How to Make Them Pick Your Resume


Have you ever seen a giant stack of resumes?  It can be daunting, particular to a job seeker who is hoping to find a way to get their resume to the top of that pile.  For a moment, try to think about it from the perspective of a hiring manager.  How do you think they feel about getting through that HUGE pile of paper?  More importantly, what can a job seeker do to make sure that their resume makes it to the top of the interview pile?

Make it specific.  When you consider that employers usually receive a lot of resumes for open positions, it is understandable that they can’t spend too much time on each one.  Make it easy for them to pick your resume by using the language that they used in the job advertisement and by highlighting the skills that are important for this specific job.

Make it pretty.  People will be a lot more willing to spend time reading your resume if it looks attractive.  When a a resume is formatted nicely and has a professional layout, the important information just jumps off the page.  Ask someone to review your resume and to give you feedback on how it looks.  You might even want to visit an employment centre such as Tropicana Employment Centre to get advice on how to improve the look of your resume.

Use keywords.  When employers screen resumes, they usually use keywords to narrow the search.  For example, if they were hiring an office administrator, they may set aside all resumes with the term “Microsoft Excel” for closer review.  If your resume doesn’t include the keywords that the employer is using in their search, it is basically invisible.  The best way to identify keywords that the employer might be using is to review the job advertisement and to make note of any words that are highlighted or repeated.

Use your network.  The easiest way to bring your resume to the top of a pile is to have someone within the organization refer you.  Talk to the people in your network and ask them if they know of any available jobs.  If you behave professionally and you have maintained positive relationships, you will likely find that your contacts are happy to go to bat for you.

Follow up.  Many job seekers submit their resume and forget about it, but the problem is that often you will never hear back from the employer.  About a week after you submit your application, call the employer to follow up.  This approach won’t always be effective, but it can get the manager’s attention which is a great start.


(Written by Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of scottchan at


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