Employers use resumes throughout the hiring process to learn more about applicants and whether they might be a good fit. Your resume should be easy to read, summarize your accomplishments and skills, and highlight relevant experience. Below are tips to shortlist your resume every time.
Look for keywords in the job postings
The best place to start when preparing to write a resume is to carefully read the job postings that interest you. As you apply for different jobs, you should study each job description for keywords that show what the employer is looking for in an ideal candidate. Include those keywords in your resume where relevant. Keywords are really crucial to shortlist your resume.
For example, if you’re applying for a job as a medical billing coder, an employer might list keywords like “coding,” “claims submission,” “compliance” or “AR management” in the job description. Pay particular attention to anything listed in the sections labeled “Requirements” or “Qualifications.” If you have the skills that employers are looking for, you can add these same terms to your resume in the experience or skills sections.
Use a professional font
Because employers have only a short time to review your resume, it should be as clear and as easy to read as possible. You should use a basic, clean font like Arial or Times New Roman. Keep your font size between 10 and 12 points. Selecting a clear, readable font will definitely help to shortlist your resume.
You should also make sure to reduce or eliminate any extraneous whitespace. Too much blank space might make your resume seem sparse, distracting the audience and possibly raising a red flag. By reducing extra white space, you make it easier for the resume reader to focus only on the content of your resume instead of the white spaces. You can reduce white space by increasing your font size to 12 points and possibly adding an additional, optional section like “Skills” or “Awards and Achievements.”
Include only the most relevant information
While you might have extensive work or educational experience, it’s important to keep your resume as brief as possible without leaving out key information. Hiring managers don’t spend a lot of time reading each resume. Research has shown that hiring managers tend to spend only 6 seconds per resume. If your resume includes old or irrelevant information, such as jobs held over 10 years ago or minor degrees and achievements, it may distract from key information.
Try to include only work experience, achievements, education and skills most relevant to the employer. You can find the most relevant attributes by closely reading the job posting. You should prioritize important information higher on your resume to draw attention to key skills and achievements.
Highlight important achievements
Instead of listing your job duties under the experience section, select your top three or four most important achievements in each role you’ve held. Where possible, include numbers that measure your success for that particular goal or achievement. You might also consider including a separate “Achievements” or “Skills” section to specifically highlight relevant achievements in your education, career, volunteer work or other experiences.
Before sending your resume, you should undergo several rounds of proofreading to ensure there are no spelling or grammar errors. While there are several proofreading programs and tools you can use, it is also helpful to ask trusted friends or colleagues to review your resume. It is helpful for an objective third party to look at your resume as an employer might find ways you can correct or improve it.