Author, speaker and columnist Vicki Salemi visited with Studio 512 about her top tips for résumés for job seekers. It starts with rethinking the extent of what a résumé can do for you: Vicki says, “The overall purpose is not to land the job (that’s what the interview is for). The goal is to open the door to get an interview.”

Vicki’s Tips:

How long is too long? 2 pages, max. Your executive statement should come first, as well as your most recent job history. List your education on the back page. Recruiters often don’t look at a résumé for more than a couple of seconds, and you need to grab their attention, fast. If you’re a first-time job seeker, it’s okay to list your education higher up, since you won’t have as much work experience to mention. Make sure to list relevant skills to the job, even if you haven’t done exactly this type of work in the past.

What should job seekers highlight/what really needs to “pop” on the page? An executive summary at the top is your friend! Use action words that will qualify and quantify your abilities.

Should we adjust our résumé for each job we apply to? Yes. And it’s important! Even if you’re just tweaking a few words, optimizing your searchability in the company database is a smart way to get your résumé noticed.

What are some common mistakes people make? Don’t forget to spell check your document (and go over it again, because examples like too/to/two won’t get caught by autocorrect!), and eliminate any company jargon. Vicki’s added tip: intelligent use of industry-wide acronyms can help showcase your knowledge! Be careful to use words/acronyms that anyone else in a similar position across your industry can understand, and define them.

How do we make it a “no-brainer” for recruiters to green light our candidacy, and schedule an interview? Speak the employer’s language using the same keywords indicated in their job description. If you’re looking for a recruiting role and the company uses the words “talent acquisition” instead of “recruiting,” use those same words they use in your résumé.

If you were impacted by the pandemic and lost your job, do you account for the gap in work history on your résumé? Yes. It will likely come up as a question in the interview, so it’s best to get out ahead of it. Even just a single line explanation is fine: “Lost job due to pandemic.” If you’ve previously quit a job without having another one lined up, Vicki suggests a line like “Spent time doing self-reflecting before pursuing a new career path.”

Vicki Salemi is a nationally recognized career expert for Monster. She’s an author, career coach, speaker, columnist, spokesperson and consultant. Vicki gives insight from her 15 years of experience in corporate recruiting and human resources, and she is passionate about empowering people in their careers. Learn more about the resources and tips Vicki offers at