Standing out in such a short amount of time is challenging, but there are some techniques and tricks you can adopt to give yourself the best chance of success.
If you’re a student at business school, here are some top tips on how to write a resume from top recruiters and careers experts.
1. Prioritize key information
When writing your resume, consider the information that’s most likely to get you hired. Where possible, this should be relevant to the industry, the role, and its requirements.
Recruiters are looking for someone with the skills and experience to fit the job description, so the first one-third of your resume should focus on exactly that.
“You must sort it out yourself. Don’t make the recruiter do the work,” says Bérangère Deregnaucourt, career advisor at EDHEC Business School.
2. Use strong language
You should avoid weak verbs such as ‘supported’, ‘responsible for’, or ‘assisted’, and limit words such as ‘quite’ or ‘some’.
Instead, opt for strong action words that showcase your skills and the active part you played in any success. Words such as ‘managed’, ‘oversaw’, ‘lead’, or even ‘spearheaded’ will do this.
Powerful adjectives can reinforce your influence—though you should use them sparingly.
“Recruiters don’t want mediocrity, they want a candidate who can hit the ground running,” says Amber Wigmore Alvarez, chief talent officer at careers platform, Highered.
3. Consider the Applicant Tracking System
When crafting your resume, you’re not just appealing to recruiters, you also need to bypass sophisticated screening technology known as an ‘Applicant Tracking System’.
An ATS will scan, organize, and rank resumes, removing those that are deemed unsuitable for the job based on a recruiter’s pre-set criteria.
“Use keywords to make sure your relevant skills stand out, in addition to your work history (with dates), and achievements,” advises Rose Keating, career development director of MBA and Specialty Masters programs at MIT Sloan.
You should also avoid using any complicated designs or formatting your resume in a way that the ATS is unlikely to recognize.
4. Adapt your resume for each application
As many as 61% of hiring managers say a customized resume has a greater chance of success and will therefore save you time in the long run.
“You should adapt your resume to the specific job you are applying for. This takes time, but it is crucial to getting past the first step and landing an interview,” says Bérangère from EDHEC.
A successful resume will be closely linked to the job description, demonstrating the key skills and experience required. It's therefore a good idea to have a template resume which you can adapt after reviewing each job posting.
“It’s important to ‘speak the same language’ as the recruiter and their industry,” Bérangère adds. “The recruiter will move on to another resume if you include irrelevant information.”
For more resume tips and tricks, and free CV templates, download our BusinessBecause Resume Guide: 10 Top Tips For Application Success