I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage, “There’s no such thing as second first impressions.” This applies to your resume as well. An average recruiter’s work week consists of looking over hundreds of applications for just as many hopeful candidates. Though the industries and positions vary, there are several mistakes the average job seeker makes that are a sure way to get your resume pushed to the bottom of the pile.

The average recruiter only spends about 6-9 seconds scanning a document before deciding if the candidate is a good fit for an open position. With such a small window of time to impress, every part of your resume needs to stand out. That is why it is so important to carefully curate and create content that will make your resume shine.

At Career Pro Atlanta, we know how to get your application noticed and we’re willing to share some tips to help you draw in recruiters rather than push them away.

Decide What Words Will Make Your Resume Stand Out

Once you make the decision to update your resume, you must first consider what you want your resume to do. The most effective resumes are written with specific goals in mind. Research a few job posts describing the type of position you’re seeking and take a look at how each company describes the role, responsibilities, and requisites.

Jot down a few of the keywords, phrases, and skills that pervade the job postings. If you have some of the skills they’re looking for, include that language in your resume.  Doing so will help ensure that your job application makes it past the initial screening and to the employer for further assessment.

Don’t Stuff Your Resume With Fluff

Motivated. Skilled. Experienced. What do these words all have in common? They’ve topped many employment and business sites’ lists as the most overused buzzwords. These words will be immediately recognized as filler, or fluff and signify to most recruiters and hiring managers that you’re lacking in some way. Impressing an employer is easy if you remove all the buffer words that you’re using to fill your resume and instead focus on highlighting your personal achievements. An example would be listing real, tangible results you’ve generated in your field that demonstrate your expertise. Showing a prospective employer what you’re capable of will make you much more than simply stating that you’re “skilled”.

Even though it can be difficult to resist the urge to fatten up your professional summary, try to avoid these buzzwords and let your accomplishments speak for themselves.

Your Resume Sounds Weak

A resume is meant to sell yourself to a prospective employer. Bold, powerful verbs describing your past duties will make you the most memorable candidate. Hiring managers are tired of reading things like “Helped With”, “Responsibilities Included”. Using these words is fine if you just want to use them to occasionally describe a job responsibility on your resume. Avoid using these words over and over by getting creative.

Choosing strong ACTION verbs will help paint a better picture of your career story. Using words that express action will increase your reader’s engagement. Carefully choosing these words to describe your capabilities and accomplishment. Again, be careful not to become repetitive.

We’ve provided a few examples to help breathe life into your resume:

    • Rather than saying you “managed” a project; try “conducted.”
    • Instead of saying you “oversaw” a team of 12, try “Mentored” or “Led”
  • “Helped” doesn’t sound very impressive in a resume. Replace it with “Facilitated” or “Coached”

Know What’s Necessary

Lastly, with each line vying for the attention of your prospective employer, you want to remove anything that’s outdated or irrelevant. We’ve included a list of the most commonly included items that have no business being on your resume.

    1. An ordinary objective statement could be replaced with a career statement that summarized your qualifications in terms that an employer will appreciate.
    1. Your street address isn’t necessary. Recruiters will often give preference to local candidates, but if you’re planning to post to a job board, it’s best omitted.
  1. If you’re a recent college grad or have been in the workforce for some a while, it’s time to get rid of any reference to your high school accolades. If you’re a senior professional, limit your work experience to the last 15 years.