text.
Look for the most common keywords that the company uses in their job descriptions and incorporate those keywords into your own resume. Look at the skills required for the job and rearrange your resume layout to make your matching skills appear near the top. Make them easy to spot by highlighting them in a separate skills box with a bold, eye-catching section heading.
The job advert the company are posting tells you exactly what that employer is looking for, so try your best to pick out your matching skills, experience and qualifications and present them in a way that makes them easy to spot. Remember that you are trying to grab their attention and show them that you have the necessary skills they desire.
Explain why you want this job
Once you have highlighted all your matching skills, knowledge and work experience and placed them at the top of your resume, you will want to keep the employer engaged and reading further.
Rather than simply going onto listing your qualifications or listing other information that is not directly related to the role on offer, write a short paragraph to make it perfectly clear why you want this job. If you are including a cover letter with your job application, then use this further to explain why you want the job and why you are the perfect fit. Keep your cover letter short too, with just a paragraph or two addressing the core things you want to get over to the employer.
If you are to the point and write with honesty, your potential employer is more likely to engage with your words and pick up on your strong desire to take on this role. They will be more inclined to read your whole resume if you cut out any unnecessary waffle and get across the exact information they need to make a decision.