Five Easy Steps to a Better Resume
Writing a resume is a lot like cleaning out the garage, or getting a wisdom tooth pulled. Nobody willingly does it, but at some point the need reaches critical mass and you have to bite the bullet. However, Your Best Edit has made it easier for you to tackle this important task with the following tips.
1. A Clean Design Wins Every Time
- Save the frills for your next party invitation and keep your resume free of bells and whistles.
- Go for a simple, easy-to-read template with lots of white space around the borders, or your doc will go right into the trash.
- Use fancy graphics, italics, and bold text sparingly, and only when items truly need to stand out, such as headers, company names, and job titles.
- Try out different fonts onscreen and on your phone, to see how they read.
- Sans serif type like Arial or Calibri will give your resume a fresh, modern appeal. Leave the fusty Times New Roman in the typewriter where it belongs.
2. Top-load the Essentials
- Your name should be centered at the top, in bold, and at least 14-point type. The rest of the resume should be in a readable 12-point type.
- Next up under your name is a professional title, which immediately and clearly tells the hiring manager what and who you are. Tailor the title to the specific job you're applying for, as long as you can back it up with experience.
- In these days of rampant cyber crime and identity theft, it's a good idea to protect yourself--leave off your street address. If you must add a location, use Greater New York Area or Mid-Atlantic Region, for example.
- If you're planning to move for a new job, don't put in a geographic location, it will limit your options.
- Under your title, list a phone number, your email address, and your LinkedIn URL. Professional and direct.
3. Essential Skills & Keywords
- These days, most resumes are scanned for keywords, matching those in posted job descriptions. Almost 75% of scanned documents are tossed out because they don't contain enough of these words.
- You must upload enough of the exact words into your resume for each job you apply for, or the hiring manager will never see it. Whether your experience is an exact match for the job description you want or not, you can still turn yourself into a winning applicant.
- Are you a university athletics assistant who handles social media for the football team, but you want to go into corporate public relations? Turn that very marketable skill into a prominent bullet point.
- Create a box under your contact information for all of your transferable skills, and your expertise will wow the reader. Don't elaborate with descriptions.
- List bulleted topics such as Ad Sales Leader, Social Media Marketing, and Project Management. Your skills will stand out and make an impact.
4. All Meat and No Potatoes
- Your Professional Experience header should be in bold, then start listing your jobs underneath, from the present backwards: Company name, location by city.
- Then your title and dates (2011-Present). No months, seasons, or semesters.
- Next up is your specific work experience. This is the part that often gets job candidates into trouble--too much fluff and not enough substance, backed up by all-essential details.
- If you're lucky, you'll have a few minutes for an actual person to scan your resume, but it's usually seconds. Make the most of this real estate on your resume!
- Do NOT list every job you have held since you graduated from college, unless you are 25 or under. Chances are good that those early work experiences aren't relevant anymore anyway. Keep your list concise, and within a decade or so.
- Highlighting concrete numbers, statistics, revenue savings, leadership, and growth through your hands-on experience is key. How much money did you generate by developing a unique program? What percentage of clients have increased under your management? What size budgets have you balanced? Are you a returning veteran who commanded a unit overseas and brought critical water supplies back to a war-torn region?
- Tell the hiring manager how you're going to solve their ongoing problems with your wizardry and why they can't live without you on their team. But be succinct. This is not a novel.
- Did I mention bullet points? Yes, all of your job experience should be bulleted under each title. If you've done something really spectacular that relates to the job description, put it in bold.
- Did you establish the first worldwide conference for yoga mat manufacturers? Good for you--highlight it.
- Do NOT list every job/assignment/responsibility you undertook at each position. Be very selective about what you want the hiring manager to know and more importantly, what they need to know to hire you. Edit, edit, and then edit again.
5. Last but Not Least
- List your education credentials under your work experience, with the highest degree you have earned first. Do not elaborate with details like double majors, GPAs, or any honors you may have earned.
- If you are over the age of 35, do not list the years that you obtained your degrees. Age discrimination is illegal, but sadly still prevalent.
- If there is room at the bottom of your resume, you may opt to list additional skills, depending on the kind of position you are applying for. Examples include computer programs, specialized industry know-how, certifications, licenses, etc. In general, these skills are better left to showcase in your cover letter, if they are critical to the job.
- Your updated LinkedIn profile is a must, as a key addition to a professional resume. The majority of employers will check it to see if you have any recommendations and endorsements from former managers and clients, whether you have won awards in your field, and if you have written and published industry-specific articles and studies. Use it to elaborate on your business success.
These essential tips will make it easier to revise and update your resume. If this process is too much to take on by yourself, contact Your Best Edit and we'll be delighted to create a professional resume for you!
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