Landing a job is harder than ever. Nowadays, resumes are the first thing an employer sees from you, since applying online is considered the norm. If you are applying to all the jobs you see, yet you can’t seem to get an interview, your problem might lie with your resume. Here are 5 tips to make your resume worth reading.
1. Edit your resume for each job opportunity
More likely than not, one resume that you send to several employers is probably not going to be what each and every one of them is looking for. I made this mistake when I was first looking for jobs. I would write a standard resume and send them to any job opening that I saw. The problem with this is that it usually means that your resume is too standard. For each job, fine-tune your resume to catch the interest of that specific employer. For example, most job listings provide a list of qualities they look for in an employee. In your resume, state accomplishments or skills that show that you hold the qualities they look for in a prospective employee. Overall, employers can most likely tell when they are being given a cookie-cutter resume, so take the time to make sure you fine-tuning your resume for each opportunity. That way you can better appeal to each employer.
2. Boost your accomplishments
It’s important to make your accomplishments, whether it be from school or other jobs, a key part of your resume. Employers want to see what you are able to do. This is why you “boost” your accomplishments. Use language that bolsters the level of accomplishments you hold. Don’t be afraid to use language that strengthens your accomplishments as well (without lying of course). Everyone else will be doing the same, so if you choose to be humble, it will hurt you. Finally, instead of making an accomplishments section, try to incorporate your accomplishments into their corresponding areas. If you have made the dean’s list, include that in the education section. If you were top performer at your previous job, include that in your job history. Overall, don’t be afraid to brag on yourself and bolster your accomplishments. These things are what employers look for in possible candidates!
Too often, people get overzealous with their resumes and submit a 2 or 3 page document with unnecessary information. An example of unnecessary information would be like high school accomplishments, or accomplishments that do not pertain at all to the job you are applying for. Also, using too many words to explain a simple idea can increase the length of your resume for no reason. Make sure you are using simple, concise, and active language to fit as much information into the resume as possible. You want to make sure that your resume is no more than 1 page. Anything more will likely not get read. Make sure you are only including the information relevant to the job you are applying for. If you got on the honor roll your freshman year of high school, that’ great! But it’s irrelevant and too dated to include on your resume. Also, skills/traits that are generic, like responsibility for example, have no place on a resume. Those things are expected of a job applicant. Also, your responsibility will be showcased by your job history and/or accomplishments. It’s best to leave skills that are too generic off of a resume and instead include things like “fluent in Microsoft Office”. Overall, you want to do your best to cut things down to 1 page and fill it with the most important and relevant information. Focus on wording, relevancy, and cutting out redundancy to streamline your resume.
4. Format in order of importance
When an employer is reading your resume under a time crunch, which is probably 99% of the time, they are going to skim the top half and move on. Because of this, it’s important that you find a way to put your most important information near the top. Formatting in the order of importance is crucial to display your best traits/accomplishments/and job history in a way that will get read efficiently, even if it is being skimmed. If you have attained outstanding accomplishments throughout your career, but you put them all at the bottom, they are not being read. Overall, this is an easy way to make your resume more effective. Simply shift around the information that makes you a a great candidate to the top.
5. Visually appealing
If you are sending in your resume in Comic Sans font, you are not getting the job. I doubt anyone is doing that, but the visual aspect of your resume is very important. Make sure you are sticking to a professional layout, font, and overall appearance. On the flip side, you don’t want your resume to be a straight up list in Times New Roman with no other visuals, your resume can look thrown together last minute as an afterthought. You want to make your resume eye-catching and pleasing to look at, without being over the top. A great way to do that is to format it like a brochure with columns and borders. You can find great resume templates online that are already formatted to look professional and visually appealing. All you have to do is fill out your information. Overall, crafting a visually appealing resume does not have to be difficult. Just stick with the principle of simplicity and spice it up where you see fit without going over the top. Going on the internet to find a resume template is another great way to make a visually appealing resume, as these templates are already formatted to have spaces for relevant information. These templates also tend to be pleasing to the eye. At the end of the day, your resume is the first thing an employer sees from you, so you must make sure it makes a good first impression.