4 Ways You Can Tell Your Resume Is Passing the First Impression Test

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As soon as a hiring manager lays eyes on your resume, they start to form an immediate impression of you, which plays a major role in whether they decide to go further with your application. So, what type of message are you sending? Is it compelling enough to make the hiring manager want more? 

According to Psychology Today, it takes merely seven seconds to make a first impression. Therefore, it’s crucial to craft a resume that makes an impact and gets you the results you desire. How do you do that?  

Below are four ways to know if your resume is good enough to pass that vital first impression test, along with tips on how to minimize its chances of ending up in the trash can. If you want a professional to craft a top-notch resume for you, consider our resume-writing services.

1. You hear back from recruiters

You shouldn't expect to hear back on every job you've applied for, but if it's been a while since anyone has contacted you, you may want to re-evaluate your resume. If you’re constantly being ignored, there’s probably a reason for it. 

A good start is to check whether you're using keywords. If you’re not, your resume may not even be making it through the applicant tracking systems (ATSs) and, therefore, not getting in front of hiring managers. Since companies receive so many job applications, it’s become commonplace to use ATSs to narrow down the pool to the most relevant resumes. Since these algorithms rely largely on keywords to determine the relevance of a candidate, great resumes that don’t incorporate the right words can easily get tossed aside.     

Keywords should be a critical part of your resume if you want to stand out in today’s competitive job market. To choose the right ones, study carefully the job description and tailor your resume with keywords from it that apply to you and your skills. You’ll want to optimize your resume with the relevant keywords for each job you apply for since even similar positions will require different keywords.

2. Your resume is results-oriented

It’s not enough to list your impressive education, skills, and work experience and leave it at that. Companies want to know what you have to offer them. To make that point, give them proof of your accomplishments and the ways in which they have helped the companies where you’ve previously worked. 

Don’t list your responsibilities in previous jobs—that only shows what you were tasked with, not how well you performed. List numbers, percentages, and statistics wherever you can to truly quantify your worth and show the hiring manager how valuable you can be to their company.

For example, note that you cut costs by 15% or that you led a team that doubled the number of repeat customers for a previous employer, as well as how you achieved that. Make the hiring manager feel confident that, if hired, you can move the needle for their organization.

3. Your resume mirrors your online persona 

With social media platforms being as ubiquitous as they are, it's almost a given that recruiters will google your name after going over your resume to try to learn more about you. This is common practice nowadays, so there’s no use fighting it—instead, make sure what they find is appealing and professional. 

Go through your social media profiles and get rid of (or at least set to private) any posts that don't represent you in a positive light. Ask yourself if what you've shared is something you'd want a future employer to see. If you've uploaded angry, negative, or controversial posts, delete them. Wild party pictures won’t make you look like a star employee, either. Also, don’t forget to check what posts and pictures you’re tagged in, and remove the tags if necessary.

While you're at it, make sure your LinkedIn profile is updated and polished. This is considered the most important social media platform in your online arsenal, so get it in fighting form. In addition to a complete profile boasting endorsements from others, you’ll also want a professional-looking profile picture. You can tweak your other social media profiles as well—Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.—to appear more professional, with posts that indicate your intelligence, ambition, and professionalism.

4. Your goals and qualifications are clear

Ask a friend or a family member to have a quick glance at your resume. Can they tell right away what you're all about? Are your career goals, skills, and experience evident to them, or is it difficult for them to make sense of what you’ve written?

If your resume is confusing to a friend, a recruiter will also likely see it as difficult to understand and not worth their time. In fact, they will probably find it even more confusing since your friends and relatives already know a lot about you. So, if your resume is too complicated and hard to understand, your job is to simplify it. Make it concise, easy to scan, and quick to communicate why you're the best person for the job. Put the most important information front and center to spark interest and stick to a conventional format that makes it easy for a busy hiring manager to skim through it.

A good way to do this is to include a career summary at the top of your resume where you highlight your most impressive qualifications and skills in one or two sentences. Make it easy to see what you bring to the table. Recruiters will often discard resumes that don’t get them hooked in the first few seconds, but if you can create a positive impression in a couple of sentences, they’re much more likely to give you a chance.

In summary

Given the intense competition for great jobs, it’s crucial to make your resume work for you—otherwise, it’ll be hard to rise to the top of the candidate pool. Use these tips as you craft your resume so that it captures the attention of a recruiter in those critical seven seconds and doesn’t end up in the trash.  If you don't want to take any chances, get our seasoned resume writers to do the heavy lifting for you!

Improve Your Resume or CV