10 Data-Driven Resume Tips You Should Follow

Published on June 11, 2024

A strong resume is vital to stand out in today's competitive job market. Here are 10 strategic essentials, backed by recent statistics, to help you craft a compelling resume that makes a lasting first impression:

1. Ditch the Objective -- Craft a Powerful Summary

When writing an objective, you clearly state a specific job you want. If you apply for anything that deviates even slightly from your statement, essentially you are advertising that you don’t want the job you’re applying for.  

Instead of an objective, write a concise summary highlighting your unique value proposition. Showcase your skills, achievements and career goals relevant to the target position. Recruiters spend only 6-7 seconds scanning each resume before moving on, therefore a strong summary is crucial to grab recruiters’ attention.

Data-driven resume tips | Recruiters spend 6 - 7 seconds scanning a resume | Point Road Group

2. Showcase Achievements, Not Just Duties

Detailing a jumble of responsibilities doesn't frame your experience well. Instead, state the impact you’ve made and outcomes you’ve achieved, including supporting data where possible. Demonstrate the value you brought to previous roles.  

Pro-Tip: If the language isn’t flowing easily, ask a trusted senior colleague or professional to help frame your experience with language that highlights your value to potential employers.

3. Specificity is Key -- Include Measurable Results

Generic statements don't cut it in today’s business world. Quantify your achievements for maximum impact. Here are some examples:

  • Instead of "increased sales," state how much you increased sales by, e.g., “Drove $10M in sales over two years by transforming sales strategy and operations.”
  • If you oversee a team, include details about the size and scope, e.g., “Oversee a global finance team across 13 countries with over 1,000 employees.”
  • When using percent change to show impact, context matters (i.e., include real numbers). For example, reducing costs from $1M to $650,000 is more impressive than reducing costs from $1,000 to $650, even though both represent 35%. Context transforms the change from relatively meaningless to a defined impact.

4. Tailor Your Experience for Your Target Role

A Glassdoor survey in 2023 revealed that 63% of recruiters prefer resumes tailored to the job description. Hiring managers have no time or interest in reading an autobiography of your every step since college, so don’t bog them down with irrelevant details. Focus on relevant skills and experiences for the specific position you're applying for. Briefly summarize older roles, highlighting transferable skills and achievements.

5. Highlight Career Progression

While a one-page resume is ideal early on, executives and experienced professionals are not bound by this. Reducing early experience into brief descriptive phrases is fine, but don't overgeneralize most recent roles; these contain the details that hiring managers want to see. Be sure to include all the information relevant to the job posting.

Similarly, if you’ve been employed by the same company for a while, don’t combine multiple roles under one title. Showing career progression is important as you market yourself. Moreover, condensing positions is potentially misleading. For example, if you have been at the same firm for a decade, as a VP of Finance for the first seven years and promoted to CFO three years ago, don't just use your CFO title (falsely implying ten years of experience under that title); list these two roles separately.

For executives, personal branding for the C-suite goes beyond resume building. At Point Road Group, we help executives prepare for a job or board search with a comprehensive approach that includes career strategy, resume writing, LinkedIn profile optimization, executive coaching and more. Contact us to schedule a discovery call.

Executive Branding Services | Point Road Group

6. Go Beyond Work Experience

Your body of experience is more than your day job. On your resume, include relevant volunteer work, board positions and/or leadership roles that speak to your expertise. Augmenting work experience with other relevant roles and activities that you are passionate about can enhance your qualifications for positions.

7. Proofread -- and Pay Attention to Verb Tense

For clarity, use present tense for your current role and past tense for previous positions. (Your high school English teachers will thank you!) Applications like Grammarly are helpful to check for tense shifts and spelling and grammar mistakes, but nothing replaces a good set of eyes or two or three. Proofread the resume yourself and ask one or two others to read it as well. This is not a step for cutting corners; 77% of hiring managers reject resumes with typos or grammatical errors.

Data-driven resume tips | 77% of hiring managers | Point Road Group

Pro Tip: Proofread meticulously. Reading out loud is often more effective at catching mistakes and language that sounds awkward.

8. Bullet Points and Formatting are Your Friends

A resume is no place for long-winded prose! Use clear and concise bullet points to draw attention to key information. Consistent formatting also improves readability, especially on Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) -- which screen nearly 80% of resumes -- and mobile devices.

Data-driven resume tips | 80% of resumes are scanned by ATS | Point Road Group

9. Update Regularly and Keep it Chronological

While a job you held ten years ago may be important for what you’re looking to do next, don’t deviate from the standard reverse chronological order by putting it higher up in the resume. Inconsistencies may be read as mistakes or create unnecessary confusion. Instead, highlight prior relevant experience and bridge it to the present in an introductory email or cover letter.

10. Standardize File Formats

Always send your resume as a PDF. This ensures your formatting remains consistent across different devices and avoids compatibility issues. MS Word or similar documents may render differently on the recipient's screen, creating the appearance of sloppiness. Also, clearly label the file with your name (e.g., Jane Smith Resume) and get rid of any version numbers (draft 3, June version etc.).

The Perfect Resume

Crafting the perfect resume requires a multi-step approach that is well-written, strategic and considers current hiring practices. Sticking to these tips, you can create a compelling resume that will grab the attention of recruiters and hiring managers.

To learn more about how Point Road Group can help you transform your resume and strengthen your personal brand for a job search, contact us.

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