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How to highlight your resume among hundreds of others: life hacks from experts


When you apply for a job, your resume mixes up with hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of others. If you are not invited for interviews, this may be due to the fact that your resume does not meet the requirements that competitors fulfill, writes GoBankingRates.

Photo: Shutterstock

If you are not recruiting, you probably haven’t seen so many resumes, so it’s hard to know where to go. The Zety online resume development project team analyzed over 133 resumes to find out how applicants across different industries fill out this document, what information they add, and which keywords they use. The result is rules that will help you find a job.

1. The average length of a resume is approximately 500 words

Zety's analysis showed that the average length of a resume is 489 words, and the median length is 369 words. To put these numbers in perspective, a one-page resume is typically 380 words or less.

2. Recruiters Prefer Two-Page Resumes

Gone are the days when you needed to squeeze all your resume onto one page. In fact, Zety found that recruiters prefer a two-page resume.

"The data shows that recruiters are 2,9 times more likely to select a candidate with a two-page resume for executive positions and 1,4 times more likely for entry-level positions," the Zety study found. "What's more, 77% of employers say experienced workers should NOT submit CVs on one page."

3. Applicants usually send the same resume to all companies

The average number of resumes created by job seekers is one. And this is a big mistake. Most recruiters - 63% - want to receive a resume based on an open position. This means that you have to create one master resume and adapt it for each sentence so that you don't have to repeat it once.

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4. But some take personalization of resumes to the extreme

Zety found 17 users who created over 100 resumes and one user who created 339 resumes - clearly this is not the norm either. And yet, since most people don't take the time to create a new resume for each job, you will have a competitive edge if you do.

5. There are 5 required resume sections

Your resume should have 5 sections - and if you missed one of them, you are in the minority: personal information (included in 99,9% of CVs), work experience (included in 98,3% of CVs), education (included in 97,3 % resume), skills (found on 89,8% resume), and a goal summary (found on 88,75% resume).

6. Why do we need the Skills section

According to Zety, the lack of a list of skills can damage a resume as badly as a year off. The Skills section allows recruiters to see if your skill set matches what is needed to complete the job.

7. The most common resume skills

Your Skills section should include not only the software and applications that you own, but also the so-called “soft skills”. The most common ones are:

  • Sociability: 11% resume
  • Leadership: 9%
  • Time Management: 8%
  • Problem Solving: 7%
  • Customer Service: 5%
  • Teamwork: 5%
  • Adaptability: 4,3%
  • Organization: 2%
  • Creativity: 1,7%
  • Conflict Resolution: 1,6%

You do not need to include all these skills, but Zety recommends adding some of them that apply to you.

8. The most common "hard skills" for a resume

You might think that mastering Microsoft Office is a matter of course and doesn't have to be included in your skills section, but Zety disagrees. Here are the main “hard skills” that are listed on the resume:

  • Microsoft Office: 12% resume
  • Project Management: 6%
  • Microsoft Excel: 6%
  • Python: 3,8%
  • Salesforce: 3,6%
  • Java: 3%
  • SQL: 2,9%
  • Microsoft Word: 2,7%
  • JavaScript: 2,4%
  • Public speaking: 1,9%

9. Add a title

Zety advises that your resume should also include a headline - “summary information” or “goal” - but instead of listing what your career goal is, you should state what you would bring to the new position.

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10. Make more than five sections

5 standard resume sections are the bare minimum to stand out, but you should add at least one additional section. Competitors have probably already done so - the analysis showed that 66% of job seekers include an additional section on their resume.

11. The most popular additional sections of the resume

Not sure what to add? Here are the most popular additional resume sections:

  • Languages: 31%
  • Certificates: 27%
  • Additional activities: 21%
  • Interests: 19%
  • Software: 18%
  • Recommendations: 16%
  • Courses: 11%
  • Licenses: 5,5%
  • Publications: 5,3%
  • Conferences: 4,7%

12. The most common foreign languages ​​listed in the summary

The section “Languages” can be included only if you are fluent in other languages, but even if it is not, it will be useful to know the languages ​​that your competitors speak:

  • Spanish: 5,7% resume
  • French: 4,1%
  • Arabic: 3,6%
  • Hindi: 2,9%
  • German: 2,8%
  • Russian: 1,5%
  • Italian: 1,2%
  • Portuguese: 1%
  • Mandarin dialect: 0,9%
  • Tamil: 0,8%

13. Always add a certificate section if possible

According to Zety, certificates are "the only most verified way to prove their qualifications", but only 1 out of 4 job seekers lists them in their resume. If you have certificates, be sure to include them in your resume, and if not, consider getting them.

Attending a conference is a good way to showcase your expertise. You can list any conferences you have attended.

14. The harsh reality of job search

Even though the “perfect” resume is re-created for each job you apply for, you may have to apply for 30-50 jobs to get a job. According to Zety, only 10% of job seekers get interviews, and only 20% of them get a job offer. This means that the success rate for hiring is from about 2% to 3,4%.

These data explain why it takes a lot of time and effort to find work. But given these tips, your resume can stand out among hundreds of others and attract the attention of a recruiter.

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