The average HR professional spends only 6 seconds looking at a resume. That’s it! They spend less time than most people do to order a coffee deciding if a candidate should be called in for an interview.

What do they see in those 6 seconds to make them want to keep reading?

If you’re looking for a new employment opportunity, you’re likely wondering what you need to do to make your resume stand out.
By using 4 tips from expert recruiters, you’ll have the inside track on how to write a resume (or when you should collaborate with a professional) that gets noticed.

1. Highlight Your Achievements

According to experts, the best indicator of future success is your past performance. Simply stated, you need to set modesty aside, and share what made you stand out from other employees. Here are some examples of accomplishments you may consider adapting and including on your resume:

  •  How many years or quarters you surpassed sales quotas (this is even more impressive if you include a dollar amount or percentage)
  • Instances when you were selected for a special project, such as making a presentation, leading a project or creating a process
  • Any internal awards you received (include the reason you received the reward as well)
  • How and why you were selected for a promotion
  • Your role in securing a key relationship or client account
  • Unique achievements (e.g. being selected to train team members on a new process/system or representing the organization at a trade show or conference)

When you include previous positions, you should highlight your achievements in every role. Through clever resume optimization strategies, you can include various ways of how you helped the previous business grow. In some cases, resumes have full sections dedicated to achievements on the first page to attract attention from recruiters and hiring managers.

2. Speaking the Same Language

Submitting a resume that a recruiter does understand will not help your cause. For many positions, there may be hundreds of applicants competing with you. If the recruiter has trouble understanding the terminology in your (or you have spelling or grammatical errors in the document), they will stop reading. It is important that you match your tone and terminology to align with a recruiter and hiring manager’s expectations. Your resume should use language that is appropriate to the industry, and it should be formatted to make it easy for recruiters and hiring managers to find important information (e.g. your education and relevant skills).
You can also include keywords through resume optimization. This strategy will entice recruiters and hiring managers to keep reading your resume much longer than 6 seconds because you have used appropriate terminology and included relevant information.

3. Include Relevant Past Work Experiences

One common mistake many applicants make is that they include every role they’ve ever had on their resume. While including a lot of positions does demonstrate your professional experience, it may not impress a recruiter. Instead, consider how and if a previous position relates to the role you’re applying for before you include it.
For example, if you were in a medical sales role prior to pursuing a career as a personal trainer, you may not include this experience in great detail because it is not directly related to your new career direction. Apply this strategy to jobs you had several years ago (e.g. most recruiters and hiring managers wouldn’t be too impressed by the fact I worked at a snack bar in high school).

4. Get a Resume Written Professionally

Writing about yourself is not easy! Add in the extra pressure that your resume is one of your most valuable and influential documents that, if written well, can open the door to a new job opportunity. For these reasons, turning to a resume writing expert with years of experience may serve you better than trying to take on this daunting task yourself.

Some resume services can include a cover letter. A cover letter can give a recruiter a better understanding of who you are, and show them how well you can communicate why they should consider you for this position.

A resume and cover letter should complement each other; they should also be customized to the position you’re applying for to achieve the best results.

If you’re looking for a new position, choosing a resume writer should be one of your first steps. Partnering with an experienced resume writer may be the best investment in yourself (and your career) that you’ll ever make!


The Write Approach has experience supporting clients in different industries: