• Barbara Roy

Attract More Interviews By Including These 5 Résumé Must-haves

By Barbara Roy, Content-Communications Strategist / Writer & Career Coach

As a Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW), I often see the same mistakes repeatedly when rewriting and designing custom résumés. Addressing the following five elements will attract more interview opportunities, and help ensure your résumé isn't overlooked by recruiters and hiring managers.

Demonstrated Success in A Previous Similar Role

You know how you read a job description, with a different title than your previous role, and think to yourself, "Hey, that's what I do!"? That's because it is. For various reasons, or even by mistake, different companies, organizations, and departments may assign varying titles for the same role. Because there is no industry standard for job titles, it is important to read the job descriptions to make sure you're not missing out on a role that might be perfect for you.

It's important to understand recruiters are searching for candidates, with a specific skill set, for each role. Your résumé should demonstrate your capabilities with those skills. If you've done what the role requires and more, that's great--if the hiring company is looking for that. Where it can become an obstacle is when you have multiple, equally-strong capabilities that may be divided up into separate roles within a company. The hiring person's question then becomes, "Well, which are you?" If "both" isn't the desirable answer for that company, that alone can get you disqualified from consideration.

If you don't have direct experience in a previous similar role, there are other ways to position yourself as a qualified candidate including, focusing on transferable skills. Clarity is better than ambiguity, and recruiters have no reason to make their job harder by helping you more clearly define how you match the job description.

Presentation that Matches Your Career Level

What do I mean by "presentation"? It's all the components that go into how your résumé represents you, including layout style, content, verbiage, and design. An executive résumé would, naturally, employ a different layout style than, for example, one for an intern. Content choices should be driven by the expectations of the role. For example, community service and volunteer work might be included in a social worker's résumé whereas board memberships may look good on a teacher's or business leader's résumé.

The word choices you use, or way you talk about your experience, can reveal a lot about your subject knowledge. It can be a red flag to hiring managers if the language style and word choices are considered "junior", or the skill set reflected is incomplete for the level of required expertise.

Appropriate Keywords

The question about what keywords to include comes up a lot. In fact, often résumé clients will try to debate or change them for words they think are stronger. It can be hard for clients to understand that what best describes their skills may not be the appropriate keywords. So, what are appropriate keywords? How I explain it is, it's the words hiring persons are using to search for candidates with your skills. Professional résumé writers do this keyword research for you to ensure your application doesn't get excluded due to missing markers the recruiter, hiring person, or Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is looking for. In short, it's wise to not change them without first discussing it with your writer.

Personal Insights

Hiring professionals are looking for ways you differentiate yourself against competition...or, reasons to disqualify you. There are several ways to give yourself an edge that helps you stand out.

  • Add a link to your LinkedIn profile or web portfolio

  • Include unique details about your management style, personality, work philosophy, etc. in your career summary

  • If you're bilingual, your career summary should include that


Some job seekers find it harder to quantify their contributions because they may not be directly tied to a Key Performance Indicator (KPI), sales win, or specific achievement. But, a good way to think about this is, your role is valuable, or it wouldn't be necessary. Results don't necessarily have to be awards or goal achievements.

In evaluating your contributions, think about what your efforts did for the greater company, organization, project, or campaign. How did you help solve a problem, define a plan, improve a process, increase efficiency, or otherwise affect positive change? What professional strides have you made, including course completions, promotions, leading projects or teams, or additional responsibilities?

It can be challenging to know what to include in a résumé to get the best results. Schedule a free 30-minute consultation to see how we might work together to ensure your resume includes these must-haves.

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