Insider Tips:  Getting your resume read

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Getting your resume read

Recruiting tips

Recruiters tend to scan resumes quickly so make every second count

Concise. Easily digested. Quickly understood.

In today’s job market, it’s estimated that recruiters and hiring managers spend about six to 10 seconds scanning a candidate’s resume. So it’s to your benefit to ensure your resume is both easy-to-read, as well as flexible in its format so that it can be easily customized for a specific job posting.

According to Aileen Baxter, manager of Transition Assistance, Deloitte Services LP, gone are the days of an experienced professional having a “one-size-fits-all” resume that was general enough she/he could use for any job posting. Candidates should consider tailoring their resume for each job for which they apply. Doing so may just put you on top of the pile of resumes for a position. If you have a well-written resume already, tailoring may not take a lot of time.

Ideally, it’s a good idea to keep your overall resume to fewer than two pages.

Here are some tips to help you get your resume read:

Think of the resume being carved up into several parts – your contact information, a title or brand, a quick summary, and then the body of the resume that contains your experience, as well as information regarding your education/additional qualifications.

  • Start at the top of your resume – provide your name / contact information. Just a tip: if you have a less-than-professional email address, you may want to consider changing it. Advise not to call out the most efficient way to contact you (i.e., either email or cell phone)
  • Immediately below your contact information, consider providing a resume introduction that includes a title or brand that is bold and centered on the page, as well as a summary and areas of experience. You want to make sure this title or brand will catch the eye of the hiring manager or recruiter.

For example: For a Project Manager position, you may want to have this title bold and centered like this, as well as your summary positioned right underneath it:

Project Manager – Big Four Consulting Experience

PMP certified Project Manager specializing in strategic business initiation and growth, innovation, and technology development. Successfully planned, launched and managed several new cross-functional services, and led highly effective innovation competitions. Applied innovative thinking and deep knowledge of firm’s capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses to build new client-centric services. Demonstrated superior ability to work with cross-functional senior leadership with differing priorities and coordinate a resolution valued by all involved.

  • Then create what your value proposition is for this potential employer. Provide a bolded list of key words that capture your skills and competencies. Again, this will help your information “jump out” at the hiring or recruiting manager as he or she quickly scans your resume.

For example:

Key Areas of Expertise

·        Project/Program Management

·        Innovative Thinking

·        Strategic Planning

·        Process Improvement

·        Complex Budget Management

·        Leadership Buy-In

·        Client Relationship Management

·        Proposal Development

·        Consensus Building



  • Next up is your work experience section, which should be in a bulleted format. Instead of listing responsibilities, consider listing accomplishments that you achieved within each position. Additionally, consider leaving off any work experience that is older than 15 years unless relevant to the job you are applying for.

For example:

Project managed team of more than 100 professionals, including leadership partners, in 11 countries. 

Achieved record participation of 11,000 professionals, drove selection of 40 winning pursuits. 

During its four-year run, team identified new services totaling more than $670M in revenues to date.

  • The final section of the resume is your education/additional qualifications and other relevant credentials. Consider not listing years for which you graduated from a bachelor or master’s degree, but merely list your major or areas of concentration. Also, consider including relevant certifications.

For example: If you are a certified Project Manager, call out the “PMP” certification/acronym after your name at the top of your resume in addition to the Education/Certifications section.

With regard to the statement: “References available upon request” – nowadays it’s expected you will bring a copy of your references to the interview so there is no need to include it on your resume.

One suggestion with regard to listing personal interests on a resume, unless there is something very unique about you or if you have a significant passion for a cause, it’s better to leave a personal interests section off of your resume. However, carefully think through if you have any characteristics that may be a conversation starter for a hiring manager or recruiter.

For example: If you are very actively involved with animal rescue and actively volunteer at the local shelter, then this would be something to consider listing.

Another example: If you are a classically trained pianist and still perform publically, this would be another unique attribute to add.


"Your resume is your calling card so employ it wisely in your job search. Once you secure an interview, then you can expand on your experiences, skills, and education, but getting an interview is the first step and a well-crafted resume is a critical component to helping you get to that point."

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