To help job applicants land an interview, I asked hiring managers and recruiters this question for their best insights on how you can land a job interview for your next career move. From leading with your strongest qualifications to including metrics, there are several tips that may help improve your resume and land a job interview at your desired company.
11 resume tips to help you get an interview:
Lead With Your Strongest Qualifications
Personalizing your resume for the job is a good first step, but you also want to make it as easy as possible for the person reviewing your resume to see the skills and experience that make you a perfect fit for the position. This advice applies to both the resume as a whole and to individual sections. If your work experience isn't all relevant to the position, for example, put the ones that are at the top, even if they're not the most recent place you worked. You can also put a "Highlighted Skills" or "Summary Statement" instead of the outdated resume statement at the top and use this to call attention to what makes you uniquely suited for the role and company you're applying for.
- Archie Payne, Caltek Staffing
Use Industry-Specific Keywords
The first step is to make sure that your resume fulfills the basic standards required by your potential employer. More and more companies use Applicant Tracking Systems to collect and store their applicants' data. Your resume might have a perfect graphic design, but you won't be admitted to the next recruitment round if it doesn't follow the company's requirements.
My advice is to use industry-specific keywords in your resume. Where can you find them? First, look at the job description and search for words that are often used in the ad. You can also research which phrases are commonly used in your industry and incorporate them into your resume. However, be careful not to stuff your resume with too many keywords! Anything that looks unnatural might work for the software but will later discourage recruiters from inviting you to an interview.
- Dorota Lysienia, LiveCareer
Prepare Fresh Resumes Regularly
Your experiences, expertise, and achievements change over time, and your resume should keep up with that. Having an updated resume is a major prerequisite for getting an interview call. It tells the recruiters what you have been up to recently, so they can consider you for further evaluation.
An outdated resume will create confusion and misconceptions for the recruiter, making them unlikely to proceed further with your application. Ideally, you should revise your resume every couple of months and make sure it documents all your latest activities. It saves you the hassle of fixing your resume if an opportunity arises.
- Antreas Koutis, Financer
List Skills First
An effective resume lists your transferrable skills first, above your experience. This is especially important if you don't have a lot of experience. However, even those with much experience will benefit from this style. Employers want to know what you can do more than they want to know where you've worked. Your experience should validate the skills you listed in the employer's mind. Listing skills first will immediately answer the question of whether you can do the job without needing to ask you a lot about your routines and work at past jobs so the interviewer can move on to other important topics.
- Fadi Swaida, Bond Street Dental
Leverage the Area "Above the Fold"
As a professional résumé writer and former headhunter, I have reviewed thousands of résumés. Those that catch my eye have one thing in common. The candidate has leveraged the area above the fold, i.e., the top half of page 1. Too often, jobseekers open their résumés with a professional summary and then launch right into work history, creating a résumé that is a blow-by-blow of the candidate's jobs, maybe with a few achievements mixed into a sea of bullet points.
Consider writing your résumé to take advantage of the prime real estate, the area above the fold. Begin with a heading that identifies the target job title, e.g., Sr. Financial Analyst. Create a strong summary describing who you are and why you're uniquely qualified for the role. Following the summary, I like to see an overview of core competencies and the critical skills required for success in the role. Then I recommend creating a section of career highlights, your best and strongest accomplishments, and achievements.
- Jerome Imhoff, The Résumé Shop, "INK"
Match Your Resume to Company Values
Every company is proud of a few things that tower above everything else. You can notice these unique selling points and highlights everywhere, from the company's website to everything the HR team has tried to sell. These highlights could be the immense growth the company has achieved, the leadership team's commitment to work culture, its ability to read the market, or tech-savvy ways of working. Include the points that suit you best in your resume, and you'd be able to align yourself with the company's main goals. This approach will help present your resume as one that belongs to an ideal candidate who is cut out for working with the brand.
- Kris Harris, Nootka Saunas
Make Sure Your Resume Will Pass the ATS
To land an interview, ensuring your resume will pass the ATS (applicant tracking system) is vital. Many employers use ATS to help reduce time spent sifting through job applications and resumes. To get past the ATS and to a human, your resume needs to be optimized with keywords, saved in the correct file format, and use the correct resume format. It's also important to avoid using images and fancy fonts. If you need help with your resume, we always recommend working with a resume writing service. Many resume writing services offer free reviews and can provide tips to help make sure your resume beats the bots!
- Macy Sarbacker, CareerCloud
Wrap up Your Resume with Hobbies
Adding a hobbies line at the end of your resume is a great way to stand out from other applicants. Including interests and unique skills can set you apart from other candidates and endear you to the hiring manager. Though it's a small resume component, a hobbies section at the end of a professional summary shows personal flair and confidence in who you are.
- Dan Potter, CRAFTD
Make It Easy Reading
An applicant's resume can make or break their chances of landing an interview. Here's my best tip to help you put your best foot forward: Make sure your resume is well-organized and easy to read. Keep all the information concise and organized so hiring managers can quickly understand your skills and how they relate to the job opening. When organizing your resume, make sure to tailor your resume to the specific job you're applying for.
- Travis Lindemoen, nexus IT group
Once you've applied for a job, follow up. For example, a quick LinkedIn search of the company will show you the people who work in their talent, recruiting, or HR departments. Send a quick and friendly message to one or two of these folks sharing that you just applied, why you're interested in working for their company, and thanking them for their time and consideration. This small extra step could send your application to the top of the pile.
- Matt Woods, SOLD.com
When it comes to standing out from the crowd, applicants should highlight their achievements with data. Most hiring leaders love metrics. Quantify as much as possible to display what you've achieved, how you've achieved it, and in what span of time. The applicant's resume should be an advertisement for everything they can offer. Be consistent with your resume format, and don't be afraid to toot your own horn numerically!
- Nakeisha Martinez, Zendesk
Here are some additional resume tips:
Keep your resume concise. A resume should be one or two pages long unless you have a lot of experience.
Use a professional font and format. Your resume should be easy to read and visually appealing.
Get feedback from others. Ask friends, family, or colleagues to review your resume and give you feedback.
Need additional assistance with crafting your resume? Contact a professional resume writer.