College Central®

Ask around. The Network works.®

Career Corner
How To Create A Better Résumé In 20 Minutes

Anish Majumdar, CPRW -- Understanding how résumés get evaluated in today's competitive market can result in a markedly improved résumé and more job interviews.

Many job seekers make the mistake of assuming, upon applying for positions and not hearing anything back, that they're simply not a good fit. As a Career Expert and Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) who's worked with top-level professionals, I can tell you that this is rarely the case.

Most of the time, the problem stems from not truly understanding how a résumé gets evaluated in today's competitive marketplace and making the proper adjustments.

Here are 3 steps you can implement, taking less than 20 minutes total, that will result in a markedly improved résumé and more job interviews:

Step 1: Insert the exact title of the job you're applying for at the start of the résumé.
Time Required: 5 minutes or less

Job seekers will often try to create an all-encompassing "title" for themselves to begin the résumé. What they don't realize is that this simple little action accounts for an astonishing number of rejected applications!

Often times, the first pair of "eyes" scanning your document will be an Applicant Tracking System such as Taleo or Kenexa. Unless your résumé contains the EXACT TITLE of the job you're applying for, in boldface, right at the top of the résumé, there's no way for the software to figure out what you want. Without this information, it will tend to either mis-file or outright reject your candidacy.

Step 2: Make sure the first position listed on your résumé is relevant to the type of job you're seeking.
Time Required: 5 minutes or less

First impressions are critical to a successful résumé, particularly when a typical recruiter or hiring agent spends less than 30 seconds on a first pass. Unless the first job he or she sees in the "Professional Experience" section is DIRECTLY RELEVANT to what you're seeking, it will often be rejected. Luckily, there is a quick fix for this.

If the first job listed on your résumé is non-relevant, replace it with a 2-3 line "Career Note" that briefly outlines what you did and provides the name of your employer and dates employed. Then immediately move on to a relevant position and describe responsibilities and accomplishments in greater detail.

Step 3: Strip away all extraneous formatting, logos, and graphics.
Time Required: 10 minutes or less

While you may think that adding visual flourishes to your résumé is an easy way to stand out, the opposite is actually true. Every extra logo, graphic or bit of extraneous formatting is an error waiting to happen when your document is scanned by Applicant Tracking Systems. Furthermore, visual flourishes tend to prevent most recruiters and hiring agents from quickly assessing your value as a candidate (not a good thing). Be ruthless when it comes to simplifying your résumé and remember: if it doesn't succeed based on CONTENT, it doesn't succeed, period.

Anish Majumdar, CPRW is a Career Expert and founder of 98% of clients report a significant increase in interviews within 30 days and all work comes backed by a 110% Satisfaction or Money Back Guarantee. Submit your résumé for a free critique at today!

© 2012 Anish Majumdar, CPRW

Return to top

The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of College Central Network, Inc. or its affiliates. Reference to any company, organization, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by College Central Network, Inc., its affiliates or associated companies. The information provided is not intended to replace the advice or guidance of your legal, financial, or medical professional.