Writing your resume can be a real challenge, and there is a lot of pressure to make it really stand out and display all of your accomplishments. There are many professional resume writing companies out there, but these can be expensive, and the result isn’t always impressive.
Writing a resume on your own doesn’t have to be, and there are a few tips and tricks that you can use to make the process smoother without.
Here are some of our top tips to help you create the perfect resume, so you stand out when job hunting. Use this simple checklist to impress your potential boss:
1. Your resume should be one to two pages long.
The general rule used to be to keep your resume to a single page, but sometimes this doesn’t always allow us to really show our accomplishments. There are times when a second page is acceptable. As long as your resume isn’t cluttered and is easy to read, spilling over onto a second page isn’t going to be excessive.
The key isn’t overwhelming, and you are only highlighting the most important and relevant accomplishments.
2. Have a strong summary.
At the top of your resume, make sure you have a strong summary that is 1–2 sentences long. This is going to give the hiring manager a summarized version of what your resume is displaying. This is also the place where you want to show that you have the qualifications to meet what the job is asking for.
For example, if you’re applying for a management position at an accounting firm your summary will want to show the qualifications that you have, the education and experience you possess and the unique skills that will make you the best candidate for the job.
3. Include your education.
Don’t forget to include your education, even if the job doesn’t specifically ask for it. Make sure your education is up to date with the degree, program and the school that you went to, as well as where it was located. Your education will only help you.
The placement of your education on your resume depends on the type of job you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a job in education, place your education before your professional experience. If you are applying for a business position, put your education after your professional experience.
If you lack solid work experience, and your education is what stands out the most, then include this first.
In this section include any awards, achievements, academic recognition, or honors you received while obtaining your degree. You may also want to consider including your GPA if you earned above a 3.4.
4. Recent grads can include relevant school work.
This tip is for recent grads only.
If you are brand new out of college, and you want to get a job but you have little, or no job experience, consider including college projects that would be relevant to the position you are applying for. If you are not a recent grad, the project you completed while in college may not be appropriate or relevant.
5. Take the time to tailor your resume to each employer.
Don’t send the same resume out to every position you apply for. Your resume should reflect the job posting of the position.
This means using five keywords from the job description in every resume that you send out. If the job description says they are looking for somebody who is a good leader, make sure somewhere in your resume you have an example of where you lead a project or show your skills as a good leader. If they want somebody who has strong communication skills, make sure you highlight where you have been a good communicator at your last job so you can accurately display the qualities and abilities they are searching for.
It may seem like a lot of work for each job that you apply to, but it’s an excellent way to get a leg up on everybody else who’s just sending the same resume to 10–20 companies a day.
6. Use past tense for past jobs.
Make sure to highlight past jobs in the past tense. If you currently work somewhere, you can put that in the present tense. But, if you have left a job, make sure that you write the description of your work in the past tense. This will prevent employers from misunderstanding what position you’re currently working at.
7. Use positive action verbs.
Use affirmative action verbs at every bullet point. Don’t undersell yourself. If you were a cashier, you didn’t just operate the register.
Use affirmative action verbs that are more descriptive of what you did at the register. You balanced the register and provided elite customer service to every patron. The more descriptive the verbs, the better picture they will have of you as a person. If you swept floors, don’t just say you cleaned, tell them you upheld a high stander of cleanliness for your company’s office ensuring that others came into an organized and more efficient working environment. Make sure they know the entire capacity of what you did.
7. Proofread and then have someone else proofread.
The hiring manager is going to look very carefully at your resume. Do not let mistakes speak louder than your performance. It’s essential that you proofread, proofread, and then proofread again. Then ask someone else to do it for you too. This is essential in making sure that people are impressed with your first impression.
Having a strong resume is a great way to land an interview. If you can get that first interview, that’s one step closer to the job you want. Don’t let a sloppy resume that’s unclear and full of errors prevent you from getting the interview that you want.
Taking the time to tailor resumes to each job listing will give you a leg up on a lot of people who send just as many resumes as they can out and hope for a bite. It shows employers that you’re more dedicated and more willing to put in the time and work now to get the job. With as many candidates that apply to each job, you’ll be glad you took the time to stand out.
If you are not a great proofreader (and even if you are), download Grammarly to act as a second set of eyes on everything you sent out. Grammarly offers a free version of their software that works to catch all the little mistakes that our eyes may miss.
Next time you write your resume or go back to touch it up, remember these rules. Go down this checklist to ensure your resume is perfect and stands out. Remember, the position you are applying for will likely have many applicants. Some jobs have hundreds of applicants for a single position. You want to be sure that your resume catches the attention of the hiring manager, so you don’t get overlooked.
When one single job has many applicants, it is easy for the hiring manager to disqualify your application and resume over any small mistake or downfall in your resume, so make your resume count by putting in the work and making sure it is a strong representation of all of your accomplishments.
Originally published at www.studentloandiet.com on September 18, 2018.