You have mere seconds to catch the recruiter’s attention before they move onto the next resume. So you better make those few seconds worth their while. With a countless number of resumes passing through the recruiter's hands, it’s nearly impossible to read them all. So, let’s say your resume actually makes it to the recruiter’s desk. What should you include on your resume to make it stand out?
1. A Summary and Objective. Believe it or not, the summary and objective section is the most critical, because it could take only a few seconds to read that section alone. From the moment the recruiter lays eyes on your resume, your most impressive skills should capture their attention. The summary and objective section of the resume is a quick way to impress the recruiter. Use the summary to give an overview of the skills and experiences you’d like to highlight. The remainder of your resume should provide the reader with further detail and understanding of your relevant experience and the value you bring. The summary and objective section should be no more than 5 sentences, with the first 2-3 providing a brief overview of your relevant skills and experience that you will bring to the role. This will make the recruiter want to keep reading. Then close the paragraph with a short 1-2 sentences explaining your career goals and what you’re looking for in your next role. This gives the reader enough insight to determine if your goals align with theirs and if you would be a good fit.
2. Quantifiable Achievements. Employers say that quantifiable achievements are the single most important component that is often missing from resumes. Adding metrics to your resume is a great way to quantify your skills. Supplementing your experience with quantifiable evidence will make your resume stronger than the competition’s because it shows recruiters and employers how you would add value to their organization. In addition to adding value, metrics also boost your credibility. Quantifying your experience provides evidence to employers that you actually possess the skills you have listed on your resume. One of the main things employers want to know is that you can actually do the things you say you can do. When you have metrics to support your experience, your skills section is that much stronger. Even if your experience doesn’t involve numbers directly, it is likely that you have some indirect quantifiable experience that could add value to your resume. For example, if you’re a customer service professional, then you should reference how many people you help on a daily basis. Numbers are everywhere; you just have to know where to look for them when you need them, and where it is appropriate to include them on your resume. The best way to determine what metrics would be relevant to the role you’re applying for is to tailor your resume to the job description.
3. Hard Skills. The skills section of the resume is more important than most people think. But did you know that there are different types of skills that employers are looking for on your resume? The two primary skills that should be included on your resume are hard skills and soft skills. But what is the difference between hard skills and soft skills? Hard skills are role-specific, meaning that the hard skills you include on your resume may vary depending on the role you are applying for. Hard skills are job-related skills and abilities that are needed in order to perform job duties effectively. Hard skills such as typing speed, coding, machine operation, software proficiency, and foreign languages, are gained through training and experience. Whereas soft skills on the other hand, are person-specific. Soft skills tend to be referred to as personal qualities or personality traits such as communication, leadership, teamwork, and time management. To differentiate between hard skills and soft skills just remember that hard skills are measurable, easily defined and specific. Whereas soft skills are hard to measure. Although both hard skills and soft skills are essential components that should be included on your resume, hard skills are more likely what makes your resume stand out over the competition. They will help employers gauge how much you will need to be trained before being able to work independently. Hard skills also provide leverage for you to negotiate salary and pay based on your skill set,. It’s up for debate whether skills should be listed at the top of the resume, off to the side, or at the bottom. However, with a summary section you have the opportunity to reference your strongest skills at the top of your resume and fill in any other relatable skills at the bottom if you choose.
4. Additional Education. Add any professional certifications you may have or relevant courses you’ve taken to your resume as well. It shows employers that you want to grow professionally in the field and are always open to learning more. Professional certifications also serve as supporting evidence to validate your skills.
While these are four things to add, making sure that your resume stands out really requires two things: skills and quantifiable evidence. As you write your resume, put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes and ask, “Tell me what you can do and then prove it?