40+ Online Resume Tips From Hiring Experts That’ll Help You Win Your Job Search•
Did you know that 73% of job seekers today start their job search on Google? And just think, most job seekers typically have multiple versions of their resume uploaded to multiple different places, whether that’s on Linkedin, Indeed, Monster, etc. … so just imagine how many resumes are floating around on the interwebs right now!
Anyways, the point I’m trying to make is that a lot of the job hunt is happening online nowadays. And while we’ve shared a few articles already that cover different parts of the modern job search process, from:
- resume tips for when you have no experience
- 4 top interview tips from hiring managers
- how to find your dream job
- questions to ask about company culture
- and a bunch of others…
We’ve yet to round up a big list of our favorite online resume tips that would be useful to anyone wanting to find a job online today (The closest we’ve done is one of our most successful posts to date, The Ultimate Guide to Linkedin Best Practices for Job Seekers). So that’s what we’re doing in this article.
Instead of coming up with a list on our own, we turned to a bunch of hiring pros (who screen tons of online resumes on a regular basis) for their expert insight. More specifically, we asked over 20 hiring managers and resume experts – “What are your best online resume tips that’ll help job seekers win the job search?”
When you’re sending your resume online, it’s important to understand that reader probably won’t see all of page one on their screen. Job seekers can
use this knowledge to advantage against their competition by using the top half of page one to give their readers the information the readers want to
Research has shown that recruiters and hiring managers are *most interested* in candidates who have experience that is relevant to the job they need to fill. To maximize space to provide that information right away:
1. Share your email address, phone number, and LinkedIn URL in one line.
Example: firstname.lastname@example.org | XXX.XXX.XXXX | linkedin.com/in/donnasvei
2. Use a headline that calls out your relevant experience.
Example: Culture Change | Leadership Development | Inclusiveness
3. Write a two or three-line paragraph below your headline that summarizes your relevant experience.
Then go directly to your Professional Experience section and your current/most recent position. Give a brief description of the company you work for, your title and related employment dates, a summary of your responsibilities, your team size (if you manage people), and your direct reporting relationship. Then list three to five bullet points that describe your accomplishments.
This approach makes it easy for your reader to understand your experience and how to contact you. You aren’t confusing them with information they don’t care about, but your competition is. Many people fill the top half of page one with information their readers don’t care about or believe. Thus, your resume floats to the top as a qualified candidate who knows how to organize and present information.
Who would you want to interview and hire?
-Donna Svei, Founder of Avid Careerist, Executive Resume & LinkedIn Profile Writer, Interview Coach
Go beyond listing the functions you perform.
Differentiate yourself by curating a list of very specific accomplishments that qualify the claims you make about your skills. Put that list toward the top of the page, so it will catch the employer’s eye.
And start off your resume with a brief, first-person narrative that tells employers who you are and what you do.
-Lynda Spiegel, a 14-year HR professional and Founder of Rising Star Resumes, a job search and resume service.
I’ve been a hiring manager for ESPN and the CEO of a tech firm for eight years. During that time, I’ve seen my fair share of resumes and 90% of them might as well be a blank sheet of paper. What applicants fail to realize is that in our litigious society, referrals are nearly worthless.
What I need to see is work samples, and I need some demonstrative proof that the applicant actually performed the work in the work samples.
In a one-page resume (yes, that’s still crucial), fitting in work samples can be difficult, but an online resume allows for hyperlinking, so applicants should take advantage of that.
Granted, demonstrating work samples is easier in some industries than others, but I’ve seen creative work samples for positions ranging from administrative assistants to software engineers and biz dev.
Most everything else is just noise. I want to see that you’re able to do what you say you can do.
-Cody Swann, CEO of Gunner Technology
After recruiting for 13 years and making thousands of resumes for candidates, here are a couple tips:
1) Its great to include small mini infograph sections if you are able to: A sphere with a slices of how strong you are in different software programs, a bar graph of your skills, etc. It has to be small and bold/catch the eye, but if you are not using a professional to create this, make sure it looks good, because if it doesn’t, it can hurt the online resume look.
2) Numerical Metrics are very important for the hiring authorities to see. Bullet point Accomplishments and Key Responsibilities under each company/job title. Make sure to include metric based accomplishments, as managers want to understand the ROI, the % increase, the revenue amount, etc. you were able to bring in.
-Daniel Miller, VP of Recruiting of Empowered Staffing
Your resume should be loaded with keywords related to the job or industry you are searching for a job in.
Employers are inundated with resumes from candidates, some of whom are suited to the role and others who aren’t a good fit at all. If you intend to post your resume online with the hope of a specific type of company finding you, the resume needs to be searchable.
Many employers use a database of third-party job posts and resume posting boards online to find the best resumes for their vacant roles, so the more relevant your CV’s content is to the job, the better chance you have of coming up in their searches.
It is best to use your personal statement at the top of your resume to include these keywords. For example, if you are looking to get a job as a graphic designer in the e-commerce field, begin with a sentence like: “Talented and creative graphic designer searching for an engaging new role in the world of e-commerce.”
-Steve Pritchard, HR Manager at Cuuver
I have successfully helped over 1,000 employees, interns and students create professional job search documents such as resumes, cover letters, elevator speeches, portfolios and LinkedIn profiles to obtain employment. Online resumes are the way of the future. When we change our resume from a two-dimensional piece of paper that is supposed to encompass everything you have to offer, to a digital resume with charts of your skill sets and pictures,your brand becomes tangible and people want to learn more.
With technology on the uprising and instant communication becoming a necessity, sending resumes through the mail will no longer cut it amongst the competition. Digital resumes make it easier for employers and recruiters to find YOU.
From sprucing up the actual resume with graphic photos and headlines or adding links to social media channels, there are plenty of ways you can embellish your resume and make it stand out more using online tools. These are ways to communicate your kind of personality and creativity to your employers, which is normally hard to do on a piece of paper. It will also show them that you’re tech-savvy, an essential asset for any employees, no matter what the field.
There are several different digital resume building platforms you can use to start creating your own brand that jumps out at recruiters and employers. Below are 3 free websites I recommend that can help students.
While you are probably already using LinkedIn, it is a great start forgetting your resume online, especially since it is so pervasive in the businessworld. This is a great start becausefrom here there are websites that use your LinkedIn profile to structure yourdigital resume and then add other aspects to make it really pop.
This site helps incorporate many different visual aspects into yourresume, specifically infographics. Theresumes on the site are not only appealing and attractive to look at, but theyquite literally jump out at you. I wouldfind it very hard to simply glance over these resumes.
This site gives users the option to login with their LinkedIn account and jazz up the information they already have with color, pictures, and a professional touch in a matter of minutes. You can also create online portfolios using this site. Portfolios and samples of your work are always a great way to wow recruiters and employers and with added visuals, they can not deny your preparedness and creativity.
It does not necessarily matter which platform you use as long as you find a way to best showcase your passions, goals, experiences, and skills. Be bold when you brand yourself, you want to stand out and show why you would be an asset to a company. Remember that writing a resume is a process. Have multiple people review,proofread, and edit. Take the time to give it that added flare by putting it online with creative visuals. Do everything you can to make sure you do not have that resume that ends up as a paper airplane in a recruiter’s hands that is headed straight for the trashcan.
-Jennifer Lee Magas, MA, JD, VP of Magas Media Consultants, LLC and Clinical Associate Professor of Public Relations at Pace University.
Keep in mind that the recruiter has probably seen dozens of resumes that day, all with the same format and simple design. Stand out by adding some cool design aspects that really make your resume stand out. Add a little colour to it, break up your information into small sections spread out instead of the standard grid overlay, use a unique font, consider handwriting a small personalized note either on the resume or cover letter.
Anything that will help your resume stand out and be remembered.
-Sean Fitzpatrick, President of TalentMap
Here are a few job search tips that may not be obvious:
1) If you decide to use a more artistic resume design instead of a traditional resume layout, it’s best to create your own instead of downloading a free template off the web. While it can be great to have infographics and pictures on your resume in certain industries, it’s counterproductive to copy a design you found online because the whole point of using an unconventional resume format is to showcase your creative talent. In fact, if you do copy a resume design online, some hiring managers may have already come across resumes using that exact same layout and deduct points due to your lack of creativity.
2) When you’re applying for an out-of-state job, or even an in-state job that would be a long commute for you, it can sometimes be a good idea to omit your exact address. If they know your address, some employers will see how far you are from their offices and decide that the hassle and expense of bringing you in for an on-site interview are not worth it. They might also believe that your work ethic and job satisfaction will be strongly impaired by a long commute, and conclude that someone else would be a better fit for the job. By leaving your exact address off your resume, you can wait until you really impress your potential employer before informing them of where you currently live.
3) Before you upload your resume to a job board or an e-mail, remember to include your full name in the name of the file containing your resume. For example, name the file John Doe – Resume.pdf instead of just Resume.pdf. While this may seem like a trivial matter, it saves recruiters and hiring managers the hassle of having to rename the file themselves, an annoyance that they will associate with you as a job candidate. It also shows that you are someone who pays attention to details and tries to make life easy for those you interact with, both of which are great traits for any employee.
-Peter Yang, Co-founder of ResumeGo, a company that offers professional CV and resume writing services.
A few of my best resume tips for job searching –
1. Use the online website rezscore.com to get an idea of how your resume measures up and to know if you need to make some major adjustments. This is really helpful for people who are stuck and just don’t know where to start with making changes to their resume, and it gives you some valuable insight as to how your resume measures up when it’s being run through online applicant tracking systems (ATS)
2. Make everything visually appealing to the online viewer. Space everything out nicely, don’t try to cram as much information as possible into each line. Be concise. There are lots of studies that suggest most hiring managers spend less than 1 minute reading an applicants resume – maximize what you’re saying to get the point across in 60 seconds or less. Messy resumes that are unpleasant to look at are way more likely to get tossed out.
3. Include links to any online portfolio, personal website, and social media accounts. If viewed online, this will allow a recruiter/hiring manager to click directly into seeing your best work, which could play a huge role in you getting the job!
-Valerie Streif, Senior Advisor with The Mentat, a San Francisco-based organization for job seekers
I’ve had an award winning recruitment firm for over a decade. After interviewing thousands of candidates, I realized most everyone is in the dark when it comes to what to write on a resume and worse yet, with a terrible resume, interviews become a rambling-out-of-body experience. 80% of resumes FAIL within 11 seconds.
So, I coined a magic formula that takes job seekers away from the long list of meandering bullets that describe functional responsibilities. I wrote about it in my Amazon best-selling book, “Hired! How To Get The Zippy Gig. Insider Secrets From A Top Recruiter”.
Here’s the two step resume formula that’s helped thousands of post secondary students land their new gig!
Step 1: Describe succinctly what was your role? By simply answering these three questions:
1. What level did you report to?
2. What is your role?
3. What is/was your scope?
Step 2: How well did you do your job? Answer these three questions:
1. How big?
2. How much?
3. How many?
Numbers and percentages help to showcase your results!
A future manager is hiring your past successes.
And, you know what the crazy thing is? When you walk into an interview, a hiring manager will ask a version of this question EVERY time:
1. Bring your resume to life for me. (That’s when panic starts for most candidates. GRIN).
2. Walk me through your resume.
3. Tell me about your current role, and previous and previous.
HERE’S THE CRAZY THING! When the above questions are asked, the hiring manager is after the answer to these 5 questions….BUT THEY DON’T ASK THEM!
We want to know:
1. What level did you report to?
2. What is/was your job?
3. How many other people did the same role?
4. Were you successful? Yes, what were your results.
5. And, lastly, why did you leave.
BOOM! That should look familiar! It’s the TWO STEP resume formula.
If you take the time to write your resume in the two step formula. You will ACE the interview!
–Sheila Musgrove, Founder & CEO of TAG Recruitment Group and Author of “Hired!”
Cut the sales fluff from your resume by removing adjectives.
A practical way to cut the sales talk and fluff is to remove adjectives. Especially multiple adjectives in a row. Replace them with accomplishments. Your accomplishments are unique to you and compelling to employers.
-Jessica Hernandez, President of Great Resumes Fast and an executive resume writer.
It’s tempting to think that resumes don’t matter anymore. Or, that the conventional resume is obsolete. After all, we’ve got professional websites, LinkedIn, video resumes, visual resumes, and infographic resumes. This is wishful thinking.
See, all these novelty resumes touted as the next best thing are mere gimmicks. When done right, they look great. But that’s about it. The harsh reality is that most openings attract so many candidates that the first step is to get rid of the vast majority of applications. It’s an automated process usually outsourced to applicant tracking systems. Robots don’t care for visual appeal. They just make sure you’re applying for the right job and you can do what the job requires.
Your graphics-heavy resume will never get past these binary gatekeepers. Video resumes? Never mind the legal caveats this topic requires — recruiters hardly spend more than a minute on reviewing your resume. Why would they want to leave their workflow, read your email, go online, struggle with their in-house proxy servers and website blockers, look your video up, and sit through five minutes of webcam footage? You want to make the recruiter’s job as easy as possible. But the goal is to make it as easy as possible for them to put you on their interview shortlist, not their rejection pile.
The tip is: Don’t look for creative ways to dazzle hiring managers. You need to stand out by penning the perfect resume for the job.
-Bart Turczynski, Resume Expert and Editor at Uptowork.com
Many struggle to start writing a resume, so a good place to start would be writing a master list on a word document.
It can be easy to initially get caught up in picking a template or CV layout. Instead, note down all your experience, skills and education and make sure that you include dates and locations in each category. This is a long process but it will be very useful to have one document with all your information, which you can access at any time.
I would also suggest that you update your master list regularly, ensuring that you constantly have a full record of your past work experience. From here, create a different document including the information related to the job you are applying for.
-Lexie Kadlec, Director of Enrollment Management at The Intern Group
If you can’t tailor your ‘goal’ or ‘summary’ statement to align with the company or role for which you’re applying, it’s best to just leave it out.
Recruiters can tell when it’s the same line you send in for every application. Make sure that your employment history shows overall growth in your career development. If a recruiter or hiring manager sees that you have fewer responsibilities at your current job than you did at your previous, they’ll be wondering why you took a step backward. Try to keep your resume to one page in length— make sure everything is succinct and relevant to the role for which you’re applying.
Recruiters spend all day looking at resumes; you want to be able to give them the most information about you in the shortest possible time. You might think that having a unique resume format will help you stand out to hiring managers, but you need to be careful that formatting doesn’t interfere with the information. If your qualifications aren’t easy to read at a glance, recruiters will give up pretty quickly. While it is a red flag for hiring managers if your resume shows frequent jumps from company to company, it’s an even bigger red flag if you don’t include dates of employment at all.
A recruiter will not want to move forward with a candidate if they think she or he is hiding something. Be honest and be yourself! Put your best foot forward.
-Keaton Kruser, Recruiting Coordinator at Fueled, a leading app strategy and development agency in NYC
Although I highly recommend taking the job search offline and foster meaningful in-person relationships with folks who can either hire you or refer you to your ideal career opportunities, you can certainly find success online as well. Because applying online via job boards only have about a 1-4% success rate, you’ll need to diversity your efforts to maximize your opportunities.
For example, instead of simply posting your resume on the major job boards and waiting for the phone to ring, be proactive and advocate for yourself as a valuable asset to your prospective employers. While having an online brand via LinkedIn or sites like buildyourdigitalbrand.com is awesome, it may not be enough. Heighten your chances of being hired through finding contact information for your potential future boss (the person at your targeted company that is in a position to hire you). Then, reach out to them directly with a well-written and powerful e-note (email or LinkedIn message) that quickly outlines specifics on how you can help them or their department to solve a problem, save money or gain a competitive edge. You can certainly include a copy of your resume or direct them to your online profile, but the key is making contact in a meaningful way.
-Melanie L. Denny, MBA, CPRW President of Resume-Evolution, Certified Resume Expert, LinkedIn Strategist
Make your résumé one that utilizes a ‘best of,’ career-reel approach. Add in bullet points that detail how the applicant demonstrated initiative, as well as helped solve problems in past, relevant positions. The best examples applicants can include are self-initiated projects they took on that might have been risky, but paid off. This demonstrates that the applicant is driven to keep going and push for success, which makes for an incredibly valuable hire.
-Dana Case, Director of Operations at MyCorporation.com
Keywords are important to ensure are in the job search career resume because most, if not all, recruiters now use Boolean Searches in resume databases (Automatic Tracking Systems) that are proprietary to their company or in performing searches on subscription databases (Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed) or public sources (job candidate’s websites or in LinkedIn or other career profile websites.
It is important to not ‘pepper’ a resume with these key words or add the words and format them to white. The resume is loaded into the ATS, it is converted to text, and those ‘peppered’ and ‘white text’ words will now show up as black text content and may make the resume look horribly garbled.
Key words should also be in context with the content – plugging in a list of skills sets in a bulleted list and not actually relaying how you know the skill, or what you did with it, is useless. But using the key words in context with other key words provides a capability statement that the recruiters can assess and provides more clarity.
Key words list by itself, with no context: business development, marketing, clients, contract, sales, revenue
Key words with ‘context: “Responsible for business development and marketing to 25 Fortune 500 clients, with contract sales resulting in $500M in revenue within six months of hire”
-Dawn D. Boyer, Ph.D., CEO of D. Boyer Consulting
If you want companies and recruiters to find you (on LinkedIn, Monster, Career Builder) make sure your resume has all the skills you want them to find. If you don’t want a job as a cashier, maybe it’s time to take that college job off your resume.
Save a copy of your resume in Word format. Although other formats may look better, many ATS (aka Applicant Tracking Systems) systems cannot properly process files in PDF, Pages or other more obscure formats and HR/recruiters end up seeing a garbled mess. If you do not have Word on your computer, create the document in Google Docs and save a copy in Word to use for job applications.
Use titles appropriately: If you are running your own consulting firm, are you really the CEO? Be careful with titles, over-inflating them can be more harmful than beneficial. Also, make sure to use specific titles. Don’t say Writer say Software Technical Writer.
Don’t give away your age: The year you graduated from high school or college can give away your age and ruin your chances at an interview, even though this practice is illegal. Remove any dates you have on your resume and possibly roles you held in the past that are no longer relevant.
If you’re in Tech, it’s ok to be over one page: I don’t know how many resumes I get that are crammed onto one page – this is outdated advice that no longer applies to most job seekers. The idea length is 2-3 pages, with the most important information on the first page.
-Elizabeth Becker is the Client Partner of IT Staffing Firm PROTECH
The most important thing people need to be aware for uploading resumes online is how to beat the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).
Here are four essential tips for writing resumes processed by ATS software.
1. Keep it visually simple: Stay away from pictures, graphics, or complicated layouts. Applicant tracking systems can’t process images and complicated formatting can confuse them which results in the robotic culling of your resume.
2. Use simple fonts: Arial, Verdana, Times New Roman etc.
The optical character recognition (OCR) software of a lot of ATS’ can’t read complex fonts. There are those who even say that using any serif font will get your resume incinerated by the ATS. However, in my experience the ATS has no problem whatsoever reading simple serif fonts such as Times New Roman. As long as you stay away from complicated or more stylistic fonts you will be fine.
3. Use keywords from the job description
Pay attention to the keywords used in the job description and include them in your resume. Especially those related to education level, certifications, skills, and techniques. A good way to do this is to use a qualifications summary, because it allows you to easily include a high concentration of keywords in your resume.
4. Don’t over optimize for the ATS
In my opinion this is the most important tip. Nowadays, people tend to go overboard trying to optimize their resume to beat the ATS. There are some people who even recommend using a text file for your resume. But you can’t forget that after you pass ATS screening, your resume is going to end up in the hands of a living, breathing hiring manager.
While it is important to use simple formatting and fonts, oversimplifying and using text files will make your resume visually unappealing to the hiring manager, and likely get your resume thrown out.
-Matthew Kerr, Career Adviser & Hiring Manager at ResumeGenius.com
Research the company before you apply.
Some links on job sites will take you to a company’s own application form, and that’s great because then you can learn more about where you’re applying, and you can customize your application. But even if you’re applying through a job site’s interface, do your best to track down the company, go to its website, find the name of the president or likely hiring director, read up on the history, and evidence your research in your online application. A vast amount of online applications are generic. You’ll greatly stand out if you mention the company’s name and, even better, names of people who are likely going to be reading your application.
Always use a cover letter when you can.
Most job ads online give you the chance to paste or upload a cover letter. Even though of course it’s quicker and easier to just submit your generic resume, *don’t miss this chance*. Write your cover letter personally to the president or CEO if it’s a smaller business. Otherwise make it out to “Dear [Company Name] Hiring Director”: or something similar with the company name. Never start with a chilly “To Whom it May Concern” or the antiquated “Dear Sir or Madam”.
Apply from your computer, not your mobile device.
If you’re using a mobile app, click the option in the job ad to Apply from my computer, if the option is there. This will send you an email with a link to the job. Then use your computer. This will let you type more accurately, attach documents more easily, and do other necessary research and formatting. It’s too easy to drop a typo or get auto-corrected on a mobile device. Don’t risk it.
-Adam Goulston is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and business editor. His service intResume caters to cross-border, cross-cultural job applicants.
As a small business owner (under 20), I personally handle all hiring.
The number one way to make your resume stand out from all the rest is to have it appear different than all the others in a stack. If you are still using the standard format, I see 100’s of the same style when reviewing resumes for a job application. We love to hire creative out of the box thinkers; a plain jane old resume will not get my attention. Do not forget the basic’s though, make sure it is error-free and easy to read.
Remember, you have only a few seconds to make a positive impression.
-Bradley Shaw, President of SEO Expert Brad Inc.
Linda Le Phan is the Content Marketing Manager at kununu US, a place where job seekers can get an authentic view of life at a company and where employers have a trusted platform to better engage talent. When she’s not creating content about the modern workplace, company culture, and life & work hacks, she is probably going out to get an iced coffee (even in Boston winter), raiding the snack drawer, or jamming to kununu’s Spotify playlist.