A stellar resume communicates your strengths while catching an interviewer’s attention. These five simple resume tips will go a long way towards securing that initial interview.
Preparing your resume is one of the most important steps in the job application process. Done well, it will communicate your strengths as a candidate while stimulating a prospective employer’s interest enough to lead to an interview. These simple resume tips will go a long way towards projecting a professional and compelling image.
Tailor your resume to every position
While every version of your resume will follow a standard structure and include much of the same information, each one should uniquely reflect the specific position you are applying for. Incorporate the same keywords from the job description throughout your resume and emphasize particular aspects of your experience accordingly. For example, one employer may highly value technological savvy, while another places a premium on team building and collaboration. Both are important, but your experience should correlate with your prospective employer’s vision of an ideal candidate. Every time your resume distinctly echoes a job description, you are one step closer to being offered an interview.
Don’t include an objective
Employers primarily care about your current accomplishments rather than your future aspirations. They can extrapolate that your goal is to secure this particular job and, as an employee, build upon your experience and skillset. What they cannot assume, however, is your work experience, education, and notable achievements. Reallocate the time you would spend carefully crafting an objective to customizing the contents of your resume.
It should go without saying that you should perform a spelling and grammar check every time you modify your resume, but that is only one step of the review process. As you carefully read it over for spelling, grammar, and typographical errors, keep in mind that automated spelling and grammar checks can miss key items, particularly homophones such as their/there, to/too, and principle/principal. When it comes to alternate spellings for a particular word, you should verify the best choice by consulting another dictionary or style guide. If any doubt remains, it is best to check the company’s website to see their preferred spelling. Also, pay close attention to any branded terms, especially of computer programs, such as PowerPoint versus Power Point, and always use the official name. If you are unsure, you can confirm the proper spelling with a quick Google search. Lastly, have someone else look over your resume to catch anything you may have missed. When you are working on something that is so familiar for an extended period of time, it is far too easy for your eyes to slide over errors that someone else will spot immediately.
Do not include personal information such as hobbies, religion, your age, or marital status
There is a reason it is illegal for employers to ask certain questions. The answers may unfairly prejudice them against you and, even if they do not, applicants can claim they did not receive a job due to discrimination. While it is true that some of these things will become immediately obvious upon meeting you, it is in your best interest not to disclose your race, gender, religion, marital status, age, disabilities, ethnic background, country of origin, or sexual preferences on your resume. While hobbies often provide excellent interview fodder, they are simply irrelevant. They illustrate who you are outside of work, not at work. If a piece of information is not job-related, it has no place on your resume.
Keep it concise and easy to read
The ideal resume is no more than two pages, presented in an easily digestible format, with a clear, crisp font in a standard size, typically 10 or 12 point. As tempting as it may be to use stylized fonts and colored paper to make your resume distinctive or fiddle with font size to accommodate more information, it is a bad idea. While your original resume may be printed, additional copies often are photocopied which can result in an unattractive version that is difficult to read. Also, not all fonts are universal and appear the same on both PCs and Macs, regardless of the operating system. Just because you are avoiding quirky fonts, however, you are not confined to the familiar standards like Times New Roman or Arial. There are plenty of other straightforward, visually appealing fonts that provide a professional and clean aesthetic, such as Century, MS Sans Serif, Book Antiqua, and Calibri.