Would you show up to an interview dressed in old, tattered clothing, scruffy hair and smudged makeup to make a great first impression for a job interview? Of course not! Then why are so many candidates allowing a poorly written and formatted resume to make a first impression on their behalf during the screening process?

According to an eye-tracking study conducted back in 2018, a resume has approximately seven seconds to make a good or bad impression on a recruiter or hiring manager, so you need to ensure the following if you’d like to be on the good side of those seven seconds!

  1. Formatting

Carefully ensure that you have the same fonts and appropriate font sizes across the entire document, and bold/italics are used in the right context. Headings should be consistent across all sections outlining your experience, ensure that grammar is used correctly, and also ensure your spell check hasn’t ‘corrected’ anything to American versions of the word.

  1. Add a photo

This is a great way to quickly make a connection with the person that is screening your application, however if you have a photo that doesn’t represent you professionally, it can very quickly do the opposite of ‘making a connection’. That means no selfies, no inappropriate shots, and no photos with your partner or best friend cropped out! 

  1. Order of previous positions

Reverse chronological order is extremely important! You must list your most recent position FIRST and work your way back. Most recruiters expect this order, and if you have your resume the wrong way around, you risk people assuming that the two years at your local fish and chip shop back when you were 15, is actually the job you’ll be leaving for the opportunity you’ve applied for.

  1. Length of the document

Short and sweet is key here. If you have worked for big brands with an instantly recognisable industry name and standard, you don’t need to go into a huge amount of detail about what you did in your time with them, recruiters will be able to make that connection themselves and in these circumstances you should be able to keep your CV to one page. But if you’ve worked for smaller/more independent businesses, you’ll need to go into a little more detail about the roles, so two pages would be acceptable.

  1. Bullet points

Recruiters will not pay much attention to long winded sentences in a resume. Make your point in the punchiest, fastest way possible, by putting your skills in dot-point format. This allows the recruiter to work through your resume with more of a ‘checklist’ mindset, and if you’ve carefully made sure the dot points match the skills required for the position, that checklist mindset will work in your favour.   

  1. Make it accessible

By uploading your resume to a ‘job seeker’ profile on sites like HeadHunter, you allow recruiters to come looking for you. Making a generalised and translatable version of your resume will take some of the work out of you managing your job search, as many recruiters are using services that allow them to ‘browse’ talent without necessarily waiting for applications to come to them. Make sure your uploaded resume will appeal to the industry as a whole for these types of circumstances.