How To Get Your Resume Shortlisted: A Step-By-Step Guide

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

During the hiring process, many recruiters make a shortlist of candidates. Screening and shortlisting resumes help companies find the most qualified candidates out of many applicants. If you are planning to apply for a new job role, then understanding how shortlisting works can help you increase your chances of getting hired. In this article, we explain how to get your resume shortlisted and share some tips that can help you distinguish yourself as a candidate.

How To Get Your Resume Shortlisted

Getting your resume shortlisted during the hiring process means you are on a list of candidates selected in the initial round of screening. If your resume gets shortlisted, then you may receive an invitation to interview from the employer. Here are some steps that can help you in the shortlisting of your resume:

1. Use a Professional Template

Before writing your resume, use a professional template to highlight your skills and experience. Make sure the template you use is easier to follow. A good resume template can allow recruiters to quickly learn about the skills and educational details of candidates. Candidates can select a template depending on their experience level, career goals and industry. For example, candidates with limited work experience can highlight their relevant skills with a functional resume instead of a chronological resume.

Read more: Best Font For Resume: How To Choose Type And Size

2. Incorporate Keywords From The Job Posting

Review the job description and find keywords that you can include in your resume. Make sure the keywords are related to the job and are relevant to the requirements of the company. Some companies may use an automated screening software and scan resumes for specific keywords. Including keywords related to the skills and qualifications required for the job can help you pass the initial screening and shortlisting process.

3. Add A Summary

A summary is a statement at the top of a resume that summarises the skills, experience and qualifications of candidates. You can add a summary of two to three sentences and tell employers about the value you can bring to the organisation. Make sure you highlight the most relevant skill and credentials related to the job. Many candidates with limited experience can also add an objective instead of a summary. Create an objective to show your enthusiasm for the job and the goals you wish to accomplish at the organisation.

Read more: How To Write A Profile Summary For Freshers (With Examples)

4. Include Relevant Skills

Depending on the job role and industry, employers may look for specific skills on a resume. Including relevant skills can help hiring managers decide if you are suitable for the position. Before writing the skills section in your resume, carefully read the job description and research the company. You can also highlight important skills in other parts of your resume. For example, project managers can highlight their leadership skills by writing ‘conducted and organised regular team meetings.' Here are some common skills that recruiters may look for in a resume:

  • Communication skills

  • Adaptability

  • Teamwork

  • Problem-solving skills

  • Organisation

  • Basic knowledge of computer

  • Logical thinking

5. Mention Your Accomplishments

You can add your accomplishments while describing your previous work experience. Create a bulleted list of responsibilities and accomplishments for each previous role you mentioned on the resume. Including accomplishments in your experience section can show your contribution to other companies. If you are an entry-level candidate then you can mention your internships or freelance projects instead of your work history. Start each bullet point with an action verb. You can also include numbers while writing your accomplishments.

6. Decide The Length Of Your Resume

The length of a resume may vary depending on various factors such as job position, education and experience level of the candidate. Employers usually prefer shorter resumes, as they may have many resumes to review. You can create a resume of one or two pages. Candidates with more experience and accomplishments can use a two-page resume to cover all important information. The format you choose can also impact the length of your resume.

7. Edit And Proofread

A resume tells about the qualifications and potential of candidates. A well-written resume without any grammatical or spelling mistakes can make a good impression on hiring managers. While editing, make sure the content of your resume is clear and highlight your most relevant qualifications. You can ask your friend to review your resume. A well-organised resume can increase your chances of getting selected for the interview.

Read more: How To Format And Write A Resume For University (With Tips)

Additional Tips To Get Your Resume Shortlisted

Here are some other tips that can improve your chances of getting shortlisted:

Avoid Tables Or Complicated Designs

Including tables, columns or any complicated designs in a resume can make it difficult for an employer to focus on the actual content. Keeping a simple design with the least amount of visual elements can provide a professional look to your resume. Even though tables and columns can be a great way to structure your resume and save space, they may be difficult to scan with an applicant tracking system.

Avoid Using Redundant Information

Redundant information or repeating the same thing can impact the quality of your resume. Avoid writing the same information in summary and experience sections. For example, instead of writing ‘ran Google Ads campaigns' and ‘optimised Google Ads campaigns' in two different sentences, write ‘ran and optimised Google Ads campaigns.' Adding new skills relevant to the job can make your resume engaging for the recruiter.

Read more: 10 Resume Writing Tips To Help You Land A Job

Include Data Or Details

You can share facts and details like the type of projects and realistic numbers while mentioning your accomplishments. Include the challenges you faced during a project and how you solved them. It can depict your ability to work in different situations along with your problem-solving skills. Using specific facts or details to explain your accomplishments can provide proof of your professional experience.

Highlight Your Certifications

Adding certification details to your resume can show your interest in the field. Freshers applying for a job can highlight their certifications instead of work experience. Certifications can work as proof that candidates have the necessary skills and experience to perform the job responsibilities. It can also show the relevance of candidates to the job role.

Add A Cover Letter

Candidates can also add a cover letter with their resumes. You can create a powerful cover letter and customise it for the job posting and the organisation. A cover letter can help you in providing additional details about your skills and expressing your personality to the employer. Here are some examples of content you can include in a cover letter:

  • skills and achievements that distinguish you as a candidate

  • explanation of any gap in your work history

  • discussion of how your personal values align with the goals of the organisation

Develop A Website Or Portfolio

Candidates working in the creative field can benefit by making an online portfolio. It can help them show their skills and work samples to hiring managers. Employers can review your portfolio and learn how your expertise can contribute to the company. Professionals like graphic designers and creative writers use a website to highlight their best work samples.

Read more: How To Write A Declaration In A Resume: A Complete Guide

Be Brief And Professional

While creating a resume, candidates can add details that are clear and to the point. Many employers appreciate a professional resume with the right format. Make sure you add all the important information in brief. If you want to explain your skills and experiences then you can add a cover letter with your resume. As employers may review hundreds of resumes for a job role, keeping your resume short and clear can help them easily decide if you are a good fit for the job.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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