Some resume-writing advice, like being concise, proofreading, and using active verbs will always be applicable. But because of new recruiting methods used by headhunters and employers, and the volume of applicants for each opening, job seekers can help their resumes stand out by keeping the following tips in mind.
1. CUSTOMIZE YOUR CONTENT. Since most resumes are processed by recruiting management software, tailor your objective to match the job for which you’re applying. Include keywords that reference specific skills, technology competencies, previous employers, and pertinent credentials.
2. PRIORITIZE INFORMATION. List your most important and relevant content first, even if it means your resume is not chronological. Otherwise important details pertaining to the job opening might be missed by employers who do not read far enough down on your resume.
3. KEEP IT BASIC. Your resume should be legible not only for prospective employers, but also for applicant management systems which have difficulty reading fancy formatting. Choose a basic font like Arial, Verdana, Calibri, or Times New Roman in 10 or 12 point. Be consistent with it and do not overuse formatting like cells. Leave plenty of white space in the margins.
4. DEAL WITH TIME GAPS. Time gaps on a resume are a red flag to employers. Address gaps in your employment by listing information about what happened like having a child, completing a degree, taking a sabbatical, pursuing freelance or independent contracting work, or other life experiences alongside relevant dates on your resume.
5. E-MAILING YOUR RESUME. Carefully follow an employer’s instructions for submitting your resume via e-mail. Your e-mail message is your cover letter, so write it appropriately. Attach your resume as a Word document, PDF, or include it in the body of the e-mail as plain text. List the position for which you are applying in the subject line of the e-mail and include a signature with contact information.
6. LIST YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION. List your full name, street address, city, state, and zip, home phone number, cell phone number, and personal email address on your resume. If you do not have a personal e-mail, sign up for a free account to use for job searching. Be sure to have a working voicemail or answering service so you do not miss any important calls and employers can leave messages for you.
7. INCLUDE KEY CONTRIBUTIONS. For each employer listed, include a list of your key contributions or achievements. Be sure that these are specific, measurable successes, such as how you saved the company time or money or improved a process.
8. MAKE SPECIFIC EDUCATION STATEMENTS. Do not make an employer have to guess whether you earned a degree or just took a few classes. Clearly state the dates of your attendance, your major, any minors and what degrees you’ve earned.
9. INCLUDE PERSONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS. It is entirely appropriate to include a section that highlights your personal accomplishments. Information about volunteerism, leadership positions, sports participation and scholarships will catch the eye of a potential employer and raise the value of you as a potential employee.