As a job seeker, the quality of your resume has a huge impact on your success. In the same way that an excellent resume can elevate your chances, a terrible one can just as easily sink them. There are many strategies for creating an awesome resume, but we’ve got 8 simple guidelines that will help you stand out from the crowd.
1 – Keep it Tidy: Above all, your resume should be neat and easy to read. You should always spell-check your documents electronically and have somebody else read them. In addition, you shouldn’t exceed two pages unless you are applying for an academic role or have 20+ years of experience (1 page is ideal for most situations).
2 – Display Your Contact Information Clearly : You are the star of your own resume, so your contact information should be front and center. Moreover, you want to make is as easy as possible for the reader to get in touch with you. You should always include your phone number and email, but these days an address isn’t really necessary. As well, be sure to exclude any sensitive personal information, such as your drivers license, passport, or social security number.
3 – Make Your Summary Count: If your resume has some aspects that are out of the ordinary and/or may benefit from additional context, use a brief summary to provide that explanation (you can also address this in your cover letter). Otherwise, there’s no need to include a summary – the organization of your resume should already highlight the most important aspects of your experience.
4 – Stay Brief with Your Education History: This section should generally consist of your two most recent endeavors (i.e., if you have a PhD, don’t include your high school education). Make sure to include related areas of study for college degrees and dates of graduation (or ongoing studies).
5 – Organize Your Tech Skills/ Certifications: If you are in a field that loves its abbreviations (software development, engineering, etc.), be sure to include a brief, easy to read summary of your tech chops up front. There are a variety of ways to effectively organize this – tables, bullet-points, and by category, just to name a few. Keep in mind that you don’t need to list every certification, only the ones that are relevant to the role.
6 – List Your Relevant Experiences: This forms the backbone of any good resume, so make it count! Each entry of your previous work / volunteer experiences should include the name of your previous employer, location (city and state), and duration. The reader will also need to know your title and a short summary of your skills and duties. Remember, you want to highlight your skills and achievements, not just recreate your job description.
7 – Tailor your Resume: As tempting as it might be, sending the same resume for every application is not an effective strategy. Your resume should highlight skills that are relevant to each job that you are applying for, which means that you should adjust your resume (and cover letter) for each role. This is time-intensive, so you should be judicious when choosing roles to pursue.
8 – Remember that Recruiters are People Too: They want to find the best candidates just as much as you want to be noticed. If you present yourself in the best light, make your experience and accomplishments easy to access, and give them a way to contact you, good things can happen!