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Before we begin, let’s clarify the title of this blog. Due to the competitiveness of today’s job market, recruiters and hiring managers typically spend on average 6 seconds looking at a resume. In these 6 seconds, they decide whether to contact you or to trash the application.

This is why we have developed a list of tips to help you get the best impression within the first 6 seconds.

1. Format for visual appeal

**Note: Not all professions & industries allow for creativity outside of the standard resume format. If you work in a creative field, then it is more acceptable.

When we say visual appeal, we don’t always mean adding graphics to your resume, unless you’re a graphic designer. However, you don’t have to be a graphic designer to make your resume look unique and creative. Try using a different font other than Times New Roman. Stay away from silly fonts, like Comic Sans, and make sure it’s still a professional font. You can even add a touch of subtle color to the headers, like navy blue or dark green. Stick with a small amount of dark colors for a subtle effect because vibrant colors will distract the reader.

If you feel like you’re not that creative, search online for creative resumes ideas as a starting point for your resume.

2. Change Objective Statement into Summary

The hiring manager already knows why you are applying to the job. So instead of stating your objective to applying to the job, summarize your value. Write 1-2 sentences about your experience and how it makes you a valuable hire.

3. Keywords & Buzzwords

Refresh the phrasing on your job descriptions by using buzzwords from your industry or keywords found on the job description. Research industry buzzwords by reviewing multiple job posts for similar positions to pick out these different terms. See our 5 Steps to Tailor your Resume to the Job blog for more tips.

4. Include Measurables

Hiring managers don’t want to just see what you did at your past positions. They want to know what you accomplished. Many hiring managers can attest that seeing numbers, percentages, and statistics of what you accomplished is more impressive and stands out more than a description of your job. For example, “increased sales by 32%” or “added 100 new subscribers to distribution list within a month.” This is more impressive than “managed a sales division for a magazine.”

5. Free of Mistakes & Clutter

The very second a hiring manager notices an error in spelling, grammar, or even punctuation it’s “Game Over.” When you have an error on your resume, it tells the hiring manager that you don’t care to proofread and it allows them to easily bypass your resume. Always proofread!

Clutter somewhat goes back to the first tip of visual appeal. Overall, you want your resume to be readable. This is incredibly important, since the likelihood of getting an interview depends on the hiring manager’s approval of your resume. Make sure it’s clean and neat rather than blown out of proportion for the sake of getting the hiring manager’s attention.

6. Follow Instructions

Last, but not least, always follow the instructions of the application or hiring manager. If a hiring manager asks for a text-only file versus a PDF file of your resume, then you really should follow those directions. If you disobey an instruction, you can say goodbye to the job.


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