How to Get Your Resume Seen

The job search market has changed drastically in the past several years and today, job seekers must know the ins and outs of job searching before they embark on the journey.

It’s a known fact that resumes are looked at for less than 10 seconds and the average number of applications received for a role extends past 250. In the abridged time period, your resume must truly be a fact-driven document with keywords that stand out as well as showcase your value to a prospective employer.

Here are 4 things to do to get your resume seen by the right person and not tossed into the trash by a recruiter, hiring manager, or ATS (applicant tracking software) system.

Use the Right Keywords for Your Industry & Targeted Role

With more than 90% of companies utilizing software programs (known as ATS software) to sort through the hundreds of candidates, it’s imperative that your keywords stand out easily and are woven throughout the resume. Select no more than 8-10 powerful keywords that will include factual support in the resume. For example, the phrase “business development” is a popular keyword used for sales and marketing resumes. Be sure to include examples in your resume of how you leveraged your business development skill set – whether it’s by driving relationships in new territories, or boosting new clients by 30%, you must support those keywords with facts in the resume.

Expert Tip:  If you’re not sure which keywords are the best ones to use, look to the job description and highlight the words that pop out to you. Those same words should appear throughout your resume.

Give Yourself a Proper Branding Statement

Before you delve into the details of your resume, consider what your areas of expertise are for your industry. Is it business development, project management, revenue growth, or financial management? Notably, if you are going for a VP of Marketing role, you will want to review several job postings and notice the common thread between the keywords used. Select 3 to 4 core specialties that you have top skills in and formulate your branding statement to leverage those areas of expertise. Remember, you will need to factually support those core specialties throughout your resume.

Expert Tip:   Researching and doing your due diligence is imperative before you begin sending out your resume. Know your market, know your target roles, and know your industry backwards and forwards.

Focus on Results Beyond Responsibilities

Companies know that you’re results-driven and you’re a good people manager, but they want to see HOW that came to be. How did you drive costs down, bring revenue up, and retain employees over the past 5 years? If a hiring manager is looking at your resume for several seconds, it needs to state the results and provide examples with specific facts.

Expert Tip: Separate your results from your basis job functions by asking yourself what was the outcome of the project I led, the system I created, or the process I improved? Ask yourself if it answers the who, where, how, and why. Make a list of real outcomes that you procured, changes you’ve effectuated, and what you learned from the result.

Replace an Objective with a Professional Summary

Your objective is to find a job, but a professional summary can serve as a roadmap to your career and highlight some key facets of it for a reader to see up front before delving into the experience section of the resume. A professional summary and the corresponding bullet points below it should take up no more than a third of the page. I’ve seen resumes where the career highlights section is an entire first page of the resume, but remember, if a recruiter or hiring manager is looking at the resume for less than 10 seconds, they need to see the information up front and center. It cannot go on and on like a slow love story in a move theater. You want to keep the reader’s attention, not put them to sleep. Use a resume font that is also visually appealing and friendly on the eyes.

Expert Tip: Look at samples of executive resumes to see how professional summaries are developed and how they can vary in style. Think of some key items you want to highlight at the outset of your resume for a reader to review.

Once you have put all of these tools into action, next up is networking for an opportunity through LinkedIn, real-life connections, and personal outreach with introductory calls. Be sure to craft a well-inspired business letter to attach with your resume.


  • Wendi Weiner

    Personal Branding & Career Expert

    Wendi Weiner is an attorney and award-winning writer who has been featured in over 75 major media outlets (including CNN, HuffPost, Money, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Business Insider) as a top authority in personal branding, social storytelling, career strategy, and the job search process. As a solopreneur and owner of The Writing Guru, her trademarked namesake company, Wendi holds 6 certifications in resume writing, personal branding, career coaching, and a pioneer certification in LinkedIn training and usage. She is the country’s only Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW) who is a licensed attorney, and she holds a pioneer certification in LinkedIn training and usage.   Wendi has been credited with more than 10 honors and awards for her ability to create powerful career and personal brands for attorneys, top executives, and C-suite leaders for their job search, LinkedIn presence, and digital footprint. She additionally provides high-impact content writing for corporations and major publications, and speaks on the global level about personal branding, resume writing, business professionalism, reputation management, and social networking.   Wendi's own career background includes serving as a college writing professor for 7 years while simultaneously practicing law for almost 12 years, both in big law and in-house for a Fortune 200 company. Wendi is an active member of the Florida Bar since 2004, and she holds a J.D. from Stetson University College of Law and an undergraduate degree in English from Florida State University.