Whether you’re actively aiming for a new gig or just floating a few resumes here and there, following these critical resume tips can make the difference between landing your dream job and never even getting into an interview chair.
1. Provide an employer benefit. Tell prospective employers what you can do for them (especially in terms of money you can make them or money/time you can save them) and they will put your name at the top of the list. If you do nothing else, do this. Consider a one-sentence resume that reads:
Based upon my studies at ABC University and my three years of experience analyzing the manufacturing of widgets at ACME Widgets, Inc., I can save your company $400,000 in six months.
Compared to a three-page resume that never indicates what the job candidate might do for the employer—who do you think will get an interview?
2. Be personal. The days of the one-size-fits-all resume are long gone. If a job opportunity doesn’t inspire you enough to tweak your CV and write a brief cover letter, don’t even both applying.
3. Proofread! Maybe they’ll notice a typo, maybe they won’t. But if they do, your chances of getting through the door will go way, way down.
4. Be honest. It can be tempting to fib a bit on your resume. Maybe you embellish past responsibilities or “tweak” employment dates to cover brief periods of unemployment. Unless you blatantly misrepresent you credentials (such as falsely claiming a university degree), you may not get caught, but even trivial details can cost you your job. Honesty is always the best policy, and it can cost you a lot of trouble down the road.
5. Be succinct. Whenever possible, keep your resume on just one page. Consolidate multiple positions at one employer under one heading, and leave off details of older experiences or ones that aren’t relevant to the job for which you are applying. The shorter your resume, the more likely an employer will read it.
6. Be specific. Since you want to be concise, choose your words carefully. When you do so, be as specific as possible. Before you write each entry on you resume, ask yourself: What, exactly, did you accomplish? And why, exactly, will that experience benefit your prospective employer?