No matter how much education you have, no matter how much prior experience you have, and no matter what field you are interested in, the job market is competitive everywhere. And in such a competitive world, you can’t afford to make mistakes.
One of the most important parts of earning a new job involves creating the perfect resume. Resumes can make or break your shot at a great position. Your resume is a key to the lifestyle you have always wanted. The problem is, most HR directors or hiring managers won’t spend much time looking at yours before they decide if you are worth interviewing. A number of studies have been done to show how much time someone spends looking at your resume. Almost all research proves that hiring managers spend less than 10 seconds looking at a resume before discarding it or putting it in the interview pile. 10 seconds (or less). That’s it. Even if you are the most qualified applicant, a terrible resume will get tossed out along with your chances of landing the job.
At Resume.com, we know that writing a great resume is easy if you know what to do. Here are 5 of the best-kept secrets to creating an eye-catching and detailed resume.
Tip #1: Eye-Catching (for the Right Reasons)
You would be forgiven for thinking that a flashy and elaborate resume would be more eye-catching. While it would technically stand out from other resumes, it would do so for all the wrong reasons. Hiring managers want to see clean, well-organized, and succinct resumes. If you add too many colors, boxes, formatting options, fonts, font sizes, and tables, don’t expect your resume to be read.
An attractive and eye-catching resume is one that lists everything you need as simply as possible. Avoid flashy fonts that are too large or too small. You can use both serif and sans-serif fonts, but make sure you do so appropriately. Sans-serif fonts are clean, stable, and modern. Serif fonts suggest you are respectable and thoughtful. Make sure you use one that is appropriate for the job at hand.
Tip #2: Brevity Is Best
Nobody wants to read a 2-page resume, and that’s an almost universal fact. There are very few times when you should have a resume that is longer than a single page. Despite what you might think, you can put everything relevant to the position on a single page (without using a 4-point font).
There are exceptions to this rule. Here are just a few:
- When you are submitting a resume digitally and there is no page counter in the submission box
- The specific job requires a long list of prior skills, achievements, or experiences
- The information you put on the resume cannot be shortened or ignored
For the most part, your cover letter (more on that below) is the reason you don’t need a long resume. When you write a quality cover letter, you can get into more details and specifics there, leaving your resume as an introduction to your skills.
Tip #3: There Is a “Best” Format
Did you know that there are actually 3 primary types of resumes? Using the right format for the job you are interested in is critical and will likely mean the difference between being noticed and being forgotten. Here are the 3 types.
Chronological: This type of resume lists previous jobs and positions chronologically, with the most recent at the top. You would use this type of resume when your previous positions are the most relevant to the job you want.
Functional: When you are applying for a job that is based more on skills and experience as opposed to specific previous positions, use a functional resume. For example, if you want to get hired at a non-profit organization that works with individuals who have disabilities, your volunteer experience will be more relevant than a list of your previous positions at a supermarket or bank.
Combination: This type of resume is useful when both your previous experiences and work history are equally relevant to the position. This could include writing positions (where previous publications as well as employment history are both considered) or other similar fields.
Tip #4: Your Email Address
Despite how obvious this seems, you might be surprised by how many people use inappropriate email addresses on resumes. If you have an obnoxious, long, or inappropriate address, create a new one (preferably with your name in it) just for your job hunt.
Tip #5: Help Is out There
You don’t need to be an expert writer to draft a great resume. There are step-by-step guides to formatting, writing, editing, and updating your resume. Whether it’s your first resume or your 50th, there is always something new you can learn.
Bonus Tip: Your Cover Letter
While this is a list of what you can do to create an eye-catching resume, it would be a travesty to neglect mentioning the importance of a great cover letter. Cover letters and resumes go together like peanut butter and jelly, cookies and milk, cheese and wine, or barbecues and lemonade. Don’t think of your resume and cover letter as separate; instead, think of them as two parts of your winning strategy.
Your Dream Career
Save for a few rare occasions, skills don’t get you an interview, a resume does. Whether you are bursting with talent or looking for your first job, you don’t need to worry; a properly drafted resume (and cover letter) will ensure that you get an interview and a chance to land your dream job. And as long as you follow this guide, you have great odds of getting that interview.