(ROSENBERG, Texas) – You could be the most qualified applicant for a job posting. But unless your resume conveys that, you may be overlooked for the position.
“In a nutshell, the entire purpose of a resume is to get you to an interview,” said Hunter Henry, a Texas State Technical College Career Services associate. “Think of it as a key to open the door.”
Henry regularly conducts virtual workshops, designed to help TSTC students seize the opportunities that await them after graduating with a technical degree. The most recent workshop was full of tips to make resumes stand out from the crowd — a necessity for applicants to get their foot in the door for a job opening.
Each resume is as different as the person it represents.
“Everyone has a unique combination of skills and experiences and goals in life,” Henry said. “Only you can put that into words. You do that by highlighting what makes you a rock star.”
Though Henry discourages people from using templates — too much can go wrong in their formatting when submitting, all resumes follow a formula, which includes:
— Contact information, which should be updated and professional — leave the joke emails and voicemail messages out of it.
— Attention grabber, which should include your top industry-relevant and soft skills or a summary of your qualifications.
— Education, which should include your most recent experience first.
— Experience, which should incorporate action verbs in your descriptions of your work or volunteer history.
Perhaps the most important thing people should avoid when it comes to their resumes is using the exact same one for every application.
Henry encourages everyone to take a close look at the job posting and incorporate key language within it in their resumes. Many employers utilize software to weed out applicants that do not include the skills they are looking for.
“An applicant tracking system will mark your resume as not relevant, and it will drastically increase your chances of ending up at the bottom half of the stack,” Henry said. “You have to beat the bot to get to a recruiter.”
The bottom half of the stack is what recruiters like to call the black hole, Henry continued. Resumes that end up there rarely get read.
Those at the top of the stack still need to make an impact.
“It needs to be easy to screen and skim,” Henry said. “The average recruiter these days spends between five to 10 seconds on your resume before making a decision.”
That is why having a resume that best represents you as an applicant is crucial. From using clear, legible fonts and printing on the best paper possible, to ensuring that your resume is free from typos, the details matter.
“We define it as your personal marketing tool,” Henry said. “It’s meant to sell an employer on why you’re worth hiring. We can help you make it look great, but at the end of the day, you have to be the one to communicate that on paper.”
Learn more about TSTC at tstc.edu.