Learn how to get hired from the best: Resume tips from today’s top business leaders

Getting hired can be challenging, from economic uncertainty to ever-changing expectations from employers. Here’s the truth: you need a rock-solid resume on deck, whether patrolling the job boards or sending dozens of emails a day directly to companies.

Your accomplishments and abilities are the cornerstones of any resume, but what else can you do to make it more polished and likely to result in a follow-up email? Check out these resume tips from today’s top business leaders and see what it takes to get closer to your dream job.

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Consider the "seven-second rule"


How long does the average hiring manager spend browsing a stack of job applications? With so many prospects to consider, they spend at most seven seconds looking at a single resume. This might sound unfair, but it’s reality, so craft your resume with this in mind. 

“Seven seconds is not long, but it’s enough to showcase a snapshot of your career and what you bring to the table,” said Miles Beckett, CEO and Co-Founder of Flossy. “You should have clearly labeled sections and highlight the most important information. Leave out anything that doesn’t directly contribute to your qualifications for the job, and make the decision easy for the recruiter or employer.”


How do you know that your resume passes the seven-second rule? First, run it by friends for family members to see if they can quickly process the information.

Time your applications and emails


There is a science to sending job applications, which means timing your resume distribution throughout the days and weeks. Of course, sending emails whenever possible is tempting, but consider the average workweek and prime time for recruiters in the zone. 

“The sooner you send a resume after a job has been posted, the higher your chances of getting a response,” said Ryan Rottman, Co-Founder and CEO of OSDB. “With that in mind, try to send your resume between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. on a weekday so that it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. If you’re sending emails late at night or on weekends, it might not pay off.”


This approach requires patience and planning, and you might have to hold off until the next day to send your application. It will be worth it, so don’t rush things.

Tailor your resume to the job in question


Every job is different, so why would you use the same exact resume for each application you submit? You don’t need to restructure your entire resume in every case, but a few tweaks can go a long way to stand out.

“Seasoned career veterans keep a few different versions of their resume at the ready, knowing that certain opportunities call for a unique approach,” explained Andrew Chen, Chief Product Officer of Videeo.


“Create one general resume, then prepare a few variations for manager roles or specific departments you might be applying to.”

Resume development demands some flexibility, so changing things around and highlighting certain skills based on the situation is fine.

Use an optimized format for ATS


Automation is everywhere in the business world, and hiring is no different. Most companies now use an applicant tracking system to sort through stacks of resumes and find certain keywords or phrases. Use this knowledge to your advantage by optimizing your resume for the ATS.

“Simple designs work best when crafting an ATS-friendly resume since the software will be scanning for data like a search engine,” said Sara Aalshamsi, Founder and CEO of Big Heart Toys. “Stick with a standard Word document instead of a PDF, even if the PDF seems more professional. On the flip side, don’t stuff your resume with keywords since this can backfire.”


Check out ATS-optimized resume examples online to see what we mean, and don’t let your career chances get lost to the algorithm.

Include metrics and numbers when possible


Much of the resume-building process is about phrasing and organizing your information in a compelling way, but statistics offer a shortcut that shouldn’t be missed. If you can include metrics that demonstrate your abilities and accomplishments, these will pop off the page and give recruiters a reason to pay attention.

“Our eyes are naturally drawn towards statistics because they put things into context and can’t be faked or embellished,” said Matt Masiello, Chief Marketing Officer of BabyBuddha. “Even if you don’t have the most dramatic statistics to offer, including a few numbers on the page can benefit your resume greatly. This is especially important for sales and marketing positions, as well as other data-driven roles.”


If you don’t have direct access to information about your past performances, at least try to formulate some statistics based on your volume of work or major projects that moved the dial for your company.

Don’t forget key links and profiles


Contact information is a tricky topic on resumes; you need to include it, but there’s a limit. Start by including your basic name and email info, and consider adding links to your pages online to keep things streamlined.

“A resume is just a summary, and it should serve as a portal to the rest of your portfolio and professional output,” said Natalia Morozova, Partner at Cohen, Tucker & Ades PC, Immigration Law Firm. “If you have a webpage, include that, or link any social media pages you use to increase your profile. Personal pages should be excluded, but you should have more material beyond your resume to share with employers.”


The internet makes it easy to package and convey your professional self in many ways, so don’t miss the chance to use these tools alongside your resume.

List a balanced mix of skills


You’ve likely heard of hard and soft skills; the best resumes feature a blend of both. The challenge is finding that balance and listing skills that will directly correlate to your qualifications for the job in question.

“Your most profitable skills will be related to your daily tasks, whether that’s coding, writing, designing, welding, underwater demolitions, or whatever you do best,” said Drew Sherman, VP of Marketing at RPM. “Apart from those things, employers want to know that you can work with people and have some degree of social awareness. Time management and organization matter too, so find ways to showcase those skills.”


The best candidates are well-rounded individuals that bring more to the team in terms of morale and positivity. Find ways to get that information across in a humble and professional way.

Make content concise and skimmable


Everyone skims, whether reading a menu or sorting through a stack of resumes. This means your documents should be easy to breeze through while getting the key points across. Simply put, your resume should read more like a blog and less like a novel.

“Use numbered lists, bullet points, bold text, and other visual hints that guide the eye towards the most important info on the page,” suggested Josh Keller, Founder of OTTO Quotes. “Recruiters are skilled at skimming and know what they’re looking for, but you can make their jobs a bit easier.”


If you’ve got long paragraphs or blocks of text in your resume, let this be a reminder to break those sections into more digestible pieces that still make an impact.

Pile on the action verbs (within reason)


What’s the difference between a boring resume and one that captures attention? It’s all about the verbs, so use language that clearly highlights your abilities and keeps things exciting.

“Action verbs prove you can get things done and move the dial where it counts,” said Max Ade, CEO of Pickleheads. “Use words like ‘advanced,’ ‘solved,’ ‘designed,’ ‘converted,’ and ‘built’ to show that your actions lead to results. Even the most mundane tasks can be articulated in a way that sounds more engaging and interesting, so get inventive and make yourself sound like an action hero.”

There’s always a way to spice up your resume with action-oriented language, so don’t hesitate to dig deep into the dictionary or thesaurus.

Get it proofread and ask for feedback


Resume red flags are plentiful, but grammatical or spelling errors are probably the biggest ones to avoid. Unfortunately, even the best grammar software can sometimes fall short, so make sure you get a second (or third) opinion from a trustworthy proofreader.

“It only takes a few minutes for someone to read through your resume and check for mistakes, so don’t miss this key step,” said Derek Flanzraichm, Founder and CEO of Ness. “They may even have feedback you can incorporate, and their input can be a difference maker.”

Remember that even the world’s best writers use proofreaders before finalizing their work. Your resume should be spotless, so get more eyes on the page when possible.

Use your resume to catapult your career


Sending endless job applications can feel like a grind, but there are plenty of ways to optimize the process, starting with your resume. These tips will take you far and may even be the deciding factor in how your career develops moving forward.

Story originally appeared on List Wire