With so much competition these days, it can be difficult to stand out in the eyes of employers, recruiters, or hiring managers. Luckily for you, I dabbled in recruiting, so I know a thing or two about successfully grabbing the right kind of attention when all you have is your resume. A resume is immensely important because it is the first impression you make. If you are just graduating and don’t know where to begin when writing a resume, you might fall prey to several mistakes that may send your resume right to the “no” pile. Maybe you want to change your career path and switch industries but aren’t sure what to include on your resume to better highlight your skills. Take a look at these 10 resume writing tips if you are trying to snag your dream job.
1. Formatting is important.
If you’re looking for a place to start, it is important to consider whether or not the format in which you are presenting your information is clear. You want to avoid lengthy blocks of texts and instead write your duties/accomplishments for each job in bullet points. Also, make sure to use times new roman font in 11pt or 12pt so that it is easy to read. Also, do not write in the first person.
2. Try to keep your resume to one page.
This rule is especially true if you have just graduated college and are looking for an entry-level position. Point blank, no employer is going to read 3+ pages worth of writing. You want to make sure that you keep the employer’s attention. Be direct about your responsibilities and try to keep it around 5 bullet points for each position.
3. Make sure your resume is focused.
Building off of #2, you want to be direct and relevant when speaking about your skills/duties/accomplishments. If you are switching gears in your career, you may have a lot of experience that is not necessarily relevant to the specific job you are applying for. Try to tailor your resume to the job description to emphasize why you are qualified for the job you’re applying to. You want to make it obvious to whoever is reading your resume that you have the skills to do the job.
4. Include relevant accomplishments and skills.
Do not assume anything is a given. Just because your job title was “Financial Analyst” does not explain which systems you are comfortable with or what you did on a day to day basis. A lot of times, job titles are relative and job responsibilities are not contingent upon your title. If you leave certain technologies or systems off of your resume, a couple of things happen. First, you won’t come up in recruiter or employer searches on job boards/LinkedIn. Second, if the required skills of a position aren’t blatantly spelled out on your resume, you may get overlooked.
5. Don’t be too wordy.
As I said earlier, avoid lengthy sentences and make sure your wording is direct. Use industry-specific lingo/skills and try to avoid empty buzzwords. Hiring managers and recruiters are looking at hundreds of resumes a day, and will simply scan your resume to understand what you’re all about. Buzzwords and overused phrases are overlooked on resumes and therefore are a waste of space.
6. Use quantitative statistics.
When you are explaining the impact you made in your previous positions, it is important to include statistics to help the employer understand the value you could bring to their company. Making general claims can be useless and often looked over. You need to ground your claims to create credibility. If you had metrics you consistently hit, or you generated x amount of revenue, include it.
7. Make sure that your resume is not visually distracting.
A lot of people believe that in order to stand out in the employer’s eyes they need to make their resume some sort of work of art. If you are in certain industries then it can be helpful in displaying your creativity, but in a lot of cases, it is purely distracting. Let the content speak for itself and avoid fancy templates.
8. Show a clear timeline.
Make sure that your resume paints a picture of your career path in a reverse chronological fashion. Again, you do not have to include that work study you had in college, but any roles spanning more than 6 months after college that are relevant to the types of positions you’re looking for should be documented clearly. Having gaps on your resume does raise some questions so include major positions from after college.
9. Include websites/portfolio/blog etc.
Including links to your Linkedin, your blog, your portfolio, or any other relevant site is helpful because it helps to give more depth to your work and allows the employer to see a fuller picture. This is also helpful if next steps are requested because it speeds up the process, they won’t have to circle back to you for more information because they already have it.
This should go without saying and seems so simple, but I have seen many resumes with spelling errors or irregular punctuation. It may seem trivial to focus on, but it shows that you lack attention to detail and are too lazy to look over your resume before sending it along. We are all human, but this is a quick way to get your resume thrown into the “no” pile.
Have any more resume writing tips to add to this list? Let us know down below in the comments!
Young "professional," Providence College grad, above average procrastinator, reality tv enthusiast, high profile contributing member of society.