Three Must Read Tips for Your Resume to Stand Out in 2016

By Bob Evans
In May 4, 2016

Remember the days when a hiring manager would read over your entire resume in order to decide whether or not you were a good candidate for a job? Yeah, I cannot remember those days either—and as time goes on, they are spending less and less time looking at candidate resumes, if they even see them at all.

In this week’s “Three for Thursday” article, the staff here at NexGoal examines the increasingly flooded world of resumes for hiring managers. As a candidate, your resume has become just “part of the field” thanks to online applications and applicant tracking systems.

This has led to hiring managers spending even less time reading resumes than ever before, in fact according to a recent study conducted by The Ladders, hiring managers and recruiters are spending just six seconds reviewing resumes. Yes you read that correctly, six seconds.

In an era of hiring managers being flooded with applicants, the time spent on a resume to determine if a candidate was qualified or not for the job fell from a self-reported number of four to five minutes (according to the study) to just six seconds. This was an incredible difference, but it makes a lot of sense when you look at the heat maps in the study on the resume.

Right about now you are probably wondering, how can I make my resume stand out if they are only spending six seconds reviewing it? Well don’t worry, because that is exactly what this article and “Three for Thursday” are for. We polled our team here at NexGoal, and these are their three suggestions.

Take Your Contact Game to the Next Level

Contact information is ingrained in our brains when it comes to a resume. Candidates were taught to put their name, address, phone number and email address at the top of the page so a hiring manager or recruiter can easily find the information. But today, that is simply not enough.

Contact Section

Job seekers need to make their contact section more appealing.

For starters, you need to make that email address a hyperlink so the person doing the hiring can simply click it to send you an email if they are interested. You may think this is a laziness factor on the side of the hiring manager and that they should be able to copy and paste, but remember you are the one applying—so anything you can do to stand out can only help your chances. When they see the blue link, they know it is clickable. And the best thing? When you type your email address into word and hit space, it automatically does it for you!

Aside from making it easier to click that email address, you should include a link to your LinkedIn profile at the top that is clickable as well. While reading a resume may seem daunting to some hiring managers, many of them have been trained to know where everything is on your LinkedIn account—so put that link on the page.

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Align Your Resume with the Job Posting

A common mistake made by job seekers is mass applying for jobs with the same resume. In the day and age of computer software systems reviewing your resume before a hiring manager does, technology may be holding you back. For example, if the job posting says a company is looking for three years of B2B sales and you have that experience at a previous job, make sure it says B2B sales on your resume. You may have it written out as Business to Business on your resume, but if the hiring manager put it in as “B2B” for the software to scan, you could be getting shut out.

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Primarily, this means you need to analyze your entire resume for each job you apply for. Sure, it means more work on your end—but if you really want the job, you need to take your resume game to the next level to stand out in 2016.

Objectives are Out…Summaries are In

Remember when you needed to tailor your resume with an objective statement that made you “stand out” from the crowd? Well, hiring managers aren’t reading it anymore. Which makes sense since they are scanning the resume for six seconds before deciding if you are qualified or not.

Instead, many job seekers are replacing that objective statement with a short summary. The summary includes current or most recent job title, job history, career achievements, years of experience and more. One example found in our research was, “Director of Inventory Planning & Management. Branch Manager 9 years in Progressive Roles with Large Regional Chains. Financial Responsibility to $35M.”

When you read that example, it should be easy to see what belongs in a summary. If you think about the way a job posting is created, many of them put an emphasis on years of experience, ability to handle accounts of “X” size and size of companies dealt with. This person’s summary has all of this, so a hiring manager knows right away that this particular candidate meets the initial requirements he or she is looking for.

Final Word

Standing out in today’s online application world is not the easiest task for job seekers. With systems that make it easy to apply for many jobs at once with the click of a button, it seems that the job seekers who take the time to tailor their resumes to a specific job instead of mass jobs are the ones who are getting to the hiring manager.

What does this mean for you? Simply put, you need to put in the time and effort if you want to land the job or career of your dreams. As former athletes, this is nothing new to you—if you want to win, you need to prepare. So start preparing your application the 2016 way if you want to land the job!

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Bob is the Digital Content, Marketing Manager for NexGoal and has been writing in the digital world for 10-plus years.