Lessons from the Trenches: How To Get an Interview with Your Resume

How to get an interview with your resume

We’ve all received resume advice from a friend or career center counselor, but have you heard (or utilized) any of the following resume ‘rules’?

  • As much white space as possible
  • Great opening skill summary paragraph
  • Write a job objective
  • Summary format, no more than 1 ½ to 2 pages
  • Address removed to eliminate regional bias
  • Eliminate duplicate words for clarity
  • Dates changed to show years of service only
  • Only show the last 10 years of work history

These guidelines are often given by resume ‘experts’ or career centers. While these ‘rules’ will result in a beautiful resume, it usually doesn’t make the cut when it comes to getting the interview. As new layers of regulations, technology, and risk management are added to a hiring manager’s already full plate, your resume now serves as your first interview.

The reality is if your resume doesn’t grab the attention of the hiring manager or HR team, you will likely get a “Dear John” letter, or more often, nothing at all. Your resume must clearly illustrate that you truly have the background, education, and experience necessary to do the job.

Get an Interview with Your Resume

As a recruiter, I review dozens of resumes each day. If you want to really wow the hiring manager, follow these resume tips and tricks to almost guarantee yourself an interview:

  • White space is great, but don’t sacrifice information to make it pretty.
  • The job objective should be the position you are applying for, so adding a job objective is redundant (and unnecessary).
  • Adding the city and state where you reside can be important, especially if you are a local candidate.
  • Skill summary – This should include actual skills, not things like “great attention to detail.” If you can’t learn it in an educational program or on the job training, it isn’t the type of skill for this section.
  • Take advantage of the Quadrant Test – The upper left quarter of the page is the power section of your resume. We read left to right, and top to bottom; that is the location that simply our brains tell us is most important.
  • Keywords – If you are a Director of Revenue Cycle, each position you have held that includes this job title needs to have these keywords or phrases. Yes, it seems redundant, but it shows the depth and tenure of your experience. Additionally, this will help your resume get past those pesky Application Tracking Systems (ATS).
  • Months and years of service – This will give the hiring manager the complete picture of your work history, and not look like you are trying to hide gaps in employment.
  • Comprehensive work history – Including all experience for the last 10 years, and as far back as you need to go if there is more experience that’s relevant to the position. If there is more in your work history, stick with a simple sentence or two that can say “prior work history also includes…”

Put Yourself in Their Shoes

Most importantly, put yourself in the shoes of the resume review squad. Ask yourself this question: If you were the hiring manager, would your resume explain your qualifications well enough to warrant an interview? If the answer is no, then you have some work to do!