Recruiters approximately spend only six seconds skimming a resume! Your resume serves as your first impression, so you want to wow the manager reading it. A well-polished resume that highlights your accomplishments can make the difference between receiving an interview or being quickly passed over. With these expert resume-writing tips, improve your resume and stand out in a pool of even the most competitive candidates.
Easy on the Eyes
One great way to improve your resume is to make it visually appealing. Choose a font that has a classic, clean look, such as Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman. It is best to use a font size between 10 and 12. You shouldn’t have too much white space on your resume, nor should it look too cluttered, so you can select the appropriate font size based on how much space your text takes. Your resume should never exceed two full pages and will usually only be one page if you are newer to the workforce.
Use subtitles to divide your resume into categories such as experience, education, certifications, awards, and skills. Not all of these categories have to be included. Work experience should be listed reverse chronologically with your current or most recent position listed first. Keep it concise and appropriate for your career level. You don’t need to list every role you’ve had since high school. As you gain more experienced, you can replace positions that are further back with recent roles. As a rule of thumb, you usually shouldn’t include positions from more than a decade ago. Don’t include references on your resume. These can be provided when requested later in the application process.
Advice for Recent Grads
Don’t worry if you have limited work experience; experience will come with time. Recent graduates should list their education first, but seasoned professionals should list experience first. As you work on building professional expertise, you can include relevant business courses you took in college. Are you applying for a junior financial analyst position? Definitely list your Investment Portfolios course. Co-curricular activities show your commitment to business outside of the classroom and enhance your resume. Study abroad trips show you can adapt to new situations and have a global business perspective. Though volunteer work and internships may be unpaid, these demonstrate valuable real-world work experience. Academic achievements, such as making the Dean’s List and membership in business honor societies, are also highly impressive.
Action, Action, Read All About It
Improve your resume with strong action verbs and include numbers to support your achievements. For example, “Increased quarterly sales by 15%” speaks of your performance, as opposed to weak descriptions such as “worked in the sales department.” The first description showcases your talent, but the second merely lists an assigned work duty. Reading “Led a team” over and over gets boring. Grab the attention of the recruiter with a strong action verb, such as spearheaded. Go through your resume and replace all of your mundane verbs with more interesting actions.
Strong action verb lists are available, so you can find the perfect synonym that will give you credit for the hard work you’ve accomplished. Synonyms for if you supervised a project can include coordinated, executed, or oversaw. If you developed a project, you could say devised, engineered, or implemented. Try not to repeat the same verb too many times.
Accentuate Leadership Experience
This is your time to shine, not to be modest! Even if “manager” has not been part of your job title yet, you should list projects and initiatives you have led. If you have supervised any professional committees or mentored a junior employee, list these experiences. Make sure you include how many employees you managed. If you don’t have any leadership experience, seek out opportunities to boost your resume so that you will be better equipped for future promotions.
Tailor it to Each Job
Upon reviewing the requirements and responsibilities in a job post, think about the relevant experience you have. In the professional work history portion of your resume, rephrase the tasks you’ve done to mirror the posting. If you have a side hustle, you may not typically include this on your main resume. You can have a separate resume for freelance work or a condensed resume that is all-inclusive. You can decide on a job-by-job basis which resume is most appropriate for the current role you’re interested in.
Prove you have what it takes by including a hyperlink to a creative portfolio with samples of your work, a professional blog, or a LinkedIn profile. Proofread these sites and keep them up-to-date. Consider writing and posting content that is relevant to the position you’re applying for, so if a recruiter clicks on your link, they’ll think you’re the perfect fit for the job.
If you already have a resume, there’s no need to start from scratch. You can just tweak it to make it better. To make sure you are on the right track, it can also be helpful to view resumes within your industry. There are hundreds of free resume templates, which can be easily accessed through the internet. If you need a bit more assistance, college career centers offer resume writing workshops. Look some local workshops up and make a plan to be there. Career counselors also provide free resume critiques. If you are an online student, you can email a copy of your resume to be reviewed. Sometimes alumni are still able to receive these career services after graduating, but if not, you can ask a trusted colleague to proofread your resume.
Many job sites allow you to submit your application with the click of a button, but to increase your chances of it landing in the right person’s hand, try to research the email address of the person responsible for making the hiring decision. Send a personal email with a brief message about why you’re interested in the job and include your resume. If possible, try to connect with the hiring manager via LinkedIn or a personal contact before emailing them. You can also research if the company will be attending any job fairs or community events. This would be a great opportunity to organically meet with someone who could determine your future. Good luck with your job search!