Resume Advice from Recruiters
Who Help Screen 4 Million Resumes a Year
There is a plethora of resume advice on the web.
But you can’t trust everything you read.
When it comes to resume advice, nobody knows better than recruiters who supervise millions of job applications each year.
This resume guide presents information sourced from the works of Sjoerd Gehring and Kyle Ewing, which you can find online.
Gehring works as the Global Head of Corporate Recruiting at Apple. In his previous role as a VP of talent acquisition for Johnson & Johnson, he managed a recruitment team that screened one million resumes a year.
Ewing is the director of talent and outreach at Google. Google receives 3.3 million resumes every year, so she knows what works and what doesn’t.
With their experience reviewing more than four million job applications per year, here are the resume strategies that they want you to use:
1. Use a Portfolio, Even as a Non-Creative
Gehring suggests that a portfolio isn’t just for graphic designers or animation artists. Even non-creatives can use a portfolio to add power to their resume. A portfolio can allow you to give a detailed walkthrough of your accomplishments and key competencies.
Making a portfolio isn’t hard. For example, if you are a data scientist, you can create a PowerPoint presentation describing your role in past projects, showcasing measurable results against predefined objectives.
Why should you build a portfolio?
It helps the recruiter see how you can solve company problems. By showing - not just telling, like everyone else does in a resume - you are able to stand out.
2. Emphasize Quality, not Quantity
According to Gehring, you should always emphasize the quality of you achievements, not just quantity - even when you are humblebragging.
For example, if your previous job required reaching out to prospects, it doesn’t really help to mention that you sent 100 proposals per day.
What really matters is how good was your outreach process. So, someone who focused on relationship building as opposed to sending generic proposals will have better chances of getting hired.
The same goes for a job search. Instead of applying to hundreds of jobs with the same generic resume, send a tailored resume to a few openings for which you are the right match.
3. Solve a Company Problem
To achieve the results that nobody else does, you have to do things that they aren’t willing to do. Think about it. Most candidates send generic resumes. Some of them tailor it to the job. But few study the company at a grassroot level and understand its challenges.
As Gehring suggests, you should study the company’s pain points in detail and find fresh ideas and solutions to explain in the interview.
For example, as an operations manager, you could describe automation strategies to increase efficiency and reduce costs. You can produce a detailed plan for the next quarter in the interview to surprise recruiters with your knowledge and ability to take initiative.
4. Never Lose Sight of Company Context
Always put context first in your resume as well as cover letter. Gehring cautions against suggesting anything that goes against the company’s core values and primary objectives.
For example, if you are looking for a job at a non-profit organization, it isn’t a good idea to promote sales techniques like scarcity and price mark-ups, since they go against humanitarian values.
To keep your grip on the context, research the company first to learn about their primary focus points and core values. Study their past work and their unique approach to achieving business objectives. Then align your suggestions with this knowledge.
5. Your Unique Experience
Nothing sells you better to a recruiter than past experience. It reveals the results you can produce, when all is said and done.
Write a resume summary
Although many resume experts say that you shouldn’t include a resume summary or career objective at the top, Ewing highly recommends it.
It is a chance to show what you bring to the organization beyond the skills required for the role. To write a strong resume summary, focus on relevant experience and how you can bring value to the organization.
Include work experience
But to make it count, you have to focus on the experience and expertise you bring to the table that no one else can. In fact, Google highly values life experience in addition to work experience.
Include life experience
A possible explanation is that people who spend meaningful lives outside of work tend to be more fulfilled and accomplish more at work. Moreover, how you spend time outside of nine-to-five indicates what you will add to the company culture.
Here are some examples of life experiences you can mention in your resume:
- Passion projects
6. Add Context to the Numbers
According to Ewing, the numbers you mention to showcase your past experience and achievements should be linked to the impact you made in the past. To do this properly, you need to use sentences to describe the data and also tell how you achieved those results.
Example: Achievements without Context:
“Increased revenue by 10% in previous role as business development manager”
Example: Achievements with Context:
“Grew revenue for 10 select clients by 12% quarter over quarter using new automation solutions and better marketing touch points”.
Notice how the second version shows a tangible impact with numbers but also tells the complete story of how this impact came to be.
7. Relevant Keywords
Recruiters use a few important keywords in the job description to describe the job responsibilities and requirements. Ewing recommends using the same keywords in your resume to get their attention.
Select the keywords that match with your skill set and work experience and make sure to use them in your resume. Putting the right keywords also makes your resume ATS ready.
8. Pick the Right Time
Ewing offers an amazing meta-strategy to follow when writing your resume.
She suggests that you shouldn’t write your resume when you’re feeling low or tired after a long day at work. Writing a resume feels like a chore anyway – and bringing stress to the activity can damage the quality of your resume.
So, make sure you are in high spirits when you write your resume. Ewing even suggests updating your resume every January instead of when you’re hopelessly searching for a better job.
Further Reading from Skills You Need
Develop the skills you need to get that job.
This eBook is essential reading for potential job-seekers. Not only does it cover identifying your skills but also the mechanics of applying for a job, writing a CV or resume and attending interviews.
The Final Word
The right job can turn your life around so make sure you do your due diligence before writing your resume. It is also crucial to remember that a resume is just one piece of the puzzle.
You need to hone your skills and be ready for the interview as well. Respect your goal and spend time preparing so that you are ready when the opportunity presents itself.
About the Author
Akshay Gupta has written on career advice for the likes of Forbes, Next Avenue, and Top Resume.