The most important thing to remember when writing a resume is that it will probably only be glanced at. Hiring managers will probably be sorting through a pile, and be looking for something to jump out at them. So make sure that your resume will catch someone’s interest in under 30 seconds.
How? By following these steps (These are things I’ve learned – some by trial and error, and some through very good advice).
Best Foot Forward
Put the most interesting things about you, the things that are most relevant to that job, at the top. Most resumes have several sections, including (but not limited to): experience, education, activities, awards and computer skills. If you have really rare computer skills, and those are what the job ad specificially mentions the company is looking for, put that up front. Often, people put things in order according to a sample resume or random format someone told them worked. The truth is, putting your best foot forward (and your relevant information at the top of the sheet) will help catch and keep a hiring managers attention.
Your resume is your first impression. It is unlikely you’d walk into a job interview with a stain on your shirt; why should you submit a resume with spelling errors or typos? Re-read your resume. Have other people read your resume. Believe it or not, I’m a professional editor, and for about 3 months I didn’t catch a typo on my own resume. I showed it to career couselors, my parents, everyone – it wasn’t until I showed it to a college friend, that she finally noticed a mistake. Have everyone you can look your resume over.
Don’t be Boring
A good friend of mine has on his resume that he knows how to make hummus. Believe it or not, this is what landed him his current job. He was applying for financial jobs – but when he went in for the interview, his interviewer asked about this unique skill. They got into a conversation about it; he got the job. If there is something unique or interesting about you, or something that you feel pasionate about don’t be afraid to mention it. It’ll help you stand out when the interviewer is looking at 5 resumes, all qualified, with the same skills and knowledge. Four resumes may be boring, but yours will show that not only are you qualified, but you’re an interesting person too.
It’s a resume – not a teenage girl’s notebook
Teenage girls in highschool have a tendency to write the name of their crush over and over – in different handwriting, just initials, last name, first name – every combination you can image. Your resume should not look like this. Use one font. Use bold only for important information (on my resume, the company names are bold, as are the two colleges I attended; nothing else is.) Be careful about embellishments.
Postive, Active and Concise
Most people use bullet points on their resume; I recommend this. However, your bullet point should not be more then one line. You should be concise and positive. Don’t put anything on your resume that you hated doing (what if an employer decides you’d be perfect to do that all over again?). Think numbers. (good example: I researched, conducted interviews for, and wrote 3-6 articles a month for 4 magazines). You probably didn’t notice but in that example I also used active voice. Try to avoid being passive. (Bad Example: Articles in several magazines have been written by me; I did this every month). This is probably the most difficult part of resume writing; but if done correctly it can also make all the difference.
Shine baby shine.
Finally, make sure you contact information is on EVERYTHING (Cover letter, resume, writing samples, etc) that you send to a potential employer. You don’t want to WOW them then not get the job because they couldn’t find your phone number!
Other Relevant Links:
How to Write a Cover Letter
Advertising Yourself: Resume & Cover Letter