2017-10-02 by Samantha
Writing an effective resume is something of an art and a science. In addition to avoiding obvious (but common) mistakes like typos, using passive and vague language, and forgetting to update your email or contact number, a good resume will highlight your experience (read: accomplishments), align with the what hiring managers are looking for and ultimately make you stand out from a pool of fellow applicants. It can be a tall (and daunting) order, but following a few proven tips for writing a great resume is the first step in getting yourself noticed — and hired.
The point of a resume is to show employers and recruiters your qualifications, but as in every other aspect of business (and life), presentation is everything. Even with the best qualifications, common resume writing mistakes can derail your job search before it begins. Follow a few simple tips to make sure your resume accurately reflects your skills and experience in the best format for your industry or field.
1. Choose the Best Format for Your Job Search, Experience and Industry
You can’t win over a recruiter or future boss if they won’t bother to read your resume. First impressions are everything when it comes to your resume, and most hiring managers and recruiters are believed to spend an average of 25 seconds scanning new resumes. If your accomplishments and qualifications for the job for which you’re applying don’t grab their eye in that time, your resume may not get a further look. Break up big blocks of text, use active voice, highlight accomplishments with bullet points, and choose a clean, elegant and easy-to-read (and scan) format.
If you’re just starting out or early enough in your career this will be less of an issue, but the most important element of your resume is highlighting your ability to do the job you are applying for, which means that if you’ve been in the workforce for a while, every single job and activity will not necessarily be relevant and therefore will take up precious real estate on your resume. Whether you adhere to the one- or two-page rule is up to you (many sources recommend one, just to be safe), but editing out unnecessary information is a good way to keep your resume focused and targeted to the job you want.
3. Optimize for Relevant Keywords
Even if your resume is reviewed primarily by humans and not search engines, using phrases and keywords that are targeted to the job description and experience that the company is looking for will help move your resume to the top of the heap and make it more readable and scannable.
4. Be Creative and Show Your Personality (But Keep It Professional)
Whether you need to explain gaps in your work history, supplement for a lack of technical skills or educational requirements, or are changing careers, highlighting your potential will take a little creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, which can also help to highlight your personality if you strike the right balance. Just be mindful to keep it professional and to avoid information that may be deemed inappropriate or even offensive to a prospective employer, especially if you are applying for a corporate position in a more traditional industry.
5. Rock Those Soft Skills
Communication skills, adaptability and the ability to work well in teams are valuable and indispensable assets in any industry. Rather than using bland and boilerplate language to highlight your soft skills, tell an interesting story that will show off your verbal skills and ability to work well with others.
6. Get Professional Help
If the prospect of building a resume on your own seems too daunting and overwhelming, a professional can help take the stress and pressure off so that you can focus on the interview!
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