On Monday Bloomberg Business released an article stating the best and worst fonts to use on your resume having interviewed top typographers about the subject. Some conclusions came as a surprise to no one – ie that fonts like Zapfino were unsuitable, and that Comic Sans was right out. But what did come as a surprise was the analogy of one expert, Brian Hoff, who stated that using Times New Roman in your resume was the equivalent of “putting on sweatpants” and showed a lack of care or interest in getting the position you applied for.
So with that mental note made for future, the question is how can you show a future employer that you’re motivated to get that position?
The resume is a very tricky format to get right. With fistfuls of statistics stating the average number of job applications sent out before a graduate lands a job, and the 6-second rule (recruiters say they only take 6 seconds to look at a resume before deciding if the candidate will get an interview) it’s no wonder executive resume writing is a multi-million dollar industry.
Now, very few of us can afford the services of a professional resume builder, but there are a number of things to consider that will help get your resume top of the pile.
I asked the Head of Recruitment at The Interactive Team Head Stacey Smith for some of her top tips to get your resume noticed.
1. Get past the gatekeeper:
What a lot of people don’t realise is that the manager, or the person conducting the interview is not the first person that sees your resume.
In every medium to large company there is a gatekeeper, whether it be software that filters out those with spelling errors, or an HR manager – almost all companies have a way of choosing the best candidates before showing it to the person who has the final say. Often the person looking at the resumes has very little idea of what their manager is really after and 9 times out of 10 the actual job description will be inaccurate because it wasn’t written by an expert in the field. For instance HR managers don’t typically have the knowledge to say what experience will make you a good mechanical engineer.
The job of a good resume is to get you past the gatekeeper to show off your talents to the person that can appreciate your skills and expertise.
Ideally every resume you write should be tailored to the company you’re applying to.
While this may seem obvious, Stacey states “its startling how often we get resumes that haven’t been written with The Interactive Team in mind”
A good idea is to hit on keywords from the job ad, that way if they’re using software to filter out candidates you’ll get through, and if an HR manager or recruiter is reading it they’ll know you’ve taken the time to tailor your resume to their company – leaving a good first impression before you’ve even stepped through the door.
2. Length and formatting :
Unless you have particularly extraordinary experience, that you just have to include, the rule of thumb for resumes is one page only. That is not to say you can’t include a lot of information in that space. With some creative formatting and a good typeface choice you can fit a surprising amount of information into one page. If you head on over to Behance you’ll find hundreds of downloadable, and often free resume formats created and shared by graphic designers keen to show off their own imaginative ways of displaying their resume. For a graphic designer a creative and beautiful resume is a must, but for the rest it’s a nice perk that really helps you stand out from the pack. A quick scroll through the top performing templates and you’ll find people are increasingly turning to the principles of infographics to make a visual impact in a resume, examples include bar graphs displaying your expertise level of different software, and timelines showing the length of time spent at previous jobs.
“I remember receiving an application for our Events Team, and right away it stood out, the different sections were divided with coloured boxes and she’d chosen different fonts to make headlines pop – that resume belonged to our now Head of Media Naomi Lewis,” Stacey recalls. She continued “don’t be scared to set yourself apart from the crowd, if someone has a vibrant side of their personality we want to see it”
3. Profile yourself:
While on LinkedIn a photo means you’re 14 times more likely to be viewed, the same is rarely the case with a paper resume. Instead resumes with photos are often put aside because employers are concerned that they might positively or negatively discriminate against someone based on that photo. Say you’re wearing a pale blue colour in your photo, but another candidate is wearing an orange tie in theirs – it just so happens that the HR managers favourite colour is orange, and they think baby blue is tacky – wham, your six seconds are up and you were dropped for choosing the wrong photo. So, its fair to say it’s safest to skip a photo where you can and force the person viewing it to look more deeply into your resume.
If you still want to get a part of your personality across instead include a profile or About Me section in your resume. With a profile front and centre on your resume you get a chance to put your best foot forward straight off the bat. Think “versatile software engineer with 10 years experience across dynamic client briefs” for a profile, or a little bit of humour in your About Me ie “an undying love for Jaffa Cakes”
According to Smith a humourous line in an About Me section can make all the difference, “it gives us a sense of the person and whether they’ll suit our corporate culture, which is really important to us”
4. Show Ambition:
This may not be true for every job but over at The Interactive Team we like candidates to show us they’re looking for a career they can shine in. Managing Director Gilles Baudet goes through our handpicked candidates and selects the ones he wants to personally interview “I love seeing a candidate showing that they want to make something of themselves, that’s what I look for and that’s what I hire on, average people with the above average desire to succeed,” Gilles says.
In a more general way, a show of ambition can demonstrate to a potential employer that you’re looking to stay in that job role for some years – a company doesn’t want to hire a job hopper because all the time they’ve put into training you is effectively lost money if you leave within a few months. So saying you’re dedicated to growing with the business you’re applying to says to an employer that you won’t jump ship the first time things get rough.
Finally I asked Stacey what her pet peeve was “someone that doesn’t give detail, I want to get a sense of the person I’m recruiting before I give them a call,” she says. And what is her personal recommendation to any jobseekers out there? “I’d recommend an objective statement, so we know what you’re looking for out of the role, it shows we’re on the same page and is a sure fire way to get to the next stage of the interview process”
So there you have it, The Interactive Team’s review of the 4 best ways to get your resume noticed!
If you’d like to learn more about careers with The Interactive Team, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us or give us a call. Good luck with your search!