Putting together a resume is always a daunting task. It’s often the only chance you get to make an impression with a hiring manager before they decide who to call in for an interview. How can you be sure of exactly what to include to best sell yourself on one page? Are there new trends you should be following? Or specific things to avoid that could make your resume look dated? Here are 5 tips to get your resume in shape to help you land the job.
Don’t include every experience or accomplishment. While you might have been great at making milkshakes in high school or worked really hard to earn the top grocery bagger award in college, professional employers don’t need to know about it. You only get one page to sell yourself, so stop thinking of it as a chronological employment list and instead consider it a marketing tool. List experiences and accomplishments that are relevant to the job you’re currently applying for. View each line of your resume as prime retail space and be sure the information you’re including is worthy of the spot.
List everything in reverse chronological order. Once you’ve narrowed down which experiences are relevant and worthy of inclusion, list those most recent first. Prospective employers want to know what you’ve been doing in the past year more than the things you learned in your first professional job out of college. This method also allows your resume to flow in a way that makes sense to the reader and is easiest to follow.
When it comes to formatting, keep it simple. Do the hiring manager a favor, and keep the font and color choices for your resume simple. While you might think bright colors and creative fonts will make you stand out, they most often have a negative affect. Instead, use fonts that are easy on the eyes like Helvetica or Arial in 10 to 12 point size. You can get a little creative in the font and color choices for your name and resume headers, but keep it professional and consistent. The main focus should be on readability over creativity.
Be sure to include your contact info. And be sure it’s in a prominent place. Think back to the days of turning in a school paper without your name, but this time no matter how much they like your work a hiring manager isn’t going to waste time trying to find a way to contact you. Include your phone number and a professional email address, preferably one not linked to your current job. Bonus points for including ways to find you on the web, such as a Twitter handle or LinkedIn profile.
When it comes to experience and accomplishments, show don’t tell. It’s easy to fall into the rut of using common descriptors to frame a resume, but remember that the goal is to stand out and sell yourself to the hiring manager. When it comes to past work experience, be specific and only include the relevant accomplishments. Quantify your experience and results whenever possible. By what percentage did you exceed your goals? How much did sales increase after your first year on the team? This gives the hiring manager a better picture of what kind of employee you can be.