While applying for the job along with your skills and abilities, your resume plays a major role. Resumes typically provide the first impression of your qualifications to a prospective employer. It acts like your sword in the battlefield. However, if the sword is not well maintained and rusted, it will not have an impact that it is supposed to have.
Resumes have been popular for decades; however, many people struggle to create a winning resume. Writing a good resume is more than just putting together a list of the schools you have attended, positions you have held, or companies you have worked for. Presenting your skills and experience in a way that shows how your career aligns with what they are searching for will better ensure that you will secure an interview. But, how do you do that? How do you make sure your resume is among the few that are selected for an interview?
Here are some of the key Do’s and Don’ts that can ensure that your resume makes the strongest possible first impression. Take a look, then pull up your resume and make sure it’s recruiter-ready:
- Tailor your resume to the job description: write a resume for this one job, as if no other jobs exist. Drop the company’s name, identify relevant resume keywords, and so on.
- Make your resume easy on the eyes. Use legible, appropriately sized and styled fonts, a discernable margin on all four sides, clearly defined subtitles, and high-contrast colors. Choose the best resume layout possible.
- Use consistent formatting.
- Curate a summary of yourself that makes you stand out – uniquely qualified to take on their job. Remember, this is your elevator pitch, so make it sound like one.
- Expand on professional, volunteer, research, and classroom experiences to show transferable skills.
- Make the resume about the employer. Explain and detail to them how hiring you will benefit the company and how much they will not regret it.
- Within each section, you must list experiences in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent.
- List the most important, relevant items first. For example, you may decide to move your “Internships” and “Projects” sections above your “Customer Service Experience” section. Underneath each experience, you should also put the most important bullet points first.
- Create strong, action-oriented statements about your work.
- Ask someone to proofread your resume. Submitting a resume that has spelling or grammatical errors indicates low attention to detail.
- Don’t make your resume a nightmare to read by using weird fonts and headache-inducing colors. Don’t use cursive fonts, too, or anything too creative.
- Don’t write dense, lengthy paragraphs for descriptions.
- Stop mass spamming your resume to every business in a 50-mile radius. That is bad resume etiquette, and you will just get mass-rejected.
- Don’t start with a generalized summary, nor one that reads like an outlandish pipe dream. Definitely what not to do on a resume!
- Don’t exaggerate accomplishments or skills. Hiring managers will be able to tell if you are inflating your growth numbers, overstating your role in profit increases or exaggerating your responsibilities.
- Don’t list all the things that you are looking to receive if they hired you, such as, “Looking forward to advancing my career and gaining useful experience.”
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Apply to multiple positions that match your career interests.
- Submit references on the same page as your resume. They should be kept in a separate document and provided when the employer asks for them.
- Don’t use words with negative connotations—even if you are using them in a positive light.
- Don’t include obvious skills. Everyone assumes you know how to use Microsoft Word. In addition, the internet. Use your valuable resume space to highlight skills that actually make you stand out.
Your resume is often a potential employer’s first impression of you, so make it count! Present your value, evidenced by how you have contributed to, grown and improved other organizations. This will impress upon the target company that you can make a strong, positive impact there as well. Taking extra care with your resume will help ensure it gets to the top of the “yes” pile.