Is your Resume Creating the Biggest Impact?

Posted by Amanda Wencel on Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

With the volume of applications that recruiters and hiring managers receive, it is virtually impossible for them to read in detail every applicant’s accounts.  Resumes are likely not the best measure for talent assessment considering this fact, as there is no way for a hiring manager to really get the best sense of who someone is in a 20 second scan.  “An average job opening receives 250 resumes and up to 88% of them are considered unqualified. This means a recruiter can spend up to 23 hours screening resumes for a single hire.” (

However, resumes and cover letters are still a necessary evil in order to obtain interviews.  So, what are some ways you can make the best possible impact?

A recent survey done by CareerBuilder of over 2,500 hiring managers expressed what employers are looking for in a resume.


Here were the top attributes:

• A resume that is customized for their open position: 61 percent
• A resume that is accompanied by a cover letter: 49 percent
• A resume that is addressed to the hiring manager or recruiter by name: 26 percent
• A resume that includes links to the applicant’s online portfolio, blog or website: 21 percent

Most people create one resume and use that same resume to send out to every position that they are applying to.  In some cases, where individuals are applying to the same types of positions just at different companies, this is acceptable; as long as the cover letters are completely marketed specifically to the company you are applying to. 

Although this is appropriate in a few cases, each job posting that you see will indicate different requirements.  Also, each employer has a unique company culture and their own organizational values.  For these reasons, it is important to spend the time to tailor your resume specifically to the company and position that you are applying for.

How can you tailor your resume specifically? 

1. Identify the job title, and include that if possible on your resume.  For example, if the job title of the posting is for an Administrative Assistant, you could include this directly into your profile summary.  Not only does this show a direct match between your experience and their requirements, it also will allow Applicant Tracking Software to acknowledge that you are a title match for the position.

“Well-respected Administrative Assistant with over 7 years of comprehensive experience in both public and private industries, as well as in a volunteer capacity.”

2. Highlight the key descriptive words used in the job posting for the type of applicant the employer is seeking.  Also, research on their company website to find out a bit about their company culture and the type of candidate that they typically hire.  Use these words within your profile summary or throughout your accomplishments as a way to demonstrated that you are a match.  Two things to consider are to ensure that you are in fact representative of that attribute, and also that you are not overusing the words, but strategically placing them throughout your document.

3. Ensure that your resume is rich in accomplishments and listed in an easy to read manner.  One of the best ways to do this is to write a list of the job posting requirements, and ensure that in your resume, you prepare an achievement to match as many of those requirements as possible.

For example, if the job posting suggested that they were looking for someone who had the ability to train and mentor others on administrative processes, you could include a bullet under your employment history with a related achievement:

• Developed training plan for new in-house data management software that allowed staff to learn program more efficiently; was tasked to train 30 staff members, resulting in a 100% program usage time within the first month of introduction.

Don’t focus on duties that everyone in the same position would have.  Instead, determine what your special achievements were, and bullet those out as a way to quickly attract the eye and make the biggest impact on the space allotted.

4. Address your cover letter as accurately as possible.  No one likes to receive mail to “To Whom it May Concern”!  Do your research to find out who the person is that will be doing the hiring for the position, and get the proper spelling in order to include that name in your cover letter.  If it is a larger company and after researching, there is no specific person, it is acceptable to direct it to the Hiring Committee or Hiring Manager.

Also, research how you feel that your career goals or professionals values are aligned with those of the company.  Or, find a recent issue in the news about that company, and identify how your experience and skills could solve a problem that they may have.  Make the first sentence/paragraph of your cover letter as impactful as possible by demonstrating that you are interested or invested in working particularly for that company.  They will notice that you are not just sending out form cover letters.

Another great article I recently read, written by an experience recruiter, explained 9 reasons why someone gets cut from the shortlist of candidates.  These are all things that you should be considering when writing your resume.

If you aren’t sure where to start, feel free to contact me for more information today!



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