Report an accessibility problem

Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering | Resources for Online Students

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “you only have one chance to make a good first impression.”

I’m sure you’ve met someone who initially didn’t impress you. Then you met them again and they made a better impression, but you couldn’t get past the first meeting. That first impression set the tone with that person going forward. This can be said about your résumé as well. Contrary to what you may think, the résumé does not get you the job. However, it is the first and critical step towards landing a job.

Ninety percent of Fortune 500 companies filter job applicants and résumés through an applicant tracking system. A recruiter, administrative assistant or manager enters keywords from the job opening and the résumés with the most matches advance near the top. If it passes this initial process, a hiring manager spends six seconds scanning the résumé and makes a decision as to whether you are a suitable candidate. Managers are very busy and your résumé must catch their interest quickly.

Would your résumé pass the applicant tracking filter and the six-second scan test?

In the past month, I’ve met with six recent alumni for job search assistance. They applied and submitted their résumés to numerous positions, but hadn’t received any calls for an interview. When asked whether someone has reviewed their résumé, the response was no. As I read their résumés, I identified potential problems: skills not identified, key academic projects overlooked, vague or confusing accomplishment statements, absence of action verbs, typos/grammatical errors, omitting important activities that would be of interest to an employer. During the review, I explained the process and coached them in making improvements. As a result, their résumés were more polished and they had renewed confidence in their skills.

When was the last time your résumé was reviewed? As you can see, it’s essential to have it reviewed before submission. This applies to all students whether you are pursuing your first professional position, transitioning to a new career or looking for advancement within your company. We are here to help and make it easy for you to do so by submitting your résumé through Optimal Résumé, under Resources.

The staff and peer career coaches don’t want you to make a good first impression, we want you to make a great one!

Betty Boza is a Career Development Specialist in the Fulton Schools Career Center. She has a Master’s degree in Professional Counseling and has the Master Career Counselor designation in the National Career Development Association.