We’ve all been through the challenge of updating our resume, or perhaps even worse, having to write a resume from scratch. Fortunately, writing a resume from scratch doesn’t have to be an enormous ordeal, and we have some helpful tips on making this process feel like less of a chore and a lot easier for any subsequent times you find yourself needing to update your resume.
Here are 10 helpful tips that you can use to craft the perfect resume:
1) Highlight relevant job experience
It can be hard to remember everything that you did in your previous jobs. I have always found that having a master resume, where I outline every single major task and accomplishment I had in previous roles, along with awards, my GPA, etc., to help me enormously in this task. This often simply means I need to copy and paste the relevant lines into my “new” resume when applying for a position! The more relevant your duties are to what you might be doing in your new job, the higher the likelihood of you landing an interview.
2) Keep it brief
It’s hard, I know. You’re awesome. But still, if I am a recruiter, and I have to read 6 pages just to know what type of person you are, I will likely skip you over for another candidate. Try to keep your resume between 1-2 pages long.
3) Review your resume
The very least you should do before sending out your resume (and cover letters) is to review it for any spelling or grammar errors. These easily fixable little mistakes can drastically decrease your chances of securing an interview. Since we tend to skim over work that we have written ourselves, it’s even better if you can get a friend or a family member to read over your resume for any mistakes.
4) Do not include references in your resume
Including them can be interpreted by some interviewers as a way for you to “fluff up” your resume, and it ends up taking away valuable space that can better be used to highlight your expertise. Including a line such as “References available upon request” is more than sufficient.
5) Use standard fonts
Using well-known, easy-to-read fonts (such as Calibri, Times New Roman and Arial) make you look professional. Try to avoid lesser-used fonts that may get altered to another font on different computers. Pro Tip: Saving your resume as a PDF will ensure the formatting of your resume is the same for everyone.
6) Be honest
While you may be tempted to stretch the truth a bit, this can often backfire. Some employers will test some of the skills you outline in your resume. For instance, if you say you are capable of typing 100 words per minute, you may be tested on this depending on how thorough the interview process is for a position you’re applying for.
7) Use action verbs
Words like Accomplished, Achieved, Coordinated, Managed, and Developed are examples of action verbs. Here’s an excellent list of action words you can use in your resume.
8) Explain gaps in work history
A summary of qualifications that highlights how you were providing end-of-life care for a loved one, for instance might be an effective way of letting an interviewer know why there is a gap in your employment history. Cover letters might also be a good way of conveying this information. If you are unemployed, actively volunteering with organizations will allow you to show (in your resume) how you were productive, despite not having a job.
9) Use white space
This point cannot be emphasized enough. Nobody (especially nowadays) has time to read paragraphs regarding what you did. Your resume should use ample amounts of white space so that it is easy to distinguish separate sections from one another. The whole point of the resume is to keep things nice and concise, and you can further elaborate on your expertise in your cover letter!
10) Make your name big
You are the most important piece in your resume, after all. You’re trying to sell yourself! If the body of your resume is using size 12 font, your name should be at least a few sizes bigger than that, in order to draw attention to yourself.
Have any other tips we might have missed, or that have worked well for you? Feel free to share them with us, and good luck on crafting your perfect resume!
1) First Time Resume Writing Tips
2) Additional Resume and Cover Letter Writing Tips
3) Using a Resume Builder to Help Build a Professional Looking Resume