Two businesspeople discuss a resume during a professional interview.

Today’s students should recognize that employers often read résumés online and sometimes don’t get to read them at all due to filtering software. That makes keywords critical in getting noticed.

As recent Cal State Fullerton grads look for career jobs, here are some tips on how to create a résumé that resonates with today’s employers.

Every entrant into the job market wants their résumé to stand out. Yet it is easier said than done – according to a recent study by The Ladders, recruiters spend only six seconds reviewing the average résumé. The quantitative study, the first to examine what portions of résumés recruiters notice using eye-tracking technology, found that the name, current job title and company, previous job titles and companies, previous and current start and end dates, and educational experience comprise 80% of the reviewer’s time. Beyond these points, recruiters did little more than give a cursory review.

Considering these findings, here are seven tips to make the most of your opportunity to engage potential employers, from a recent Time magazine report and The Ladders’ study.

  1. Expand your contact information

In a world in which most résumés are submitted electronically and applicants have numerous contacts, this is a great place to start. Include a hyperlink to your email, blogs, LinkedIn or any other online presence, so you are only a click away. While some applicants want to keep their physical mail address confidential, you should still include your city, state and zip code. And be sure to include your phone number.

  1. Replace the objective with a summary

Your first impression can be the make-or-break section of your résumé. Starting with an objective statement sounds like a good idea, but they aren’t of interest to most employers and can even limit your opportunities, since it can pigeonhole you into a certain career path. Instead, try a summary with your key experience. This is a great place to be creative and let employers know who you are and what you’ve done. See this example online.

  1. Make your résumé tech-savvy

Today’s employers probably won’t read your résumé as a paper document – they are likely to view it online, where they can skim it and look for something to catch their eye as opposed to reading it from top to bottom. Sometimes, software is used to weed out candidates before a human recruiter even has a chance to look. That means you need to use bolded text to highlight your achievements and pick the right keywords to match what the particular employer is looking for. For example, if an employer is looking for someone with experience as a sales representative, be sure to include those words.

  1. Weave your skills into your résumé

While some career experts have supported the inclusion of a skills section in the past, many modern recruiters prefer to see the skills interwoven into your work experience. For example, you might include the skills you developed on the job, such as marketing or computer programming, under your previous job titles. Yet there might be an exception for positions requiring many technical skills, such as IT roles.

  1. Your résumé should be as long as needed to convey your message

For recent college graduates, one page is probably enough, yet someone with a great deal of experience and education shouldn’t shy away from going to another page. Remember, the important thing is that your résumé conveys your message – don’t make it any longer or shorter than it should be.

  1. Photos don’t help

It’s the opposite of what you’ve learned about social media. While photos are a great way to get your LinkedIn or other profiles noticed, it can be counterproductive with résumés, since the recruiter is likely to concentrate on it at the expense of your written material.

  1. Be sure to proofread

It’s one of the most common errors that can ruin even the best résumés: Make sure your writing is free of spelling and grammar errors by proofreading again and again. Having another pair of eyes review your writing is a great way to ensure you don’t miss anything.

For a 15-minute résumé and cover letter review, visit Mihaylo Career Services, which will be housed at SGMH 2404 through August. Their summer walk-in hours are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Thursdays from 2 to 6 p.m. For more information, visit them online, call 657-278-8738 or email

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