5 Golden Rules for an Incredible Resume

Austin Belcak recently analyzed more than 125,000 resumes and his findings are an absolute goldmine for job seekers. Let's dive in!

tl;dr - 5 Key Learnings

  1. Resumes with a LinkedIn profile see higher interview rates, but only 48% of resumes included a LinkedIn profile
  2. Candidates only included 51% of important keywords and skills, heavily under-indexing on soft skills
  3. Measurable metrics improve resume outcomes, but only 26% of resumes included five or more metrics
  4. Research shows the ideal resume length is 475–600 words, 77% of resumes fell outside of that range
  5. Fluffy content takes away from a resume's value, but 51% of resumes included buzzwords, cliches, or incorrect pronouns

You can get a free PDF copy of my consulting resume here!

Watch it in action

🤔 How can you improve your resume?

#1 - Include a LinkedIn Profile

The difference between a comprehensive profile and basic one boils down to:

  • Having a professional headshot and LinkedIn banner
  • How informative your work detail section is
  • How much effort you put into building meaningful connections

Keep in mind that having a strong LinkedIn profile is more important for entry-level job seekers compared to their higher level peers. I have a LinkedIn tips & tricks playlist that explains this and how to get a custom LinkedIn URL. Check it out here!

#2 - Include the “right” Keywords and Skills

When submitting applications online, Applicant Tracking Systems scan for certain keywords and experiences to filter out “low potential candidates”.

To overcome this, you can use free online word cloud tools to identify the keywords that pop up most frequently for the job description and include those in your resume.

When writing the “Skills/Interests” section, make sure to include hard skills AND soft skills. Take a look at Udemy’s “Workplace Trends” report or CNBC’s summary to see which of the top 10 in-demand soft skills are most applicable to you.

#3 - Include Measurable Results in Your Bullet Points

A popular XYZ Resume Bullet Point formula: “Accomplished [X] as measured b [Y], by doing [Z]”

For example if you’re a content marketing manager, your bullet point might look like this:

  • Drove 2,500 organic sign-ups to our monthly newsletter by A/B testing content layout and collaborating with co-marketing partners, representing a 43% quarter-on-quarter increase

If your work does not have a direct impact on growth or revenue, you want to link your achievements to the end result.

For example, if you’re working on your company’s internal tools, you can say your improvements lead to a 33% increase in productivity by the sales team, translating to X amount of incremental sales.

Pro Tip: Recruiters and hiring managers care more about the effort you put into quantifying your work achievements vs. the numbers themselves

#4 - Keep Your Resume Length Between 475 and 600 Words

Don’t keyword stuff your resume—it’s not about how many keywords you have, it’s about having the ones that match the job. Don’t forget to use the word count tool in Word or Google Docs to make sure you’re within that sweet spot 😉

#5 - Do Not Use Buzzwords and Cliches!

Buzzwords, fluff, and cliches are unnecessary and take away from your message. Your writing should always be selling your experience, not summarizing it.

A practical solution: Google “resume cliches and buzzwords” and remove all the ones you find in your resume to get an instant upgrade!