There are some general guidelines that should be followed if you want your resume to stand out from your competition. While some rules can be open to interpretation, there are others that almost every hiring manager will agree on. These are the do’s and don’ts of writing an effective resume:
DO Tailor Your Resume
Just as one outfit won’t work for every company setting, one resume won’t work for every job posting. You should tailor it towards the position you’re applying to. Utilize key words from the job posting and have bullet points that reflect similar work experience. Taking a few extra minutes to make these edits will increase your chances of landing an interview.
DON’T Use an Inappropriate Email
In the business world, professionalism is everything. Your resume is no exception! The design, word choice, and email address all play a factor. By no means should you use a work email on your resume, nor can you use an outdated email such as firstname.lastname@example.org. You don’t want this to be your personal brand! Besides, it’ll be easier for hiring managers to contact you if they can associate your name with your email address.
DO Use Numbers/Data
When it comes to the job search process, your word means nothing unless you can back it up. Simply listing off job duties is not enough; hiring managers want proof that you were successful. That’s why you need to add quantifiable accomplishments. For example, instead of putting “Conducted customer outreach in order to increase sales” on your resume, you could write “Conducted over 150 customer outreach phone calls each day, which increased sales by 30%”. The latter is much more impactful.
If your resume consists of open-ended statements, then you should rework it so that it better illustrates your accomplishments. Present the situation/goal, say the actions you took, and discuss the results in terms of numbers and data- otherwise known as the STAR method. Utilizing this method will help you prove yourself to a hiring manager.
DON’T Bend the Truth
Lying on your resume is one of the worst things you can do. Not only is it wrong, but you’ll inevitably be caught. If you say that you’re proficient in specific software and begin a job where it’s required, then you are bound to encounter problems. To avoid such a situation, it’s best to abide by the “honesty is the best policy” mentality. List your skills on your resume, and go into more depth when it comes to the interview phase. Do not say you are proficient when you’re still at the beginner/intermediate level. This will ensure that you land a job that fits your skill set.
DO Check for Spelling/Grammatical Errors
This is a given, but you would be surprised at how many people forget this simple step. Any errors will lead a hiring manager to infer that you’re not detail oriented and that you don’t care about the position. Always run a simple spell check and proofread every single version of your resume. Then, proofread again! It may seem tedious, but it could make all the difference.
DON’T Have too Many Pages
Although there is no page number restriction, hiring managers agree that too much information is a bad thing. Resumes are typically looked at for less than one minute and having more pages will not change this fact, so only include what’s important! As a rule of thumb, you should have a max of 5 bullet points per job description. In addition, each bullet point should only be two lines long. Implementing these restrictions makes your resume stronger and ensures that you include only your best accomplishments.
DO Utilize a Word Cloud Generator
Have you ever reread a piece of work and realized that you’ve used the same word one too many times? Even if you reference a thesaurus, who’s to say you’ve chosen the right words to highlight your skills?
One way to find out is to upload your resume to a word cloud generator. A great one to use is Word it Out. You can upload your resume text, create the word cloud, and then examine the word list to see which words/skills are used most often. You can also edit the word cloud to only display words that show up a certain number of times. If the results aren’t what you had expected or hoped for, you can edit your word choices and try again.
DON’T Forget to Update
No one enjoys updating their resume, but it’s a necessary step if you hope to land a new job. However, the task can be more manageable if you update it consistently, and this helps ensure all important responsibilities and projects are included. If you wait until the end of a job, then chances are high that you might forget something.
Now that you have a few tips to get you started, you can dramatically increase your chances of landing your next job. Remember, editing your resume may seem like a tedious task, but it is a necessary one. Take your time and tackle it section by section. Before you know it, your stellar resume will having hiring managers dying to hire you.
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