One of the primary steps to getting hired for a job is writing a great resume. Whether it is for your first job or your fourth, you’re going to need a clean, professional resume. This article shares the secrets of writing an eye-catching resume to make sure you’re highlighting your skills and relevant experience in a condensed format.
The best resume writing tips
Using the best resume writing tips will help you to get noticed by an employer. Essentially, a resume is a personal marketing document that gives a first impression of you. A well-written resume may be the deciding factor between receiving a call for an interview or not.
Here are some tips to consider when writing your resume:
- Follow the standard formatting rules to impress recruiters and software bots
- Find the best resume style that suits the type of job you are seeking
- Decide on the best layout for your current status
- Keep your resume to one page
- Include the relevant work experience details
- Document your highlights
Follow the standard formatting rules to impress recruiters and software bots
It may be discouraging to learn that a majority of resumes are rejected by a human resource resume software called Applicant Tracking System (APS). This means your resume may never be seen by human eyes or be placed on an actual employer’s desk. Fortunately, there are things you can do to your resume to pass this robot test.
The best resumes are written in a format that makes it easy for both a human recruiter and a software system to read. As a writer, your goal should be using clear and concise words. For example, the use of unnecessary buzz words may agitate the reader.
In order for your resume to impress the bots, include the same keywords featured in the job opening. For example, if you’re seeking a position as a computer scientist and the job opening states, “You will manage database system projects to support an organization’s initiatives,” it is important for you to include the keyword “manage databases” in your resume, since it will most likely be a skill the hiring organization believes is critical to the position.
Make sure your resume format aligns with industry standards. In most cases, it is a good idea to avoid nontraditional formatting or an abundance of colors. Parsing software will quickly move these types of resumes right to the recycle bin. Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean to eliminate all creativity in your resume.
Essentially, you need to make sure that the resume design does not overwhelm the ability of software bots to implement a proper scan. To appease the bots, you’ll need to find a balance between design and simplicity. For example, if your current resume includes a colorful border, it should be eliminated.
Find the best resume style that suits the type of job you are seeking
Unless you’re applying for a graphic design position, or in other fields that require a unique way of presenting information, a flamboyant resume is not necessary. While it may look impressive to you, it may automatically disqualify you from the job candidate pool.
It is best to keep to industry standards, such as:
- Use a single black font throughout the document
- Web-safe fonts such as Calibri, Arial, Times New Roman or Helvetica should be used in size 10, 11 or 12
- Separate sections of content with headers
- Use bullets to easily identify achievements and responsibilities
- Use a vertical left to right format for all resumes
Decide on the best layout for your current status
Typically, there are only three resume layouts to choose from: chronological, skills-focused and education-focused. The most common resume that hiring managers see is the chronological resume—used when an applicant is looking to apply for a new position in their current field of expertise. For example, a teacher looking for a new job with another school would use the chronological layout.
A skills-focused resume is used when applying for a position in a new industry or an unrelated field. In this situation, the resume will concentrate more on the actual skills of the applicant, such as public speaking, critical thinking or negotiation. These types of skills are known to easily transfer from one line of work to another. For example, an auditor looking for a new job in the sales field would use a skills-focused layout.
An education-focused resume is commonly used by recent graduates to highlight their academic credentials. This should include all of your relevant courses, projects, extracurricular activities, volunteer opportunities and academic achievements. Even though it may not seem applicable, it is a good idea to mention any jobs that you’ve held during your high school and college years. It will illustrate to potential employers that you understand the basic requirements of working in a professional environment. For example, if you worked in a fast-food restaurant during college, you should include this work experience in your education-focused resume.
Keep your resume to one page
Generally, it is a good idea to try to keep your resume to one page. However, in cases where you have more than 10 years of experience, it may make sense to expand the resume to two pages. Many people go into far too much detail on a resume. You should include only your most relevant and recent positions.
For example, if you’re been in the workforce for 10 years, you do not need to include your college work experience with Burger King, unless it is necessary and relevant. If you’re eager to keep a record of all of your prior jobs, a good place to store this information is on LinkedIn. Hiring managers have access to LinkedIn profiles. If they’re interested in hiring you, they may seek out more details about your past work experience.
Include the relevant work experience details
Most of the details you will include in your resume should follow an industry-specific standard. Typically, this will include providing details regarding your academic achievements, job history, unique skills, special awards and other noteworthy personal information. For example, if you’re applying for a tax auditing position, and in your spare time you volunteer giving free tax help to those in need, you should include this on your resume as it is both relevant and noteworthy.
Document your highlights
When crafting a resume, position your best accomplishments and experiences near the top third of the document. This strategy allows you to immediately grab the reader’s attention, make a positive first impression, and encourage the hiring manager to learn more about you as an applicant. For example, if the most significant thing you’ve done in your career was to reduce company costs by streamlining logistics, it should be clearly stated in the top third of your resume.