Resumes and Cover Letters

Fictitious ResumeBefore writing any resumes and cover letters, there are two numbers to keep in mind: 70 and 20. A company gets 70 applicants for every professional job opening (blue collar jobs are even higher). In addition, a candidate only has 20 seconds with their resume to make an impression on a recruiter before that recruiter hits the delete button.

Think about that.

It probably took you twenty seconds to read this paragraph. During that time, a recruiter has already made up their mind if resumes and cover letters are worthy of further consideration.

Doesn’t sound fair does it? Well that is the real world. But just because the odds are stacked against you, doesn’t mean you can’t win. After you’ve reviewed some sample resumes and decided on a format, stop and think about what could take that standard sample resume and make it into an exceptional resume and cover letter that will leap out at the reader and get the attention of the recruiter or hiring manager.

Five Tips to Get Resumes and Cover Letters Noticed

  1. Think Like a Recruiter – Recruiters scan for keywords. A good resume and cover letter have all the keywords prominently displayed in the resume so it catches the recruiter’s eye.
  2. Maximize the Real Estate – It is important not to waste space on a resume and cover letter through poor formatting choices.
  3. Quantify Accomplishments – At the end of the day, a candidate does one of three things. You either make the company money, save the company money, or improve a process (which saves the company money). So, when writing a resume it is important to think about the value you created the company and then quantify the results on the resume. I’m sure most of you are saying to yourself, I don’t do any of those things. I saw hogwash. Everyone does one of those three things, they just need to look at their job a different way.
  4. Red Flags – Everyone has them. You need to address them the right way. Your red flag could be job hopping, age, no college degree, etc. It is important to identify what red flags you have and manage them appropriately.
  5. A Beginning, a Middle, and an End – Unless you are a fresh grad, education goes at the end of the resume. The beginning should be contact information and an executive summary. The second section should be work history in reverse chronological order and the final section should include education, professional affiliations and any personal information you want to disclose.

Additional Resources for Creating Resumes and Cover Letters