To land a satisfying job today, you need a perfect resume. A perfect resume means you have to get everything right. From the template to your choice of font and color, everything has to be right to grab the attention of target employers.
We understand that it is not an easy task to write a flawless resume, and that is why we have wrapped up some tips that will help you write the best resume possible. Now, without further ado, let’s have a look at these tips.
Table of Contents
Keep it simple
No recruiter will be interested in reading a complex and hard to understand resume. The more you keep your resume simple, the better. Use simple fonts and colors to keep your resume simple. Also, make sure to choose the right font size. In a nutshell, make sure your resume is legible because no recruiter will bother to read a complex resume.
Keep it short
While there is no hard rule that explicitly states how long your resume should be, it is recommendable to keep your resume short. A brief resume is attractive, easy to read, and often preferred by employers. Remember that employers go through hundreds of resumes every day. Making sure yours is short help them at first glance capture everything you have included.
Tailor your resume for every application
Every application has its requirements. In fact, no jobs matter how similar they are will have the same requirements. There will always be some variations. This means you cannot use the same resume to apply for different job openings. You have to edit your resume to fit every job opening. In fact, some of the well-experienced recruiters will tell between a well-customized resume and copy and paste one. In a nutshell, always make sure to customize your resume for every job opening.
Use active language
Use active language to write your resume. This means using words such as “finished,” “earned,” and “achieved” in your resume. For example, you can say, “Led multiple team-based projects and effectively coordinated group tasks.” One reason why it is advisable to use active language is because it helps you keep your resume short.
Bring it down a level
You are not sure who will see your resume first. It could be the CEO, the HR manager, an assistant, or any other person in the company. Making sure your resume is readable to all who see it a big plus and something you must work on very seriously. So, avoid throwing in tons of industry jargon that might be confusing to some readers.
Replace your objective statement with a career summary
A career summary is a section at the top of your resume that allows you to grab the attention of recruiters. You use this section to highlight who you are and what you can do. If you customize it well, you are always assured to grab the attention of your target employers.
List your information in reverse chronological order
While there are other recommended ways of listing information on your resume, always list in reverse chronological order. This approach allows recruiters to see your most current capabilities and qualifications, which are more valuable to them. Keep in mind that employers often consider the most recent information to pick the right candidates.
Include only relevant information
Recruiters are only interested in the relevant information. That is, information related to the job posting. Any other information is not necessary and will only put them off. So, try your best to remove any unnecessary information. You can even hire someone to trim your resume if you find it challenging to remove extra and irrelevant information.
Focus more on the top third of your resume
The top third of your resume is the most visible part and a part any recruiter sees at first glance. If you tailor this section well by putting the best stuff, you are almost assured to lure potential employers into reading your resume to the end.
Include online supplement
Do you have extra information you want to include? No need to force everything to fit in your resume. Instead, you can add a link to your website where you can explain further why you are the ideal candidate.
Include your contact details
Make sure to include your phone number, email address, and other places where hiring managers can find you. For example, you can add your LinkedIn profile and twitter handle.
Customize your resume for skimmability
Why? Recruiters spend a few seconds on a resume before deciding to trash it or consider it further. If your resume is skimmable, there are chances you will proceed to the next stages. Otherwise, no employer will bother to dive deeper and find more about you.
Keep your resume up-to-date
As a rule of thumb, update your resume often and remember to show the most recent 10- 15 years of your career history. Additionally, remember to include the experience relevant to the job you are applying for.
Besides, updating your resume makes sure you are ready to pounce when new opportunities pop up. So, develop a habit of updating your resume regularly.
No relevant experience? No worries!
What happens if you don’t have relevant experience? The answer is simple. Focus on relevant and transferrable skills, along with any academic project. Besides, remember to accompany your resume with a persuasive cover letter that details why you are the right candidate.
Curate your bullets
Never list more than five or six bullets in any given section, no matter how good your bullets are. More bullets are annoying to read and will only turn off recruiters. Plus, more bullets will occupy valuable space you can use to list other relevant information.
Show your impact
Use figures, facts, and numbers as you can in your bullet points to show impact. Using them helps you quantify your accomplishments, hence allowing hiring managers to get the big picture of you.
Take it one step further
Employers go for the best performers. That is people who not only do stuff but also get stuff done. Now, look at your bullet points and think of how best you can take each statement one step further. For example, add how you were, or you are a great value to your current boss or company. By doing this, you are showing what you are capable of and what you will offer once hired.
It is bad to practice to list your skills without supporting them. Only below average candidate list them. Are you one of them? Of course not. The best solution is supporting or demonstrating these skills with tangible information.
Additionally, only list those skills relevant to the job you are applying for. Skip those skills other candidates are likely to list. If you have a lot of skills related to a position, say software, leadership and foreign language, break them out further into new sections.
Before writing your resume, make sure to scan the job advert for relevant keywords. It is possible to notice the right keywords to use because they are always conspicuous. Including those keywords in your resume is a big plus and especially when the employer is using an applicant tracking system to scan resumes. Most of these systems are designed to notice resumes by scanning for specific keywords (often those keywords listed on the job adverts.)
Avoid empty words
There are specific words almost every job seeker will use. Team player, diligent, and problem solver are good examples of those words. These words are simply empty if you don’t support them. How can employers know you are a good problem solver or a good team player? The best way is to support them using clear examples.
Experience first, education second
The only exception is in case you graduated recently. Otherwise, your experience comes first, followed by your education. Your last few jobs are more crucial and relevant to you getting the job than where you went to college. And remember to keep it reverse chronological when listing your experience and education.
Skip the dates
No need to indicate your graduation date. Once you have graduated, what matters is that you earned it, not when you earned the degree.
Highlight honors, not G.P.A
It is ok to show your honor, but don’t bother yourself to list your GPA.
Include continuing or online education
Still studying? Make sure to show that in your resume. It is also ok to indicate you are schooling online. Today it is acceptable for people to study online, so don’t be afraid to say you are schooling online.
Indicating you are continuing with your education or studying online can show employers that you are determined and motivated to get the skills you need for your career.
Be aware of the interest that could be controversial
For example, if you have a penchant for canvassing during political campaigns. Such an interest may look good to you but very offensive to another person. In a nutshell, make sure to include interests you are confident will not hurt in any way people viewing your resume.
Strut your stuff
Make sure to include those awards you earned as well as personal achievement you think will help you stand out. For example, you can say, “Earned Gold Award for having the company’s top sales record four quarters in a row.”
Avoid listing the short-term jobs
According to The New York Times’ career coach, skipping a particularly short-lived job or two of your work history is ok, as long as you are honest about your experience if asked in an interview. So, feel free to skip short-term jobs in your resume.
Explain gaps and serial job-hopping on your employment
It is not automatic; there is a job for you after college. It is not also guaranteed after leaving one job; there is another opening for you. All these explain why job gaps exist. Whatever happens to be your reason, make sure your to be boss has complete details. The worst thing you can do is give false information on why a gap exists. Just be honest.
If you have been hopping from one job to another, also make sure to leave a note why it was worth it. Keep in mind, no employer is looking to hire today, and the following day you are gone.
Equally, remember to explain long breaks in your job. Don’t leave gaps in your resume that are likely to hurt your chances of landing an interview or securing the job.
Don’t try to get cute
Never try to fill in gaps on your resume creatively. For example, if you took some time out to take care of your sick relatives, don’t list that in your resume. Only add what is relevant and will make your resume stand out.
Include references only when asked
While you will be told to include references in your resume, it is ok to leave that section. If a recruiter is interested in you, he or she will ask you for references.
Proofread your resume
Your first draft will not be 100% ok. You need to go back and clean it. If you find it challenging to proofread, feel free to consult an expert. Alternatively, use a tool like Grammarly to improve your resume.
Save your resume in the right format
You can either save your resume as .doc or in PDF format. Both options are great and acceptable by employers. But it is always good to save and submit your resume based on the instructions given. If no instruction, you can either save your file as .doc or PDF.
Name your file smartly
How you save your file tells recruiters a lot about you. While you have the freedom to name your file as you wish, professionally save your resume as “Robert Perry Resume” instead of just resume. Remember, employers are always looking for candidates who uphold a high level of professionalism. Why give them a reason to disqualify you.