In today’s competitive job market, more than ever before, a job-winning resume is essential to finding employment. Acing the interview is great, and necessary. But if your resume doesn’t get you in the door, the interview will never take place. Use the ten tips to create a resume that will give a prospective employer a positive impression of you and your skills and your chances of getting hired will increase dramatically.
1. Keep it short. No resume should go over two pages, and one is better. If you have a long list of employment history or education, summarize it rather than listing every line item. Listing the last 10 years of employment history is adequate, especially if you’ve worked in the same field for some time.
2. List your skills first. Many job applicants place their education at the top of a resume, but your skills are what a hiring manager or human resources (HR) employee is really looking for. List them at the top so they’re easy to find and so they can attract more attention than they might if they’re slipped in at the bottom or middle of the page.
3. Eliminate spelling and grammar mistakes, typos and other errors. Proofread your resume as many times as it takes to eliminate common errors. Have someone else look it over for you. Read it backwards if you find yourself overlooking mistakes. Typos and other errors are embarrassing at the least, and can truly cost you a job. Diligently check your resume for errors, and then check it again before submission.
4. List your education last. While education is important, it’s not the most important aspect of a resume. That’s why adding it at the bottom where a prospective employer can see it is good. But placing it at the time to give it first priority isn’t necessary.
5. Drop the summary and objective. A summary of your resume and an objective stating what you hope to accomplish are passé and unnecessary. A hiring manager will know the job you’re interested in because of your cover letter. There’s no need to repeat it on the resume.
6. Include a detailed job history. While you don’t need to document your employment history beyond the last 10 years or so, clearly note where you have worked, when and for how long, and what you did there. If you’ve held an excessive number of short-term jobs, you may want to add a reason for leaving, or if the position was temporary, be sure to add that information as well.
7. Don’t include unnecessary information. Your age, marital status, religion, or anything else a hiring manager or HR employee is not allowed to ask does not belong on your resume. This might even cause speculation about your maturity level since it’s fairly common knowledge that such topics are illegal for a hiring manager to discuss.
8. Pay attention to the format. The layout and format of your resume is important. Use a standard font such as Arial or Times Roman and a standard size for the best readability, 10 or 12 points is idea. While you may think a format or handwriting font looks impressive, it makes it much more difficult to read, which can be annoying to someone who’s sifting through 50 resumes.
9. Add whitespace to make the resume easier to read. No one likes to pick up a document that is so covered with text they can’t tell where it ends. This is especially true of hiring managers and HR personnel. Leave enough white space on your resume to make it reader-friendly without leaving out important information or details.
10. Keep it clean. Not only in the sense of language (profanity of any type is a huge no-no), but also keep your resume free from smudges, dirt, coffee spills and grime. You will most likely create your resume on a computer so you can easily print a new copy at a moment’s notice. Do so to ensure every copy you distribute is pristine.
Your resume is what sells you to a prospective employer. Make it the best you can by ensuring it’s properly written and formatted, and includes the information necessary to highlight your job skills and experience in the brightest light possible. Doing so can make the difference in a resume that wins you a job, or one that is tossed aside in favor of another applicant.