How to Get Your Resume Out of the ‘No’ Pile

If you have ever filled out an application or worked in a professional setting, you’ve probably put together a resume to get there.  But is the resume you are using getting the consideration you are seeking?
In most cases, your resume IS your first impression, and will stay in a company’s database long after your interview. As someone who looks at hundreds of resumes each week, I’ve provided some tips and advice to help you land that next opportunity.

Contact Information
Keep this section short and to the point. Name, phone number, email address and city of residence should all be located here. Also, feel free to add a link to your LinkedIn profile, your Github, or your personal website (if appropriate). One mistake that’s still made quite often is a candidate using an old or ‘unprofessional’ e-mail address. For example, if your e-mail is, the prospective employer might not think you are serious about the job.

Pick a professional font and stay away from tables. Calibri and Times New Roman are usually your safest bets. Keep in mind that your font is not what is going to set you apart, your experience is, so don’t spend too much time on picking a fancy font. Keep it in an easy to read and parse format. Applicants often have their resumes parsed into databases via Applicant Tracking Systems. If there are tables that are not properly formatted, key information may be omitted from your internal profile. You wouldn’t want an entire chunk of skills to be missed by a hiring authority.

Don’t always rely on spell and grammar-check. As great as these tools are, things can still slip through. It is good practice to have someone else (friend or family member) review your resume — they will pick up on grammar mistakes like double words or a word used in the wrong tense. Speaking of tense, keep the same tense throughout the entirety of the resume (I suggest past tense). Switching from present to past within descriptions is bad form.

Additional Tips of the Trade
Content: Always update your resume, even if you aren’t in the market for a new opportunity. Updating your resume while it is fresh gives you a better opportunity to provide more detail about your experience.
Length: Your resume can be too long or too short. If you have been in the workforce for 5 years, it is fine to have a resume that extends on to a second page. However, a resume that is 13 pages long will more than likely not be read all the way through. Stick to the most important bullet points for each position.
Summary: Read through the job description that the company has provided and customize your summary to the job. Not only does it let you them know you have the skills to do the job, but it shows that you read through the description and tailored your resume accordingly.

In conclusion, there’s no perfect way to construct a resume. But minor issues, such as spelling or formatting mistakes can be all that’s needed to sink your application. While it’s just a piece of paper, it’s a reflection of your skills and how you’d like to be perceived. Good luck and happy hunting!

Chris Lowstuter

Chris is an Associate Recruiter out of the Charlotte office. Are you in Charlotte and seeking a new career opportunity? Connect with Chris! 

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