As a full-service executive search firm, we’ve been helping food industry job seekers polish and perfect their resumes for over a decade, so we know what works and what definitely doesn’t. We’ve also pulled together some surprising statistics from a 2018 CareerBuilder survey of over 1,100 hiring managers.
With that said, here are eight areas we believe you should focus on when refreshing and reenergizing your resume.
Feature the right keywords
It should come as no surprise that most hiring managers don’t look at every single resume that comes their way. Depending on the demand for the company and position, they can be easily overwhelmed by the sheer number of applicants. This is where computer-assisted filtering comes into play.
A good hiring manager knows exactly what they’re looking for in an ideal candidate and will be narrowing down the field based on a set of specific keywords. When drafting your resume, be sure to prominently include these terms.
But how do you know what they’re looking for? That’s easy—the vast majority of the keywords are listed right there in the job description!
Speaking of keywords, don’t just copy and paste them right from the job description to your resume—especially if they’re not true of your personal experience. At its core, your resume is a marketing document. You want it to represent what you’ve done in the past, but also show future employers what you are capable of.
Instead of focusing on a job title or proficiency you are lacking, it’s important to highlight the areas you do excel at. Oftentimes employers are willing to hire someone who has a less impressive title or skillset but shows promise in other areas and is willing to train and learn on the job.
Tailor it to the position
At least 18% of hiring managers can tell a generic application when they see one. Fortunately, you don’t need to rewrite your resume from scratch for every new application. It could be as simple as bringing different skills to the top of the page for jobs that specifically mention them. Basically, if your resume checks off the majority of their requirement boxes, then you’re much more likely to be contacted.
Consider your audience
Another way to tailor your resume to a specific position is to take the actual recipient into consideration. An application for a grocery retail position and one in foodservice are going to read differently when it comes to tone and word choice. Do your research and try to get a feel for the environment of the organization. And when in doubt, err on the side of professional.
One area all employers agree on though—use a professional email address! Over 35% of hiring managers will pass you over if they have to reach out to an email address that you thought was funny in college.
Make sure their are no tpyos
If you didn’t catch the two errors in the subheading above (it should be “there” and “typos” for the record), then you need to pay special attention to this advice. Hiring managers are especially adept at catching even the smallest of errors that you overlooked when crafting your resume.
Before you send it out, proofread it several times. An estimated 77% of hiring managers toss out resumes at the first sight of a grammatical error or typo. If you’ve been working on it for hours, take a break and come back with a clear head. It also helps to read the whole thing out loud. Even if everything is spelled correctly, this will help highlight any awkward grammar and sentence structure.
Speaking of grammar, don’t rely on your computer’s spellchecker for that (they’re good, but nowhere near perfect). Even with the help of a computer, you’re always your own worst editor. Have a friend, family member, or trusted professional provide a second set of eyes for anything you may have missed.
Keep it clear and concise
Whether you’ve been in the work force for five weeks or fifty years, you need to keep your resume clear and concise. It’s perfectly acceptable to go over one page, but make sure you are only using the space you absolutely need.
While you’ll want to list every job you’ve held for at least the last ten years, you only need to elaborate on the ones that are most relevant to the position you’re applying for. If you still have too much information, start removing skills and qualifications that aren’t as pertinent.
The opposite is true as well, unfortunately. Too much blank space on your resume will make you look woefully inexperienced. Even if your work history is sparse, this leaves you more room to elaborate on your specific accomplishments.
Be sure to include hard numbers and actionable results to showcase the organizational impact you made in your current and previous roles. Depending on your previous roles, this may include any of the following:
- How many people did you lead?
- What was the size of your business unit/company?
- What metrics you improved?
- What was your sales responsibility and what was the top line sales growth?
- What was the gross margin improvement?
- How did you reduce customer complaints?
- What specific systems (FSMA, SQF/BRC, ERP, SAP, etc.) did you implement?
Make it visually appealing
In addition to keeping it brief, you want your resume to be as eye-catching and readable as possible. Studies show that nearly 40% of hiring managers spend less than a minute looking at each resume. This means that if they can’t easily find what they’re looking for, they’ll move on to the next one.
Unless you’re applying to be a graphic designer, you should avoid any groundbreaking layouts and stick to the tried and true templates. Make it easy to scan by avoiding large chunks of text and including plenty of bullet points and spacing between sections.
You should also avoid any fancy fonts and overusing italics and boldface. They’re still okay for the truly important stuff, but remember: if you highlight everything, you highlight nothing.
Consider hiring a resume writer or career coach
Arguably the best way to refresh and reenergize your non-performing resume is to hire a professional. Many resume writers have at least some experience on the hiring side, so they know what interviewers are looking for. They also have a trained eye to spot poor grammar and other inconsistencies that may have been affecting your resume for years.
You might be hesitant to spend the extra money (especially if you’re currently in between jobs), but they’re almost always worth the price. A few hours of their time can end up saving you weeks—if not months—of job searching. If you’re in the Twin Cities area, we highly recommend Carol Pitz Consulting.
Now you’re ready to apply
If you’ve followed these tips, then your resume should be ready to impress. If you’re looking for a position in the food or beverage industries, then check out our job board for plenty of great opportunities in sales, marketing, operations, food safety, and product development.
And when your new and improved resume does open up a conversation with the hiring team, be sure to read these 5 recruiter-proven strategies to prepare you for a job interview.
For over a decade, Curtis Food Recruiters has been matching food and beverage professionals with prominent, rewarding career opportunities. As a full-service executive search firm specializing in the food manufacturing and grocery retail industries, we are dedicated to helping job seekers find (and land) the perfect positions. Contact us today so we can do the same for you.