Once I post for an open position, I am inundated with hundreds of resumes. It’s nearly impossible to read every word of the resume, so I often flip through to look for specific information. A fancy resume will not get my attention but a clean, crisp and easy to read resume will. If the resume is more than two pages, or is filled with too much information, I will probably toss it aside.
Think of your resume as a marketing tool to help you secure an interview. It’s not a biography or a career obituary. Resumes are not an official document, so most employers will have you complete a job application with all the details and have you sign that as an official employment document. A well-written resume that is easy to read will increase your chances of catching the attention of a potential employer.
Here are 9 resume tips:
- The resume should be clean and inviting to read. Make sure that the font size is easy to read and used consistently. Use bullets, bolding or lines to guide the readers’ eyes. Allow for a good balance between text and white space. Make all margins even on all sides. Some find justified margins on the right a distraction.
- Spell check, spell check and spell check. Typos on a resume are just plain bad. Run everything through a grammar and spell check on the computer, but don’t rely solely on that. Proofread the resume and ask someone to read it over as well. Ask them to point out not only grammar/spelling errors, but unclear phrases or irrelevant details.
- Student resumes should start with educational accomplishments. Students should put their best foot forward. Recent graduates with only part-time or odd job experience should put their education first. Include the school, graduation month/year, and specific major. Also include the GPA in the major and the overall GPA.
- Focus on accomplishments, not boring job duties. Most people can perform basic job duties — so stress the accomplishments while doing the job. What were the results of these accomplishments and quantify them by using numbers, percentages, dollar amounts or other concrete measures of success.
- Resumes should be one page. Since most resumes need to be printed out – two pages can easily be separated.
- Know what not to include. Avoid outlining irrelevant information such as age, height, weight, names of family members; detailed lists of hobbies or short courses taken (unless they’re relevant to the position being sought). Do not include references to health, reasons for leaving past jobs or salary history.
- Start each resume entry with strong verbs and action phrases. Managed, directed, saved, completed, and so on.
- There’s no need to refer to those references. Do not include the phrase “References available upon request”. Hiring managers know that they can get references if they request them. Give all references a copy of the resume and a heads up that they might be contacted.
- Follow instructions. Submit materials exactly the way the employer wants to see them. If a company specifies that it only accepts resumes online or via email, comply with their request.