By Chark Jen Wei
Resume writing tips found online are usually subjective and unclear which may, or may not help an individual when crafting an impactful resume that will catch the attention of employers. However, an analyst, Austin Belcak, released a study in 2021 after looking at more than 125,000 resumes. He found interesting patterns and characteristics when it comes to resumes that result in call back from employers.
For a more comprehensive read of the research, click below:
Here are 5 key points from the study:
1.A professional LinkedIn profile
According to the statistics, candidates that include a LinkedIn Profile can expect a 71% increase in chance of landing an interview. Here is a bar chart from the study illustrating this data:
However, as evident from the graph, a bare-bones LinkedIn Profile may hurt your chances represented in the bar chart, so that is something that should be kept in mind. So, if your LinkedIn profile is not up to date or professionally presentable it might be better to hide it in your resume.
2.Include the right Keywords
This is relevant when submitting applications online because some employers use applicant tracking system to filter out low potential candidates based on keywords. Meaning if your resume does not include the keywords that is imputed to the system, it would most likely be rejected automatically. A simple way of understanding what keywords the system might be looking at, is the word ‘marketing’ in a marketing position for example.
According to the research, an average job description includes 43 keywords and the average candidate only includes half in their resumes. Most of these missing keywords according to the research are information regarding relevant hard skills, and especially soft skills related to the job description. It is also important to note that forcing the issue by including every keyword is not a good idea. You do not need to include all 43 keywords. Just make sure to include as many as possible without sounding robotic.
Here are some free tools to scan for keywords in job descriptions:
3. Include measureable results
Austin Belcak claims that measurable metrics improve resume outcomes, but only 64% of candidates include them in their resume. Companies love to see metrics because it makes value easier to understand and quantify.
To stand out from the crowd, make sure to include multiple metrics in your resume. For example: increasing social media engagement by 30% when moderating the page for a week after starting the job.
4. Keep your resume at a word count between 475–600
According to a research by TalentWorks, resumes that fall below or above the target word count of 475-600 saw significant decrease in effectiveness. Resumes that are within the recommended word count receive double the interviews compared to those that are outside it.
For job positions at higher executive levels, it is common to see a word count of 800-1000, but for lower and entry level positions, it is advised to keep your resume at 475-600 words. Data shows that 77% of candidates who have their word count within the recommended range tend to have a competitive edge.
5.Do not include fluff, cliché and Buzzwords
Many major sources will attest that buzzwords and clichés found in resumes are an instant turn off. Words such as ‘highly motivated’, ‘detailed oriented’, ‘passionate’, ‘team player’, ‘synergy’ etc. is in no better words cringe especially when it comes to recruiters that see those same buzzwords and clichés dozens of times when sorting through resumes to find a candidate. According to the study, 51% of the resumes includes such words in them.
This is a common mistake especially when it comes to first time job seekers. The desire to sell oneself as likable and valuable is inevitable, but such buzzwords and fluff will only take away from your message and muddle the contents of your resume. The best way to sell yourself on a resume is to focus on your experience and accomplishments, and less on your personality and thought process.