A resume is more than just a list of past jobs; it’s a personal marketing tool and a critical document for securing interviews. Even with visual resumes and social networking becoming big parts of the job search process, resumes are still relied on heavily by recruiters and employers. Make sure yours is in tip-top shape with these ten tips.
1. Pull them in
Resumes are as much psychology as they are writing. A bland resume that doesn’t immediately draw the reader in goes into the “no” pile quickly, so use a layout that’s visually pleasing and keywords that get attention. Chose keywords and phrases that fit what they’re looking for and highlight your abilities and accomplishments.
2. Prove it
Don’t list responsibilities, list results. The best way to do this is by quantifying your work, which shows how you benefited previous employers in concrete terms. Did you increase revenue 30% in 6 months? Lead 50 staff in implementing a new software system in 30 days? Use numbers to paint the picture of you.
3. Simplify, but don’t omit
Keep your resume simple and to the point. If you can do it in one page, do. And never go beyond two pages. Remember, the goal of the resume is to get you interviews, not jobs. Put enough content in your resume to make them want to speak with you further, at which point you can elaborate at length.
4. Submit the right resume
While you don’t need an entirely different resume for each position you apply to, do spend a few minutes checking to see if your resume includes the keywords from the job description. Also check to make sure your resume demonstrates how you can fulfill the critical tasks of the position.
5. Use action language
Begin job description sentences and core competencies with action verbs. These work to create energy and a sense of action in the reader, as they see you doing the work in real time in their minds. Think “Optimizing teams to efficiently achieve benchmarks” rather than “Ability to optimize teams and achieve benchmarks.”
6. Doubel check you’re sspelling and grammar
If your resume contains misspelled words or grammar issues, you are almost guaranteed to not get an interview. Don’t rely on spell check, either. Print your resume and read it out loud. If something doesn’t sound right to you, it won’t sound right to an HR manager, either.
7. Keep it current
Update your resume at least once every six months. That way, when you really need a current resume it will be there. At the very least keep a running list of trainings you attend, awards you received, special projects you work on, and major accomplishments you achieve.
8. Don’t waste space
Stating that “References Are Available Upon Request” is a waste of space., as is including an objective. Requesting references is a common practice, so potential employers know you’ll provide references if they ask for them. And your objective is clearly the job you’re applying for. Use that space for a strong core competencies section and professional headline instead.
9. Don’t get personal
Leave out personal information such as your age, sex, height, and hobbies. And don’t include a picture of yourself. The content should pertain to your experience and qualifications, period.
10. But do be thorough
If applicable, add sections for awards, recognitions, and community service. This ensures they see that you’ve materially contributed to the success of past employers and/or the community.
After you’ve got these tactics in place, monitor your results. Is your resume working? Is it producing interviews? Use LinkedIn to research your target companies, finding staff there who can let you know if your resume has passed muster or not. And don’t be afraid to seek the help of a career coach or professional resume writer; since your resume is a starting point for salary negotiations it’s definitely not the time to cut corners.