No one really enjoys going on the job hunt. Even though the prospect of a new job or work can be exciting on the outside, soon it feels like a drag to be constantly answering the same questions, doing searches every day, filtering out the bad ones, making an account on a company’s website so you can apply and the worst one, attaching your resume and then being asked to individually enter all of your work experience.
Your resume is the most important thing for getting your foot in the door. While you may be able to nail the interview, first you’ve got to get them to notice you and that comes by putting out a killer resume.
If you’re making a resume for the first time or looking to update it, here are some tips to help set you off on the right path.
Keep it Clean
This shouldn’t even be a tip, but you might be surprised to see how many resumes out there are unorganized, messy and plain hard to read. You see, recruiters aren’t going to spend a lot of time pouring over your resume details and nitpicking every detail. The 6-second rule has long been the base for how long a recruiter will check out your resume. While it might be a bit longer than six seconds, it’s definitely not going to be over a minute.
So, if your resume is messy and unorganized, do you believe a recruiter is going to take the time to look it over? Definitely not. It’s headed straight to the trash.
Order, Order in the Court!
When you’re looking for resume examples or thinking about how you should reorder yours, you might see many different formats out there. Truth be told, there is no perfect resume format.
Most people follow the following template:
- Name and contact information
- Work Experience
- Skills and other abilities
If you’re not sure, check out a few templates on your own or write one down first, just to give you an idea of how it may look.
Do you remember in your high school English class when the teacher would always stress to you the importance of active voice? Well, it’s time to dust off that memory and apply it to your resume writing.
When describing work experiences and events, use active voice and use strong opening words. For example:
- Use: Managed a team of five on X project
- Don’t use: Was on a team that worked on X project
Your resume is a good place to brag about yourself as well. You want to sound confident, but not too cocky. It’s OK to embellish just a tad, but you don’t want to stray from the truth.
Look for any keywords in the job posting as well and see if you can fit them into your resume, either during your skills or work experience sections.
Lastly, use professional language! It shouldn’t be necessary to say this, but once again, you’d be surprised how many people take a casual tone when submitting their resumes.
Tailor Make Your Resume
While many resumes can be a “one size fits all” kind of deal, you may want to look into customizing your resume for certain jobs. For example, if you’re heading for a job in IT or the tech industry, you might want to put more emphasis on your skills than you would on other resumes.
Read the job profile or what you’re applying for and make sure to emphasize past work experiences or projects to match up with your work. Put those at the top of your work experiences and details so that recruiters will see them when passing over.
If you have an online portfolio or LinkedIn profile, consider attaching it somewhere on your resume, especially if you are applying through an online platform.
Know the Industry
Quite similar to tailor-making your resume, but you should be aware of your industry and how their resumes may be different. You can apply your “one size fits all” resume to this industry, but only if it matches up.
If you’re not sure, you can head over to Google Images and do an image search for “teacher resume” to see some examples. Follow their format.
Also, if you are applying internationally, be aware of the country’s norms. Many European countries, for example, ask you put a picture of yourself on the resume where this would be considered a huge no-no in the United States.
How to Send Your Resume
Now that you know how to craft the perfect resume, it’s time to get it out there. Many job boards like, Indeed, allow you and every other applicant to apply online. That isn’t a totally bad idea. If there are other ways to apply go for it! To make yourself stand out, bring your resume in person. You can include a sweet treat for the office like cookies or if you want to be a little more subtle leave behind a business card and ink pens with your name and number on them. The same pens that companies will hand out at events. No matter what route you decide to go, follow it up with a phone call the next day.