A lot has changed in the workplace over the years. But, when it comes to getting a job, most employers are still going to ask you to submit a resume first. An employer may have just a few resumes to review, or a few hundred! In fact, on average, hiring manager and recruiters look at a resume for an average of six seconds before deciding to pass or move forward. With that said, in a stack full of names, it’s important to make yours rise above the rest in order to land an interview. Luckily, by adhering to a few simple guidelines, you can do just that.

It starts with an objective…right?

Once upon a time, every resume started with the objective. But, if you’re still plopping an old-fashioned objective sentence at the top of the first page, you’re wasting a lot of valuable real estate on the front page of your resume! The first page of a resume is your opportunity to hook the reader. When sifting through page after page, paragraph upon paragraph, recruiters and hiring managers really want is for you to cut to the chase.

Having a specific objective can also limit your opportunities within the company. If it doesn’t align with the job description (or how the hiring manager views the job description), it may seem as though you don’t understand the scope of the position. It may also prevent the recruiter from reaching out to you about other potential opportunities if the objective is too narrow.

What should I include first?

So the question remains, if you omit the objective section, what should you fill that prime space with? Noting your education at the top of the page is a great choice as recruiters will be looking for this information first. If you have any professional accreditations or credentials, such as PE, FE, or EIT, then include this information high up on your first page as well. Internships should also be clearly stated.

Give it a personal touch!

Although it’s important, your resume shouldn’t just be entirely technical. To really stand out, you want to put a personal touch on your resume. To achieve this, it can be helpful to include an “About Me” section or a short personal bio. While some might defer to using a cover letter, these can be lengthy and are sometimes overlooked. A few short sentences that introduce yourself and differentiate you from the pack can be enough to make a difference.

Format to be easy on the eyes.

Regarding formatting, keep it simple, legible, and clear. Use bullets and margins to separate important information like internships, education, and credentials/certifications. Those with more experience may have a number of projects and details to share. Be sure to list the company, years worked on, and the names of each project. You may include additional project details, but keep them concise and use bullets where possible. If you want to include extensive information on each project, it can be helpful to direct recruiters and hiring managers to a separate portfolio – either online or printed and/or bound.

Get LinkedIn.

Finally, don’t forget to update your professional presence online. If you have a LinkedIn account, be sure it is current. If you don’t currently have a LinkedIn account, you should create one and complete your profile. This is likely your first impression on recruiters and hiring managers so be sure to make it a good one.

Writing a good resume isn’t rocket science, but it is an important first step in getting your foot in the door at the right company. Taking consideration into making your resume informative, easy-to-read, and personalized will make a huge difference in catching the attention of recruiters and hiring managers. By following these simple guidelines, you’ll be landing interviews left and right!

For more information on RS&H careers, visit our website, or reach out to Wanda directly.

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About the author

Wanda Luong
Wanda Luong
As our Talent Acquisition Manager, Wanda enjoys helping to shape RS&H culture while making connections that create opportunities for new associates.