Your resume is the most important document in your job search and your first opportunity to present yourself to a potential employer. It’s your time to shine! Hiring managers and recruiters scan resumes in seconds, so it’s important for your resume to make a quick impact. Here are some simple resume writing tips to help you stand out.
Your resume can be longer than 1 page!
One of the most common myths about resumes is that they shouldn’t be longer than one page. While I agree that it is important to be concise and to-the-point, you still must demonstrate how all your experiences and qualifications match the job you are trying to land. For many applicants, this cannot be achieved in a single page. Why has the one-page resume myth stuck around so long?!
Check out NextPath’s very own Kelli McDonaugh as she dispels the myth with a little segment we like to call, Kelli’s Corner.
For some applicants, it is possible to have a one-page resume; entry-level applicants, recent grads, or someone making a career change. Anyone who has more than a few years of experience, however, will need more than one page to clearly communicate why their experience fits the job they are applying for.
Highlight relevant skills and experience at the top of your resume.
The first page of your resume is very important. Your most relevant skills should be on this page. One way to do this is to create a summary section at the top of your resume that provides a brief synopsis of the experience and skills that make you a strong candidate for the job you’re applying for. You can also include a skills table of “core competencies” or “key skills” in your resume summary to highlight your professional and/or technical skills.
Career experts have suggested to do away with the old “Objective” statement and replace it with this summary or career snapshot. The objective is always to get a job, right? There is no reason to waste valuable space stating the obvious.
Include DETAILS about relevant experience.
The real “meat” of your resume should be in the “Professional Experience” section. Include your work history in reverse-chronological order, starting from your current or most recent job. Provide a brief, but detailed, bulleted list of your responsibilities in each role. It is important to highlight actions and results that are relevant to the position you’re applying for. Adapting your resume to the position will only increase the chances that you will get past the first level of the process.
Don’t forget to highlight quantifiable achievements. This is where you get to brag! Provide sales quotas and attainment, percentages of growth, improvement of operating expenses, ROI, etc. Specific merits are engaging and jump off the page at a hiring manager.
Even though we all agree that your resume can be more than one page, it is still important to keep it concise. More seasoned or senior level professionals should consider including details for only the last ten years of work experience. This will help keep your resume at a reasonable length. You can include an “Additional Experience” section at the bottom that only lists the companies, titles, and dates for any previous work history. You can provide more detail if asked.
Check for errors.
Take your time and triple check your work! Have someone else review your resume for mistakes. A hiring manager (and recruiter) could automatically dismiss your application if they see typos or grammatical errors. Mistakes on your resume could be seen as laziness or a lack of attention to detail, neither of which are traits that a hiring manager wants on his or her team. Ensure all spelling, grammar and punctuation are correct and consistent throughout the entire document. Review formatting including font, bullets, alignment, and spacing. Again, the goal of a resume is to put your best foot forward so you should treat it as if you are being graded.
Your resume should reflect your unique experience, education, and relevant skills. Once it is polished and finalized, it should help you get more interviews and job offers. Take your time. Make it simple and easy to read. Make it relevant!