To you, a resume is just a piece of paper listing all your experience, but to a potential employer, your resume is your make-or-break first impression. Each job can get dozens or even hundreds of resumes, so how can you make sure your resume makes the cut? Today, we’ve got our top 5 strategies for successful resumes that you need to know.
#1: Don’t overlook design
Your resume is more than just words on the page. Your resume’s design can indicate to interviewers the amount of effort you’re willing to put in to get the job. Plus, the design of your resume can draw the hiring manager’s attention and help them find the information they’re looking for. If your resume is badly designed, though, it’ll be discarded in the first round.
If you’re not a graphic designer, don’t worry. Many programs like Microsoft Word or Canva offer professional resume templates that are free and nice looking.
#2: Make your resume unique for each job
Hirers want to know that you actually read the job posting and are taking it seriously, and one of the ways you can do that is with your resume.
Include words and phrases that the company used in the job listing, as well as some industry-specific terms that will display your knowledge of the field. Be sure to display your ability to do the responsibilities of the role through your past experience. The more you do this, the more interesting your resume will be to potential employers.
#3: Stay organized
There are a few rules of thumb for organizing your resume. Your contact information should be at the top of the first page, and then a list of your experiences should follow. These experiences should be listed in reverse chronological order, where your most recent experience is first and your most distant is last.
If you have any other information you’d like to include, keep it separate from your experiences section by including it in a section of its own, either in the margins or at the end of the document.
Whatever format you decide, make sure your information flows in a way that makes sense.
#4: Keep it consistent
There are many ways to write the body of your resume, but the main thing is to keep it consistent. If you list your job title, your employer, and the duration of employment, you should do that for each role you include.
For the body of each experience you list, you should try to focus on your accomplishments and skills instead only describing the job. It’s generally recommended that you start with an action word to explain each role, avoiding unnecessary words.
This is the most important of our 5 tips, and it can’t be overstated. Have someone (if possible, multiple people) read over your resume before you submit it. Grammar mistakes will immediately put your resume in the trash, and any unclear writing will only lessen your chances. The more people you allow to read your resume, the fewer mistakes will make it to the final draft.
In summary, you shouldn’t rush through creating your resume. Carefully crafting your resume will make you more likely to get the job, and cutting corners will only waste time. Don’t forget this, even when you’re tempted to hurry.
If you need help writing your resume, applying for jobs, nailing interviews, we’re one of the top career resources in the Birmingham area. Learn more about our program here, or click here to read more of our blog. Thanks for reading!