To land your dream gig in today’s cutthroat job market, you’ll need a resume that blows hiring managers out of their chairs. To help, I scoured the Web for nine tips that will help you rock rewriting your resume.
1. Sell Your Achievements. What’s the most important content on your resume? It’s not your education, or even your past employers. Aside from perhaps your phone number (so you can actually get an interview), the most important part of a winning resume are achievements. If you’re just out of school, your degree is certainly an achievement. But if you’ve been out for more than a year, what else have you done? Be as specific as possible. Toot your own horn!
2. Use Bullet Points. Hiring managers receive dozens, if not hundreds, of resumes every day. You want yours to stand out…fast! Putting bullet points on your resume will make the document easy to scan and more likely to catch somebody’s eye.
3. Skip the Template. Your resume should be unique—just like you—so skip resume templates. Read up on what a resume should include, but never just cut and paste your info into somebody else’s idea of what a resume should look like.
4. Engage Action Verbs. No, it’s not a flashback to high school English class…it’s a drop-dead rule of great resume writing: Use action verbs! Verbs that pack a punch and are descriptive all by themselves like “organized”, “managed”, “analyzed”, “created”, “planned”, “oversaw”, etc. Note: To avoid going overboard and sounding ridiculous, pick six resume action verbs to start with and add more carefully.
5. Tell a Story. The best resumes have a theme and tell a story, even if they are just a collection of bullets. Even if you have held several jobs in different areas, what is one thing that motivated you at each. What similarities do all of your accomplishments share.
6. Keep it Short; Really Short. These days more than ever, less is a lot more. We’re all strapped for time, so the faster you can get your point across, the better. So keep your resume short. If you’re still under 30, it should never be more than a page.
7. Avoid Clutter. Since you want to keep your resume short, you definitely don’t want to clutter it with things you don’t need. What don’t you need on your resume? Mission statements or objectives, excessive keywords, photos, and jobs you held for less than a year (you’ll probably have to explain those, but save it for the interview). Getting rid of clutter is especially important at the top of your resume. Don’t waste that valuable resume real estate with a generic mission statement!
8. Avoid Resume Design Blunders. Even if your resume is perfectly written, hiring managers may still over look it if your resume is miserably designed. Learn to avoid the seven deadly sins of resume design or, even easier, stick with simple black type on high-quality (but not showy) white paper. Use a simple font (but not the boring old Times Roman). Finally, if you send your resume electronically, always include a simple text-based version. You never know how your formatted resume will look on another computer—or if a hiring manger will even care enough to open an attachment.
9. Improve Yourself, Not Just Your Resume. These days we’re taught from a very early age to do more, more, more just to add bullets to our resumes. The sad reality is, the more we try to accomplish, the poorer we’ll perform at each task. And what good is an awe-inspiring resume if we’re really just mediocre at a lot of things? With that in mind, focus on improving yourself, not your resume. You’ll be far happier—and more successful—because of it.