In an increasingly competitive world, how can you demonstrate your skills, value, and experience on a single sheet of paper? How can you convince a hiring manager that you could be a good fit for the company and the role by just sending off a Word document or PDF?

When it comes time to look for job opportunities and start applying, you will probably feel stuck on that piece of paper commonly called a resume. You’ll probably wonder: how should I start? How can I highlight what I’ve accomplished in the most efficient way?

Here are my five tips to help you avoid the feeling of being trapped between your pen and that piece of paper.

1. Target your resume for the role and industry

We usually start writing our resume by filling it with information about ourselves and all our experiences. But there’s a better way to build it strategically.

“You have to be sure your resume is targeted for the role and industry for which you are applying” suggests Leigh Nicholas, Hult’s Career Advisor at the Boston campus.

The more targeted your resume is, the higher the chance of it getting noticed by recruiters. Therefore, delete all the information that is not relevant and appropriate for the role you’re applying for. Less is better.

Remember: you will only have 10 seconds to grab the attention of the recruiter!

2. Use the right keywords

Being specific implies also using the right keywords. How do you know which are the right ones? It’s easy! Look at job postings related to the position that you’re targeting and replicate similar key, descriptive words.

This will improve your chances of getting noticed—hiring managers like candidates who speak their same language. Of course, avoid the temptation of just copying and pasting keywords from job descriptions. Instead, take the time to know and understand the keywords for your target job and then embed them into your resume in a meaningful way.

3. Use CAR statements

Another way of improving your resume is by using CAR statements. That means following the structure of challenge, action, and result. By following this simple framework, you’ll be able to easily communicate your career accomplishments in a clear and efficient way.

A good recruiter wants to know about your personal contribution in previous roles and the results of your work. Therefore, it’s ideal if you can include numbers or statistics to quantify what you’ve been able to deliver for a previous employer.

However, if you’re not able to quantify your results with numbers, keep the description simple and focused on other concrete outcomes.

“A good recruiter wants to know about your personal contribution in previous roles and the results of your work.”

4. Use a branding bar

“A branding bar at the top of your resume under your contact information, which includes keywords and/or transferable skills can also be a nice touch” suggests Leigh. Use it to grab the attention of the hiring manager with keywords and key skills describing yourself and who you would like to be in the future.

Personal branding is about knowing yourself and being able to “sell” your abilities. You should be able to give an idea of who you are and who you want to be by using a few, targeted words—like an elevator pitch. These words should help convince your audience that your contribution to the company would be invaluable.

5. Keep it organized and clear

The structure of your resume should be clear enough to let recruiters easily navigate through its sections and find the information that they are looking for. As I said before, hiring managers usually take 10 seconds to read a resume.

This time span could be even shorter if they cannot find the key information easily. Do you want to take that risk?


Curious to read more about the career success of Hult graduates? 

Hult offers a range of highly skills-focused and employability-driven business school programs including a range of MBA options and a comprehensive one year Masters in International Business. To find out more, take a look at our blog The invisible force in your next job interview. Download a brochure or get in touch today to find out how Hult can help you to learn about the business world, the future, and yourself.