Putting together an effective resume is the key to a successful job search. You want to present yourself in the best light possible, and yet sometimes it can be difficult to know what employers are looking for in a resume, and what will represent you best.
Luckily, there are some definitive rules to resume writing, and we’re here to share them with you. Here are just a few tips that will help you hit the metrics hiring managers evaluate.
1. Be Concise
Chances are the recruiter looking over your resume is also looking over a hundred other resumes. He or she doesn’t necessarily have a lot of time to devote to each one, so as much as possible, limit your resume length to one page—two if necessary. Be as concise as possible with information; including unnecessary information to fill out your resume does you no favours.
2. Practice Simplicity & Consistency
An important resume writing tip is to avoid going overboard with fancy graphics or fonts. Your resume should be simple to read and easy on the eyes—getting super fancy will make your resume look busy. Choose a simple typeface with a complementary font for headings and use this style all the way through the resume. Pick one style of organization and use it consistently: if you’re using bullet points for one job description, you shouldn’t be using full sentences for another.
3. Keep It Organized
Organization goes hand in hand with practicing simplicity and consistency. Use headers for different categories (such as education, employment history, etc.). Organizational tools, like headers, will make reading your resume a smoother process for the recruiter.
4. Reverse Chronological Order
It is standard practice for information to be listed in reverse chronological order, meaning your last job will come first, then second last, and so forth. This goes for any information that has an affixed date, including employment and education history.
5. Order Information Based on Your Strengths
You want to play up your strengths on your resume. If you don’t have much work experience, but you have a strong educational background, list your education history first and employment history second.
6. Use Effective Titles
Job titles should always be specific. They are one of the first things employers look at when they get your resume, so they should be clear and authoritative. Your job title shouldn’t just refer to the department or field you worked in; they should also convey what your position was. For example, instead of “customer service,” your title would read “customer service specialist.”
7. Avoid Generalizations
Be specific when it comes to your qualifications and previous work experience. The recruiter should get a clear idea right away of what you did at your last job and what skills you have. Anything vague that doesn’t give any real indication of your employment history can derail your resume.
8. Cite Accomplishments Instead of Descriptions
When describing previous work experience, avoid simply listing what you did for your former employer. Instead, list any achievements you made while at the position. Citing your achievements instead of merely describing the position you held demonstrates your hard work ethic and your ability to evolve in a particular position..
9. Be Vigilant About Grammar
We cannot stress this enough about resume writing: proofread, proofread, proofread! No matter how much time you’ve put into your resume, if your prospective employer sees a grammatical error, they’re going to assume you’re not serious about the position.
10. Tailor Your Resume
While you may be applying for numerous different jobs, using the same resume for each application is a bad idea. Different companies are looking for different things, so tailor each resume to the specific job requirements. Recruiters can tell when you’re sending out a blanket resume, and since they are looking over so many at once, a tailored resume can make a huge difference.
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