nikia.jpgThis is a guest post by Niki Agrawal, who is a Product Manager at HelloFresh in Berlin, a UX aficionado, and author of Communication is key: growth lessons learned through two startups + a job hunt. She is also an ex-recruiter which means she’s looked through a ton of resumés. She is a good friend of the founding team at Learning Dollars and has been a client of Learning Dollars. We thought this article may be particularly useful for the Learning Dollars community which includes both engineers and those who hire engineers. Without further ado, here is our first guest blog post: 

Insider resume tips no one tells you

Recruiters spend at most 10 seconds initially reading your resume. What do they usually see? Unformatted bullets (courtesy of the sloth Applicant Tracking System), a paragraph summary (skip because who has time for complete sentences), and a jumble of company names (bolded and underlined AND CAPITALIZED).

Don’t be this resume. Don’t let recruiters skip you. The next 7 tips will make you 10-second worthy.

1) Titles 1st, Companies 2nd

Your impact is most important. Which do you think makes you stand out more below?

The one with Business Analyst first emphasizes your role and helps the recruiter quickly understand where you are likely to be placed.

Emphasize your position at the company, not the company.

Do so by using bold, italics, underline, and capitalization carefully throughout. Use only one at a TIME. Not ALL AT A TIME. Bold is most powerful, so bold your titles. CAPITALIZE MINIMALLY ELSE YOUR RESUME BECOMES DIFFICULT TO READ QUICKLY.

2) 1 Page, 11-pt Font

The resume is just meant to get your foot in the door, then recruiters can visit your LinkedIn profile (make sure to include the link at the very top) to see more. With resumes, less is more, so keep it to a page.

And how do you manage to squish everything? 11-pt font size will help. So will tip #7.

3) PDF & File Name

ATS’s (the database of candidates used by recruiters, aka Applicant Tracking Systems) suck. Often entire resumes come up as center-aligned! Imagine how hard that is to read…

Retain format by submitting in PDF, and name the file something intuitive like “BradPittResume,” in case recruiters decide to save your resume to their cluttered desktops.

4) White Space = Eye Space

Hold your resume away from you at arms length, or zoom out to 60% in Word. Is there distracting white space to the left or right? If so, indent bullets more or align dates on the right side to utilize all parts of the page. White space draws attention and makes your resume look unbalanced and sloppy.

5) Experience before Education

Education as the first section suggests that you don’t even have experiences. Experiences are valued more and should be “above the fold,” (in the top half), where the most important stuff is.

Also, skip long paragraphs at the top of the page. Summarizing your profile in complete sentences is usually showing, not telling. And recruiters know how to scan a resume and make a profile for you.

6) We know how to spell September

So don’t write it out for us. Abbreviate all months to the first 3 letters (Jan, Feb, Mar, etc.) and be consistent to help readers scan your resume faster.

7) Quantify

If there is any one tip you should take away from this post, it is this one. So props to you for sticking around.

Read your bullets — do they sound like job descriptions? Then delete it completely! You always want to write achievements, not responsibilities. And the trick to do so is to quantify.

Use numbers that act like a unique fingerprint. No one else can tell us what your quantified achievements are, but anyone can write responsibilities.

Column one sounds entirely like a job advertisement and gives the reader no sense of who you are. Column two is impressive and specific!

Some people worry that their quantified achievements are not that awesome, but in almost all cases, a recruiter underestimates achievements, so it’s best to include numbers.

With these 7 tips, make yourself 10-second worthy. Be noticed. Get your foot in the door.