Having a well-crafted résumé can be the key to getting your foot in the door at the company of your dreams. But figuring out how to make your résumé fully representative of your experience and also stand out is easier said than done. After all, hiring managers and recruiters generally only spend about seven seconds reading your résumé before deciding whether to move forward or not. Most people know the basics of how to put together a decent work history, but here are some tips you probably haven’t heard before that can help your résumé stand up to the seven-second test.
1. Only include your address if it works in your favor
If you’re applying for positions in the city or town you already live in, then go ahead and include your address. In this case, it lets the hiring manager know you’re already in the area and could theoretically start working right away.
But if you’re targeting jobs in another area and you’d need to move in order to start working, it’s probably a good idea to leave your current address off of your résumé. Why? Recruiters are sometimes less excited to interview candidates from another city or state, since they often require relocation fees.
2. Be a name-dropper
It may be poor form to drop names in everyday life, but you absolutely should do it on your résumé. If you’ve worked with well-known clients or companies, go ahead and include them by name. Something like: “Closed deals with Google, Toyota, and Bank of America” will get recruiters’ attention in no time flat.
3. Utilize your performance reviews
You might not think to look to your annual review for résumé material, but checking out the positive feedback you’ve received in years past can help you identify your most noteworthy accomplishments and best work attributes—two things that should definitely be highlighted on your résumé. Including specific feedback you’ve received and goals you’ve met can help you avoid needing to use “fluff” to fill out your work experience.
4. Don’t go overboard with keywords
Many companies and recruiters use keyword-scanning software as a tool to narrow the job applicant pool. For this reason, it’s important to include keywords from the job description in your résumé—but don’t go overboard. Recruiters can spot “keyword stuffing” a mile away.
5. Use common sense email etiquette
There are two types of email addresses you shouldn’t use on your résumé or when applying to a job via email: your current work email address, or an overly personal or inappropriate email address, like firstname.lastname@example.org. Stick with something professional based on your name in order to make the best possible impression.
6. When it comes to skills, quality over quantity
There’s no need to list skills that most people in the job market have (Think: Microsoft Office, email, Mac, and PC proficient), which can make it look like you’re just trying to fill up space on the page. Keep your skills section short, and only include impactful skills that are relevant to the job you’re applying to.
7. Choose to share social accounts strategically
Including links to social media accounts on a résumé is becoming more and more common. But it’s important to distinguish between professional accounts—like a LinkedIn profile or Instagram account you manage for work—and nonprofessional ones, like your personal Twitter or Facebook account. While it might be tempting to include a personal account in order to show recruiters who you are, you’re better off only listing accounts that are professionally focused. Save your winning personality for an in-person interview.
8. Use hobbies to your advantage
Not all hobbies deserve a place on your résumé, but some do. Hobbies that highlight positive personality qualities or skills that could benefit you on the job are worth including. For example, running marathons (shows discipline and determination) and blogging about something related to your field (shows creativity and genuine interest in your work) are hobbies that will cast you in the best possible light and might pique a recruiter’s interest.
9. Skip generic descriptors
Hardworking, self-motivated, self-sufficient, proactive, and detail-oriented are all words you’ll find on most people’s résumés. But most job seekers are motivated and hardworking, so these traits don’t really set you apart from the rest of the applicant pool. Instead, focus on the specific skills and accomplishments that make you different from everyone else applying to the position.
10. Keep an accomplishment journal
Keeping a log of your work accomplishments and positive feedback as they come up can make putting together or updating your résumé significantly easier. Include as many details as possible so you don’t have to spend time tracking them down later.