Resume Writing Tips
- Know the purpose of your resume
Some people write a resume as if the purpose of the document was to land a job. As a result, they end up with a long and boring piece. The objective of your resume is to land an interview and the interview will land you the job.
- Back up your qualities and strengths
Instead of creating a long list with all your qualities (e.g., disciplined, creative, problem solver) try to connect them with real life and work experiences. Reinforce these qualities, strengths and accomplishments.
- Use effective titles
Employers will usually make a judgment about your resume within 5 seconds. One of the most important aspects will be the titles that you list on the resume. Try to be as descriptive as possible, giving the employer a good idea about the nature of your past work experiences. For example: Bad title: Accounting – Good titles: Manager of A/R and A/P , Accounting Manager, etc.
One small typo and your chances of getting interviewed can diminish. Proofreading it once is not enough, do it as many times as necessary.
- Use bullet points
No employer will have the time or patience to read long paragraphs of text. Use bullet points and short sentences to describe your experiences, accomplishments and educational background.
- Put the most important information first
This point is valid both to the overall order of your resume, as well as to the individual sections. Most of the times your previous work experience will be the most important part of the resume, so put it at the top. When describing your experiences or skills, list the most important ones first.
- Attention to the typography
First of all make sure that your fonts are big enough. The smallest is 11 points, but 12 is probably safer. Do not use capital letters all over the place, remember that your goal is to communicate a message as fast and as clearly as possible. Times Romans is a good choice of font.
- Do not include unnecessary information
There are many people that like to include statements like “Available for interview” or “References available upon request.” If you are sending a resume to a company, it should be a given that you are available for an interview and that you will provide references if requested.
- Explain the benefits of your skills
Simply stating that you can do something will not catch the attention of the employer. Explaining how your skills and accomplishments will benefit the company will greatly improve your chances.
- Avoid negativity
Do not include information that might sound negative to the employer. On your resume or in the interview. De not include, for instance, things that you disliked about your last company.
- Achievements instead of responsibilities
Resumes that include a long list of “responsibilities” are boring and not efficient in presenting your experiences. Detail responsibilities and describe your professional achievements.
- No pictures
Avoid attaching your picture to the resume.
- Use numbers
When describing your past professional achievements make them as solid as possible. As an example, don’t merely mention that you increased the annual revenues of your division, state the specifics.
- One resume for each employer
One of the most common mistakes that people make is to create a standard resume. Tailor your resume for each employer and position. Use the position’s Job Description as a guideline.
- Avoid age discrimination
It is illegal to discriminate people because of their age. Unless specifically requested, do not include your age on your resume.
Remember that you are trying to sell yourself. The marketing efforts you put in your resume, i.e. content, design, delivery method will give you an advantage over the other candidates.
- Don’t include irrelevant information
Irrelevant information such as political affiliation, religion and sexual preference will not help you. In fact it might even hurt your chances of landing an interview.
- Use Mr. and Ms. if appropriate
If you have a gender-neutral name like Alex or Ryan make sure to include the Mr. or Ms. Prefix.
- Do Not lie
Even small lies must be avoided. Most HR departments do background checks and if lies are discovered it will ruin your credibility.
- Keep the salary in mind
The image you will create with your resume must match the salary and responsibility level that you are aiming for.
- Get someone else to review your resume
It is a good idea to get a second and third opinion. We usually become blind to our own mistakes or way of reasoning, therefore other people will be able to evaluate the overall quality of your resume and make appropriate suggestions.
- Two or Three Pages
Resume should be two or three pages at maximum. Provided all the necessary information is there, the shorter the resume the better.
- Use action verbs
Action verbs will get noticed more easily and will clearly communicate your experience and achievements. Examples include managed, coached, enforced and planned.
- No hobbies
Unless you are 100% sure that some of your hobbies will support you candidacy, avoid mentioning them.
- Update your resume regularly
Update your resume on a regular basis. Add all the new information that is relevant to your career, courses, training programs, academic qualifications, work history and accomplishments.
- Make the design flow with white space
White space between the words, lines and paragraphs can improve the legibility of your resume.
- Lists all your positions
If you have worked a long time for the same company list all the different positions and roles that you had during this time separately. Not doing so can create the illusion you have changed companies frequently.
- No slang
Slang of any type should never be present in a resume.
- Careful with sample resume templates
There are many websites that offer free resume templates. They can help to get ideas of how to write and format your resume, most are not professional in format or appearance.
- Remove your older work experiences
The last 20 years of your career is sufficient, unless that work history is relevant to role your seeking.
- No pronouns
Resumes should not contain the pronouns “I” or “me.” Your resume is a document about your person, using pronouns is redundant.
- Don’t forget the basics
First is your name. It should be bold and with a larger font than the rest of the text. Next address, followed by contact information, phone and email address.
- No fancy design details
Do not use a colored background, fancy fonts or images on your resume. Print on a good quality, plain white paper.