How to use your resume to grab an employer’s attention

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Sep 09

According to a recent Hire Right article, over 95 percent of large companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) that automatically screens out 75 percent of applicants. So having a properly formatted and well-written resume is the key to grabbing an employer’s attention and to avoid getting phased out.

If you’re on the hunt for a job and need to update your resume, you should know what employers will be looking for. Below explains four ways that will improve both your resume and chances of getting hired at your next job.

Action Words

Many job seekers explain their previous jobs through bland role descriptions. Instead, use specific action verbs to describe your skills and detail your successes. Consider grouping every job duty with a specific skill. For example, someone who just received a Rutgers online Masters in public administration could explain their communication, organizational, and leadership skills they developed through descriptive action words.

Likewise, if you have a degree in social studies or communication, use descriptions to show you know how to work with people, are adept at analyzing, and can think on your feet. Action words will be more noticeable and if they match with the same ones used in the job description, you could be a good match right away.

Quantify your accomplishments through using specific numbers. For example, instead of just describing financial responsibilities, provide numerical details of the budgets you worked with. Make sure to specify and use dates, numbers, and quantities to put your past experience in easy perspective for an employer.

Personalize your Resume

The majority of job seekers tend to list their interests and hobbies at the bottom of the resume and some HR professionals feel this informal, personal information is irrelevant to the hiring process. However, sharing unique personal hobbies and interests are an excellent way to strike an emotional chord with the resume reader and connect to the company culture.

Consider sharing interests that highlight your passion, talents, and accomplishments. For example, being active in sports and engaged in the community are excellent things to share on any resume and can show your leadership, organization, or artistic skills. Learn how to use your hobbies to your advantage during the interview process as well, where you can connect on a personal level and highlight your skills.

Customize your Resume

Instead of firing off the same resume to every job opening, consider creating customized resumes that highlight specific skills, knowledge, and core competencies that relate to the position. This will allow a job seeker to apply for different job titles in many different industries.

Research the target company’s website or social media site and integrate key terms and buzzwords into your resume if possible. Use their job descriptions to put it matching action words, and highlight skills on your resume they found important enough to list as qualifications. It might help them see how good a match you are for their company.

Highlight Formal Education

Formal education is one of the main factors HR professionals look at when reviewing resumes. Most job hunters simply state their university name, degree title, and years attended. In fact, education experience is often listed at the bottom of the resume, where it is hard to see. Instead, consider highlighting your formal education at the top with key details of your academic experience. For example, one could list major projects and important classes completed and what experience they gained from them.

In conclusion, job seekers can improve their resume effectiveness through using action words, highlighting their formal education, and personalizing and customizing their resume.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.


About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.

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