“Many might have experienced the unpleasant surprise of being rejected for a position that they felt confident that they were qualified for. When this happens, it is most likely because their resume was not business-oriented enough for the recruiter to assess their competence correctly. As recruiters, we read many resumes each day and it can be challenging to gain in-depth insight into every company, their performance and how the candidate has contributed to this development. If you connect the dots between your deliveries and the business results, it will be much easier for recruiters to understand what competence you possess and whether this competence is relevant for the role, ” says Kristian Krohn-Holm, Head of Talent Acquisition at Kvant.
Many get caught up in the idea that resumes should be written within a predefined framework. A common example of this is thinking that they should not exceed one page. However, they do not necessarily need to be kept short in order to be concise. Think of your resume as a common thread in the interview process. The most important things you wish to express in an interview should be reflected in your resume with a certain depth. It is not sufficient to exclusively stick to bullet points or keywords. Keep in mind that the context is not necessarily intuitive for others who read it, such as recruiters. Based on this, you should always offer substance in every statement made in your resume - concretize what it is that actually makes you solution-oriented, a good team player, independent or a leader type. Without justifying such claims, they merely seem meaningless. Provide the employer with a realistic representation of your qualities by using measurable pinpoints. These could be hard facts, stating specific results - do not hesitate to use KPIs or figures that support your achievements.
You cannot expect that a recruiter knows everything about every single company, including their internal structure and challenges. Feel free to provide information about your current workplace's goals, an overview of who the team consists of, what the development has been like and what results you have contributed to. In addition to presenting the company and your department, make sure that you inform the recruiter about your individual achievements, not only collective team achievements. This will not only save the recruiter time by not having to search for information about the company, but it will also paint a comprehensive picture of how experienced you are as a candidate. Additionally, it reflects the actual differences you have made in your current or previous workplace. Backup your results and maintain a substance in every statement made in your resume. It will not be sufficient to write that you "have experienced working under pressure" without explaining what caused the pressure. Tell us what you did to handle it.
Myths about the resume layout
Feel free to include an Executive Summary in the first paragraph of your resume, and distribute this paragraph as a sales pitch. This section should be adapted to each position you apply for, so that every recruiter quickly can get an impression of why you might be suitable for the role. Furthermore, you should list your key takeaways, but that does not mean that you should only use keywords. It is merely a myth that resumes should be limited to one page only. Make sure to write a thorough explanation under each professional experience and each result that you list, in order to tailor the resume to the specific position that you apply for. Anything else is irrelevant and should be removed in order to keep it concise.
Despite the fact that a list format serves as a concise presentation of previous experiences, results and completed education, you should avoid reusing a standard resume for every position you apply for. Adapt it to each role in the same way as you adapt your cover letter, to make sure that you successfully communicate why you are a good match for the role in question.
- Executive Summary → Sales pitch about yourself
- Bullet points → Include KPIs / targets. Make sure that you provide substance to the overview of completed projects. Write about what you learned from each one of them, including certifications etc.
- There is no need for a section about your private life outside of work. If you wish to include it, keep it very short, unless it is applicable for the role. Filter out noise. Customize your resume and keep the content relevant at all times
- Focus on specific results and explain what part you have taken in the company's success
In terms of the resume layout, the most important thing is that it is easy to read. Thus, the use of a list format can be useful, as long as you provide substance to each bullet point. However, you should avoid too much coherent text - provide complementary, but concise, information. Ultimately, the appearance of the resume is highly considered a hygiene factor. It can secure a good first impression, but it should not be over exaggerated - concise and relevant information combined with a thorough overview are the most important factors.