3 Surprising Facts to Optimize Your Resume

Optimize Your Resume with These Data-Backed Tips

Welcome to this week’s edition of Story Started. Discover some surprising facts about how your resume gets reviewed and some top tips to optimize your resume.

So, You’ve Submitted Your Resume

Have you ever wondered what happens to your resume when it hits the hiring manager’s virtual pile? What’s going through their mind as they take in your carefully-crafted career story, your list of your accomplishments, your education, your history, your background? It may look a little different than you expect.

Today, let’s take a look at three surprising resume facts, then get some top tips on how to optimize your resume for each.

The Short of It:

Fact 1: 63% of recruiters want to see resumes tailored to the role. Fact 2: Recruiters are 2.9 times more likely to choose a candidate with a two-page resume for a management position. Fact 3: Recruiters spend 5–7 seconds reviewing a resume.


The Lowdown:

Fact 1: 63% of recruiters want your resume to be tailored to the role.

Source: Zety, Resume Trends 2021

This statistic is even more interesting when you consider that 81% of job seekers create just one resume for a given job search. It’s downright mind-boggling when you factor in that 2% of all job seekers create more than five resumes during a job search that typically includes many more than five applications.

So, what can you do to stand out in the crowd?

Top Tips to Tailor:

Lowest Effort: Use that skills section.

Customize the skills section on your resume for each job you apply for. Read through the job description, highlight the key skills and abilities the hiring manager is looking for, then add those keywords to your resume’s bulleted skills section.

Medium Effort: Optimize resume descriptions to match the job description.

Start with the key skills and abilities highlighting. Then assess your resume for opportunities to include those keywords or showcase experiences where you demonstrated those skills in each of your job descriptions.

Highest Effort: Know the industry.

When applying for the job, showcase experiences you have in the job’s industry, or in a related area. Emphasize these more relevant jobs by breaking them out into an industry-specific section.


Fact 2: Recruiters for management jobs are 2.9 times more likely to choose candidates with a two-page resume.

Source: Judith Humphrey, 5 Ways to Reboot Your Resume This Fall

We’ve all heard time and time again that your resume must be one page long … OR ELSE. Think again. Recent research from Zety shows that candidates in the running for a management job are more likely to be chosen if they have a two-page resume.

Top Tips:

To decide how long to make your resume, ask yourself: “Where in my career am I?”

If you are in the first 1–5 years of your career or a recent graduate, your resume can be one page. Your job? Make sure that one page shines.

If you are in the running for your first management position or a management veteran, you can exhale. The resume you have been trying to trim, can now expand to showcase your full experience. That being said, those two pages should be sharp, concise, and quantitative


Fact 3: Recruiters spend 5–7 seconds reviewing a resume.

Source: Creative Circle, Resume Guide

Blink. Look away from your screen. Look back at your screen. Blink again.

That’s five seconds. That’s how long the average recruiter spends reviewing your resume.

Recruiters know what they are looking for: how can you make it as easy as possible to be the candidate they are looking for?

Top Tips:

Lowest Effort: Make your resume easy to read.

  • No words smaller than font size 12.

  • Use an easy-to-read font: Avenir, Georgia, Helvetica, and Times New Roman work well.

  • Blank space: it’s not just a Taylor Swift song — give your words space to breathe with consistent spacing between lines.

Medium Effort: Optimize for mobile. You read on your phone. I read on my phone. Everyone reads on their phone. Your hiring manager is no exception.

Highest Effort: Know your story. Your resume should tell a story — from your education to your job descriptions all the way to your skills and objectives.


Your Resume: Ready

Take these tips into account and your resume will be ready for that next job application. In the meantime, be sure to subscribe to Story Started for the latest and greatest in professional branding and career storytelling.

What is your favorite resume tip? Leave a comment or shoot us a message at info@StoriaConsulting.com

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