4 Resume Tips to Make a Great First Impression

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How to give your resume the best chance at being included in the “Yes” pile.

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We all know how important a resume is. We all know the resume is often the first time a recruiter has the chance to become familiar with a candidate.

What we might not know, though, is that according to Business Insider the average time a recruiter spends on a resume is 6 seconds. Yes, I said 6 seconds which is hard to believe. So if your resume does not pass the recruiter’s eye test, your resume goes from the “maybe” pile to the “see you later, we are never hiring you” pile.

That is why first impressions matter so much.

In the wise words of Will Rogers, “You never get a second chance to make a great first impression,” and this is true for your resume, the first time you meet someone and during the interview.


It is your responsibility as a sports biz professional to keep this in mind as you look for you first internship or third full-time job. Sports recruiters and hiring managers get hundreds or even thousands of resumes because everyone wants to work in sports. Because of that, they have less time to go through resumes which means… APPEARANCE MATTERS.

To make it easier for you, I’ve created The Appearance Test, which will help you and your resume become more desirable and increase your chances of moving on in the hiring process.

1. Spelling and grammar MUST be correct

This is an obvious one, but I can’t tell you how often I hear of people having spelling and grammar mistakes on their resume. This is absolutely UNACCEPTABLE! Spelling and grammar mistakes are the easiest way to end your chance of making it further in the hiring process.

Darin White from Samford University makes it very clear, “If you have any grammar problems it communicates from the start that you do not pay attention to details” which is often a characteristic employers look for.

Instead, take an extra five minutes to proofread you resume and then another five minutes to reread your resume. Better yet, have a friend, mentor, colleague, professor or any literate person you trust take a look and give you feedback.

2. Formatting MUST be easy to follow and understand

This means everything needs to be formatted correctly. A resume is often a one-page document that tells your story, qualifications and value. Make it as easy as possible for a recruiter to follow along. I recommend using the bold, italic, and underline features (see what I did there). This will help differentiate the segments of your resume and make it easier to follow and understand.

3. Consistency and conciseness is a MUST

When you are putting together your resume, be concise and consistent. Make sure you are consistent on everything from punctuation to spacing. Recruiters aren’t necessarily going to read your resume from top to bottom. As a matter of fact, they are probably going to jump around from section to section so if your resume is consistent and your formatting is correct, it will be easier for them to navigate through your resume.

4. Submitting the PDF version is a MUST

Whenever you submit your resume digitally through an online portal or through an email, you must send the PDF version. The reason for this is two–fold: this will preserve your desired formatting (different versions of Microsoft Word might change the appearance) and a PDF raises the barrier for someone else to change your resume. Once your resume is complete, save it as a PDF to your desktop. Now, your resume is easily accessible and ready to upload for when you apply for jobs.


While we are only focusing on the appearance of your resume in this article, it is imperative you understand how important first impressions are. I said it earlier and I’ll say it again. If you do not make a good first impression and pass The Appearance Test, your resume will go straight from the “under consideration” pile to the “he shoots, he scores in the trash” pile.

Your resume is often the gateway to the interview. It is one of the first parts of the hiring process. All it takes is little extra effort to ensure you have no mistakes, so invest in yourself!

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