Resume Writing 101

By Annie Wach, Talent Acquisition Specialist 

As anyone with a stake in the job market will tell you, resumes are a double-edged sword. A well-written resume helps you stand out from a crowd of qualified applicants, but a poorly-written resume will just as easily doom your application. As a Talent Acquisition Specialist, I review anywhere from 20 to 200 resumes a day. From this experience, I’ve developed a short resume writing guide that will help you break through the noise:

 

 

General Appearance: Resumes should be neat, tidy, and legible. You should always spell-check your documents electronically and have somebody else read them. In addition, don’t exceed two pages unless you have 20+ years of experience and/or are applying to an academic setting.

Contact Information: You are the star of your own resume, so your contact information should be front and center. Always include your phone number and email but don’t worry about your address.

To Summarize or not to Summarize: It depends. If your resume has some aspects that are out of the ordinary and require some explaining, use the summary to provide context. Otherwise, leave out the fluff!

Education: This one is short and sweet; include your education information at the top of your resume. This generally consists of your two most recent endeavors (i.e., if you have a PhD, don’t include your high school education). Make sure to include areas of study for college degrees and dates of graduation (or ongoing studies).

Tech Sector: If you are in a field that loves its abbreviations (MySQL/Unix/JS/HTML, anyone?), be sure to include a brief, easy to read summary of your tech chops up front. (I prefer a table/grid presentation, but anything is better than alphabet soup).

The Meat: Each entry of your previous work / volunteer experience should include the name of your previous employer, location (city and state), and duration. We 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.

Tailoring 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, meaning 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. That said, if the position makes your heart sing, you should still apply!

Remember, recruiters and hiring managers are human too. We 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 us a way to contact you, good things can happen!

 

Annie Wach, Talent Acquisition Specialist