Many people often complain that in spite of their impressive professional profiles, relevant job experiences and having applied at so many places, the interview calls still elude them. However, while true, most of the time the candidates themselves are to be blamed for their resume not getting the right attention during the screening stage as they are not aligned with the initial screening process.
Most of the medium and large sized companies nowadays hire people either through external recruitment agencies
or have their own HR departments with internal recruiters. In either case the hiring managers may not be directly involved in the initial screening part, which leads to many of the promising candidates being eliminated prematurely at the preliminary stage of the process.
The average time duration a recruiter spends on any resume in the first go hardly exceeds 30 - 40 seconds - and this first minute impression is very crucial for the applicants and may make or break their chances of getting shortlisted for the interview round. It is therefore very important that your resume has sufficient substance and a logical presentation style to make you stand out from the crowd.
Except for a few specialist head-hunting firms, who have in their organization expert search staff for each domain, most of the recruitment agencies employ generalists who do not have required industry expertise and while screening the candidates they rely mainly on the keywords or they just go through the objective/summary sections and decide whether to read on. Thus your chances of elimination during the initial round of the selection process are quite high if you are not presenting the details in a top-down and easy to read format for the recruiter.
The objective/summary section if included in your resume should be such as to arouse the reader’s curiosity. Normally people at the entry level or the ones with up to four to five years of experience do not need this section as they do not have much to show in terms of professional competencies or specific career achievements.
However it may be useful for the mid to senior level roles where the candidate would like to highlight at the top of the resume, the career summary along with key accomplishments that differentiate them from others. However experts suggest that, whenever included, this section should be brief and precise with just 2-3 paras of text.
The ideal size of an effective resume is between two or three pages and unnecessary details about past projects should be avoided and, if required, these may be included as an annexure to be shared separately. Similarly including professional references as part of resume is also not a best practice and these references should be left for the last stage of the process when asked for by the prospective employer.
The other tip for the job seekers would be to keep the formatting of their resume simple with black/gray colors and with easy to read format - fancy styling wherever possible should be avoided as it distracts the reader’s attention from the real substance.