June 13 Edit: This post was geared towards college students and may not be applicable to all candidates. If you’ve recently graduated from college, include your GPA. If you didn’t attend college or are an experienced candidate, a GPA may not be relevant and instead focus on your skills.
There was a recent article, “What Recruiters Look At During the 6 Seconds They Spend On Your Resume“, that put together a heat map that tracked the eye movements of 30 recruiters. Pretty interesting article, but what I’m here to share with you today is the 6 basic things you should absolutely, positively, without a doubt include on your resume, to make the most of those ’6 seconds’.
1. Your name
Seems simple, but if I can’t find your name, how do you expect me to identify you or know who you are if you don’t have your name CLEARLY stated on your resume? And if your name is Michael but you go by Tony (I’m not going to ask why, though I’m sure there’s a great story), either answer to both names or make it clear what your preference is.
In today’s world, most companies have an online application process you go through to submit your resume and profile. More often than not, your email address is your unique identifier and the best way to get in touch with you. (Not your name, your email. Do you know how many Sejal Patels there are out there? A lot.) But also use an appropriate email address — firstname.lastname@example.org might work for your friends, but you may want to reconsider for a job application.
3. Phone number
Even though we live in a high-tech world, phone calls are still widely used in recruiting to contact candidates about a job opening that sounds perfect, to conduct a phone screen, or just to confirm that the resume is up-to-date. Make sure you list the best phone number where a recruiter can reach you, and if you don’t have voicemail set up yet, now would be a good time.
It’s pretty amazing how many people leave their GPA off their resume, especially good ones! Brag a little! While GPAs aren’t the only indication of learning, when you’re getting an incredibly high number of resumes, it’s often used as a filter. Many companies have a minimum GPA they use to screen resumes as well. If you think by leaving your GPA off your resume, you’ll be able to sneak in, think again. It’s one of the first questions my company asks, and it would save both of us some time if it’s on your resume from the get-go.
5. Degree and graduation date
Tell us what you’re studying and when you’re expected to finish. This will help us figure out if you’re looking for a full-time position or an internship. It’ll also help us gauge where you might fit, based on your academic background. Not sure if you’ll be graduating in the summer or the fall? Just put what you think is most likely at the time you submit your resume, and update it later. When you do update your resume, be sure to update your resume in all of your online profiles so that the most up-to-date version is available.
6. Work status
We want to know if you have the permanent unrestricted right to work in the United States or if you’ll need sponsorship. Depending on the company and its hiring needs, it may or may not be able to sponsor employees but this is information that is best to share up front.
Watch for white space
Recruiters go through tons of resumes every day. While I’m sure you’re quite an impressive candidate, use your resume wisely and be sure to include some white space. A clear, concise and nicely formatted resume will be easier on a recruiter’s eyes, and will garner more attention, than a poorly formatted and spaced resume with no white space, but lots of accomplishments.