Oh, the resume. The bane of many a job-seeker’s existence but the primary source of information for hiring managers and recruiters.
There are some pretty standard pieces of advice when creating your resume and some that maybe you’re not aware of. We’ve compiled all our resume tips into a comprehensive list to help you ensure that your resume isn’t doing more harm than good.
Triple check your spelling/grammar
Get it right. Over-looking improper or auto-corrected words and language can give the impression that you’re not someone who pays attention to detail. Which couldn’t be further from the truth…right?
Accurately list Previous Employer/Title/Dates of Employment
Organize your resume so someone skimming it can get an idea of your background and how your skills can be applied. Be sure to list every job accurately starting with your most recent position in descending order.
Don’t write in the 1st person
Stay away from “I” or “we” in your resume. It’s your resume, we get it.
Avoid fancy fonts
Use the simplest fonts that are sans serif, fonts without the extra lines on the end of the letter, so anything that looks similar to Times New Roman is out.
Tell the truth
If you were a part of a team that implemented a new technology, don’t claim all the credit. If you say you managed a process, be prepared to describe that process to an interviewer. Misrepresenting your skills can only backfire in the long run.
Modify your resume based on the role
You have many talents but some jobs may only require specific expertise. Modify your resume to reflect the pieces of your experience that best match the requirements of the job and the job description.
Incorporate Relevant Keywords
Keywords help companies, and their database systems, identify resume and job description alignment. Recruiters look at your resume and make a go/no-go decision in 3 seconds. Keywords are a balancing act. Chose them carefully but be mindful not to put every keyword under the sun because you can’t be an expert in everything. Hone in on your expertise rather than every platform your company utilizes. Too many keywords will knock you out of consideration.
Keep it brief
Really and truly no resume should ever be over 2 pages, but we get that you have a lot to say – the absolute max is 4 pages. A 7-11 page resume is a major turn off to a potential employer and their printers! Your resume should be intriguing enough for them to call you and ask for additional details.
Build your resume in Word
This tip is particularly handy if you’re sending your resume to a recruiter. Staffing companies sometimes have to the follow resume formatting rules for their clients, meaning they may need to do additional formatting after you send. Avoid building your resume with tables and stick to bullets. The simpler the construction, the better. Not sending to a recruiter and not sure of which format to use? Send in both Word and PDF to minimize back and forth with the person reviewing your resume.
Include a Cover letter
Yes, a cover letter. That archaic document that has been pushed to the wayside. Let’s call it vintage and get it back in style. Since nobody sends cover letters today, you will get a decision-maker’s attention. Make sure that is tailored for that job and company. Don’t fall into the trap of copy and paste and forget to change the company name and job title. And if you don’t know the person’s name, address your letter to “Hiring Manager”, old formats such as “Dear Sirs” can be quite offensive if you don’t know whom is on the receiving end.
Use Bullets not Paragraphs
You can thank twitter for this one, but people have less time and interest in reading anymore. Organizing your resume in bullets is like a series of little tweets and seems less daunting to read than a big block of text.
Share with Caution
If you include an additional information section, do not put your marital status, non-professional hobbies, and religious activities unless they are relevant to the line of occupation or organization. You never know whose hands your resume will end up in. Your resume should be designed to get you in the door for an interview. Once you have landed that step you can share more personal information as appropriate.
Place important pieces on top
Put your professional summary on top, experience next, and education on bottom. Highlight your top skills in the professional summary, include relevant responsibilities in the experience section, and all education, minus graduation dates, in the education section.
While these pointers are fresh on your mind – go update that resume! You never know when you’ll meet someone who would be a good connection or when a recruiter calls with a perfect opportunity for you.
What other resume tips do you have that have worked for you?