This article includes eight resume writing tips to help a resume stand out from among the rest of the applicants. The primary focus of the resume should be about how the applicant is an asset for the company, and these tips help applicants communicate that message. Readers learn about important features such as formatting, language, and how to leverage the experience section to show that they are a perfect fit.
Given that most hiring managers spend only seconds reviewing each resume, it’s important to make yours stand out. Even if you are the perfect candidate with the ideal skills and accomplishments, a weak resume could cost you the job. Here are some important elements to include to create a winning resume.
Professional, Scannable Format
Keep in mind that companies quickly scan resumes first. Therefore, you want to make sure to create a scannable resume. Consider simple fonts such as a Calibri or Arial in 10-12pt font size. Try to avoid fancy fonts that are difficult to read or may appear unprofessional. Have one-inch margins and utilize bullet points and bolded headings to make the content easy to read.
While it might be tempting to include fancy graphics and eye-catching formats in your resume, resist the urge. Too much fluff on a resume could appear jarring to potential employers.
As you format your resume, you also want to keep it short--no more than two pages. A study from ResumeGo found that hiring managers were 2.3 times more likely to hire a candidate with a 2-page resume than just a 1-page resume.
Include a Summary Section, Not an Objective Section
Old resume templates included an “Objective” section, where an individual stated briefly at the start of the resume what type of job they were looking for. That kind of information is irrelevant--they are obviously looking for a job like the one they are applying for. Plus, employers don’t really care what someone is looking for, they are more interested in how the individual can meet their needs.
Instead, create a summary section that takes a moment to explain your achievements briefly and, most importantly, describes how you could help them. For instance, rather than saying, “MA Business student looking for sales representative jobs” you could write, “Sales Representative with MA in Business who has consistently exceeded quotas by an average of 7% per quarter.” That tweak of language gives the hiring manager a brief glimpse of how you could help them.
Use Active Language
Rather than simply listing your duties at your previous jobs, list your achievements. Use this as an opportunity to show what you accomplished there. Action words can help you achieve this. Words such as “developed”, “increased”, “resolved”, etc. can highlight improvements you have made to your roles. If you have any measurable way of demonstrating your accomplishments, that’s even better.
Don’t Include Everything You’ve Ever Done
When listing your work experience, you don’t need to go all the way back to the time when you spent your summer break working at Target. Instead, limit your experience to the last 3-4 jobs.
Only List Skills Relevant to the Job
As you list your skills, try not to load up everything you learned to do since ninth grade. Few companies are looking for a competitive gamer or someone who plays the guitar. Instead, keep your list to skills relevant to the job which you are applying for.
Avoid Creating a Generic Resume
Rather than having one resume that you send to multiple jobs, consider tweaking your resume for each individual job. You might also want to include keywords from the actual job description in your work experience. This helps employers feel more like you are “meant for them.”
Nothing gets your resume tossed faster than blatant grammatical errors. Take some time to proofread the document carefully to ensure that your document is error-free.
Update Your LinkedIn Profile to Match Your Resume
Employers may also look you up on LinkedIn, so make sure that you update your LinkedIn profile using the same tips we’ve provided for creating your resume. You can also request recommendations & endorsements from past employers/coworkers. You might want to link to your LinkedIn profile on your resume.
As you create your resume, make it clear how will YOU will help THEM. It might be easy to talk about yourself and your experience, but at the end of the day, hiring managers want to know how you could be an asset to their company.
1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kinseycrowley/2018/09/30/4-tips-for-writing-a-resume-that-will-get-you-the-interview/#4af03f6f1bd8 2. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/04/how-to-create-a-perfect-resume-in-2019.html 3. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/resumes-cover-letters/10-resume-writing-tips 4. https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/avoid-the-top-10-resume-mistakes 5. https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/rockstar-resume-tips/