Catching an employer’s attention during a busy hiring period is hard. It requires attention to detail and keeping your resume content simple, yet visually appealing. A resume or online profile should convey the personality and background of an individual without deterring a hiring manager or employer from reaching out regarding a job opportunity.
Based on my experience running a GOP staffing agency, here are four ways job seekers can gain an edge this cycle:
Up your LinkedIn game.
LinkedIn serves as an important tool for recruiters, hiring managers, and employers in the campaign industry. Looking for a campaign job this cycle? Make sure to have a LinkedIn profile that appears professional in nature and is being updated and active.
Any LinkedIn activity should be viewed as not just another social media outlet, but instead as a digital CV and a platform to expand on professional accomplishments that may not be able to fit on a one-page file. While video resumes have faded some from the hiring world, other options exist to enhance a digital CV or printable resume to demonstrate a candidate’s full potential.
Add a personalized touch.
If you want to spruce up your resume, make sure you are doing it the right way. Similar to a LinkedIn picture, a headshot on a resume must be appropriate and not distract from the overall content. Design elements used effectively convey a candidate’s personality while also standing out from other digital resumes that come across a recruiter’s screen. Logos, icons, and numbers as part of a resume demonstrate one’s capabilities and past accomplishments, such as “number of accounts managed” or “voters reached throughout the primary campaign.”
When adding design elements, always keep color and style in mind. Select a strong, basic color such as a shade of blue or red. Stick with the same color throughout and consider having an artistic friend design and format for you to make sure everything looks correct. Colors can also serve as a divider between resume sections, such as contact info and work experience.
Make it one-page and not a mini-booklet.
A hiring manager’s time is valuable. A potential employer has a few minutes, maybe less to absorb what a resume has to offer about a candidate. The significance of a one-page resume extends beyond the political and campaign realm, too.
The amount of space allows the candidate to get to the point about their experiences, qualification, and skillset. When evaluating space on a one-pager, always follow the cardinal rule of chronological order. Don’t force a hiring manager to guess what your most recent job was based on your resume layout. In all likelihood, a candidate’s chances of being considered will plummet when an employer can’t follow a resume’s format after that initial glance.
Space is precious so don’t take up too much room with lines and lines about your education and references while potentially leaving little room for relevant work experience. On the same note regarding space, including references is not an absolute must. References clutter a resume if not organized and formatted properly. Be sure to have a PDF file with your references ready though as an employer or hiring manager will ask for them during the hiring process.
Think about your PDF naming convention.
An often overlooked item for a resume includes the filename itself. Choose a naming convention that’s appropriate and easy for both you and the employer to look for and read. Don’t simply choose "Resume updated 2019" or "Resume and References."
Stick with something simple such as LastName_FirstName_2019. The easier you make it for the employer and for yourself, the more likely it is your resume stands out from the clutter and noise. Keeping a resume simple and organized will go a long way in proving a candidate is ready for the next big step of an interview.
For practical purposes, always use a PDF when sending a resume. A PDF prints better and is easier on the eyes than a Word doc. When saving your resume, double check that it’s a searchable PDF and includes key industry works such as job titles and verbs that convey your accomplishments and relevant technical skills. These skills, such as coding languages and specific software, might be exactly what an employer is looking for so always ensure that this information is visible and accurate.
Clean and concise formatting remains the preference for recruiters and employers. Consistency throughout a one-page resume displays attention to detail on the part of a job seeker and more importantly prevents an immediate distraction to the individual reading the document.
If you’re using bullet points in one section, then use bullet points in subsequent sections. And check the spacing throughout the resume too so that there isn’t extra white space with uneven lines. Once all that is done hit send.
Jacob McLaughlin is executive director at Majority Hunter, a Republican operative staffing agency.