Take your resume seriously so employers will too

Have you ever wondered how your resume looks to potential employers? A recent study shows that hiring managers spend only six seconds reviewing a resume. As a recruiter, I read dozens and dozens of resumes each week, and see more poorly organized resumes than great ones. Make yours easy to read, rise to the top, and impress those reading it with these simple fixes.

Resume Basics

Employers value clarity, organization, and appropriate detail in an application. A well-crafted resume is an essential first impression of what you bring to the table, and it helps employers understand why you would be an asset to their organization. When we receive resumes that are three pages long, full of superfluous wording, inaccurate dates, an objective statement that doesn’t match the position applied for—we hit the “reject” button. (Yes, there really is a button in our system for that).

This can’t be said enough times: make sure to proofread your work before sending it to a potential employer. Typos and poor grammar have derailed even the best applicants.

It’s also important to customize your resume and cover letter to the opportunity you are pursuing. If you have more than 10 years of history to discuss, it’s OK to go to a second page, but a one-page resume is always appreciated. I once received a 10-page resume. Do not be that person.

Professional Objective

Include a one-line summary of the career that you are targeting, and make sure that it somewhat matches (and certainly does not conflict) with the role you are applying for. Or leave it off if you’ll be including that in your cover letter.

Skills List

Traditional resume templates will have you put your skills and tools knowledge at the bottom. We actually prefer it at the top, front-and center. And make sure those skills apply to the role you are seeking. I don’t need to know about your retail POS experience for a B2B social media consulting role.

Employment History

Show your work experience in a consistent, concise style, meaning don’t use present and past tense—just pick one. Describe each of your jobs in the following order:

  1. Role
  2. Company name
  3. Length of time in the position – be accurate with months, not just years.

Include bullets or short phrases of specific responsibilities and major achievements. List contract work with both the agency name and the client name (if you only list your client name, it may seem like you are deceptive).

Metrics matter! Data or metrics that validate your professional success stories are a necessary detail if you want your resume to rise to the top. Be confident but not arrogant in your tone when sharing your accomplishments.

Try something like: Launched the brand’s social media presence, increased Twitter followers from 0 to 10,000 and increased Instagram engagement (likes and comments) 241% in 9 months.

Explain the gaps. If you have an employment gap of six months or more, you will want to include a one-line explanation. Especially if you are not including a cover letter with these details.


Employers value a candidate that has taken the initiative to pursue learning and personal development—but show this information at the end of your resume. There is no need to have this information under your name and at the top unless you are just entering the job market and its your strongest asset. Include certificates and other extended learning that is position-appropriate and to show your commitment to professional development.

Avoid these mistakes

It’s hard to overlook typos, grammar errors, and egregious formatting choices in a resume (like I said above). Trust us. Make sure you always proof your resume carefully, and create a clean, easy-to-scan format. Photos and graphics can be appropriate for certain creative roles, but avoid them in a standard resume.

In our blog list of top mistakes applicants make, the number one mistake is applying to any and every job. As a recruiter, I see this happen a lot, and I promise it won’t get you an interview.

Applying at Projectline

Projectline is looking for smart, enthusiastic people who have solid marketing skills and a passion for delivering incredible service to our clients. If you feel like your resume has everything listed above, then we would love to hear from you. Don’t forget to include a cover letter that tells us more about you and your interest in consulting.

Hopefully these tips will bring some value to your resume. Best of luck in finding your next adventure! And be sure to check out our open positions.