A resume, perhaps the most integral part of the hiring process today, not only helps recruiters determine your eligibility but achieve a deeper understanding of your skills, strengths, and experience. According to research, recruiters take about six seconds to make their initial judgment on a resume. Here’s what you need to keep in mind to stand out from the competition:

  1. Personalization is key

DO: Format your resume so that it’s customized to the position you are applying for. You can seem to appear lazy if you use the same format for multiple positions in the same organization.

DON’T: Create a resume that is more than 2-page long. Eliminate irrelevant details such as age, race, gender, and marital status, or unrelated work experience. While a descriptive resume may look impressive, it is likely to be less effective.

60 percent of HR managers pay attention to whether their resume has been customized to their open position.

  1. Keep it short and simple

DO: Use the CAR Rule (Challenge. Action. Results) while writing the summary, experience, and achievements. Quantify your results wherever possible. Ensure your summary “sells” to the recruiter - keep it short and easy to read.  

DON’T: Overuse vocabulary or business jargon. Technical acronyms can sometimes be a distraction.

Research shows that 380 words is the single-page cut off point. 34% of hiring managers want to see quantifiable results on your resume.

  1. Highlight relevant skills

DO: Go through the job description with a fine-tooth comb and try to mirror the language of the job description. To highlight these keywords, place the skills section in the top left of the resume.

Today most Fortune 500 companies filter resumes using an applicant tracking system before they ever make it to a human hiring manager. Highlighting keywords can help get your resume past screening software or recruitment bots.

DON’T: Lie about or exaggerate your accomplishments. Integrity and ethics are a very integral and important aspect of your professional life.

75% of HR Managers Have Caught a Lie on a Resume. 92% of talent professionals say soft skills matter as much or more than hard skills when they hire.

  1. Follow a recent-to-past timeline

DO: Ensure your current and most recent roles are on the first page. Showcase how your two most recent two jobs are relevant to the position you are applying to. Also, use section headers strategically to help them spot key information easily.

DON’T: Place your education above your experience, unless you are a fresher.

39% of HR managers spend less than a minute initially looking at a resume. 19% spend less than 30 seconds.

  1. Evoke an emotion with your personal brand


DO: Mention personal projects, hobbies, sports, or voluntary work that you participate in. Ensure to add contact details that include links to social media profiles and highlight your online presence to enhance your personal brand.  

DON’T: Mention activities that might stereotype you. Explaining anything in detail will take away the focus from the bottom-line: You. 

Research shows that even the most self-aware recruiters have unconscious biases.


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