Resume Tips

Your resume must stand out in order to get you the results you want. Here are twelve ways – some unconventional, some tried and true – to create an irresistible resume.

  1. Customize. What’s the single best way to get interviews? Tweak your resume to reflect the job you’re responding to. Don’t misrepresent yourself, but if you have relevant job experience that’s not listed on the standard version of your resume, make changes. The more your resume matches up with what an employer is looking for, the more likely it is you’ll hear from them.
  2. Make it easy to read. This may mean cutting up to a third of the words, and also formatting it correctly. For example:
    • Margins need to be wide enough for the interviewer’s notes.
    • The typeface needs to be large enough for an older person to read (not as big as a large print book, but as big as the type in your typical hardcover bestseller).
    • Job titles should be in bold.
    • Sections of the resume need to have full line spaces between them. The text should not look like a solid block.
    • Try to use bullet points instead of sentences. They take up more space but are more likely to be read.
    • Worried about what words to cut? Cut all the information that is not related to the job you are applying for.
  3. Include all your contact information including LinkedIn profiles (but maybe not your Facebook page).
  4. Spell check. Spell check again.
  5. Read your resume out loud. This will help your sentences be clearer, and it will show you where you start sounding overly promotional or unprofessional.
  6. Show results. Do not just give your job titles and job descriptions, also show how you made a difference. Did you reduce mailing costs by 20%? Did you write a customer service manual that cut down response time? Include anything you did that made a difference. Use action verbs wherever possible.
  7. Include keywords. Use the Google AdWords keyword tool and find six to ten keywords that match up with your experience and skills and the job you want to find. Do not overuse these terms, but sprinkle them in where they sound appropriate.
  8. Choose the right format: chronological, targeted or combination. Research which one is best for your resume and for the job you want to find or the industry you want to be in.
  9. Skip the obvious. You don’t need to include phrases like “available for interviews” or “references available upon request”.
  10. Dress it up. Buy some nice quality paper. You do not need card stock but use a high quality printer. And always bring an extra copy (or three) of your resume to the interview.
  11. Avoid pronouns. No “I”s or “me”s, please.
  12. Do NOT get creative with fonts. Keep it simple and readable.