Ask Matt: How can I write a résumé that will get me noticed?

  • Article by: MATT KRUMRIE
  • October 20, 2013 - 2:45 PM

Dear Matt: I hear employers spend less than a minute screening each résumé they receive, and some are never screened. Is this true? When screening résumés, what do employers look for?

Matt says: Due to the sheer volume of candidates (and often a small recruiting team), résumés are quickly scanned to determine which ones warrant a deeper review and attention, says Lisa Frame-Jacobson, director of recruiting for STAR Collaborative (, a professional staffing and placement firm. In addition, many companies — especially larger ones — have recruiting software that automatically rejects a candidate before the résumé is ever seen by a real person if relevant keywords for the position are not included.

Remember this: The goal of the résumé is to get an interview. A résumé alone does not get you the job and that’s why each résumé should be customized to each job you apply for.

“Your résumé should be viewed as a continuous process, as each position you apply for has different requirements and responsibilities,” says Frame-Jacobson. “Do not underestimate the importance of revising your résumé to reflect the specific needs of each position you apply to. The best résumés effectively detail how your knowledge, skills and abilities fit that specific job.”

Build your résumé to showcase what you personally achieved in your positions, such as cost savings, increased customer satisfaction, improved processes and areas or projects led. Think about what you did and what the results were — include those details on the résumé.

Frame-Jacobson offered these tips:

• Proper grammar, sentence structure, punctuation and spelling are essential, as is visual appeal. Do not put so much information on the page that it’s cluttered and hard to read. It should never be more than two pages.

• Avoid internal jargon, abbreviations and acronyms. Each company has its own ones, and recruiters and hiring managers outside the companies where you have worked may not know what you are referring to.

• Go back 10-15 years, but if your entire work history relates to that specific job it’s fine to go back farther.

• Ask several trusted folks to review and edit for content and accuracy.

Before you submit your résumé, review the job description one more time, then look at your résumé and pretend you are the recruiter. Ask yourself: Would I want to interview me, based on this résumé?

“This is not the time to be shy,” says Frame-Jacobson. “Your résumé markets you and many conclusions are made by recruiters based on your résumé” — and the biggest is this: Should we or should we not bring this person in for an interview?

Contact Matt at

© 2014 Star Tribune