Eight essential rules to writing your best resume

Eight essential rules to writing your best resume

They’re hiring! You’ve found a great job opportunity, and you’re totally qualified. So now what? Creating a captivating and effective resume is no easy task, but we’ve put together the most essential tips and tricks for writing your perfect resume that will impress any hiring manager. Let’s get started.

  1. One resume does not fit all.

Different jobs require different skill sets and work experience. When applying to a position, thoroughly read the job description and the qualifications required. How do your skills translate? Your resume should reflect why you’re the best candidate for the job, so highlight yourself accordingly. For example, a cafe manager hiring a barista will want to know about your coffee knowledge and customer service skills. Whereas an executive hiring an assistant will be interested in learning about your admin experience, writing quality, and the computer software you are familiar with.

2. Ready, set, action!

What will capture the hiring manager’s attention? A resume must be succinct and interesting to read in order to help you stand out from the number of applicants they will be reviewing. Focus on using action words, and quantifying your skills when listing your work experience, duties and accomplishments. If you were the lead server at your previous restaurant job and trained new employees, try describing this as “Trained and developed five new hires in time-management and customer experience.” rather than as “Helped manager train new servers.” Some other great action words to consider are managed, created, sold, led and engaged. However, there are plenty more to describe your abilities and experience. Solid numbers and stats also provide clear and specific examples of your experience at a previous job. Details like, “Increased daily check average by 25%.” or “Hired and managed a team of 10 employees during the key marketing campaign.” are evidence of your qualifications and aptitude. Basically, show, don’t tell!

3. Go light on the personal.

Unless your hobbies and interests directly show your qualifications for a particular position (e.g. avid surfer, applying to be a surf instructor) these shouldn’t be included in your resume. This is an easy mistake to make! You have 1-2 pages to highlight your skills and experience, don’t waste time and space sharing about your love of cat videos on YouTube, or your fascination with magic. If it doesn’t show how you would benefit their company or business needs, then leave it for happy hour chatter. If it does coincide with the company’s culture, feel free to include them under Additional Skills or Personal Interests.

4. Went a while without work? No worries!

Everyone experiences transitions in their life, perhaps causing gaps in their work history. However, these don’t need to stop you from getting your next job. There are a number of ways to avoid revealing these gaps in your resume. To start, think about eliminating dates from your resume altogether, which is called a Functional Resume. This format concentrates on highlighting your qualifications, rather than specific job dates and length. Or, utilizing a Combination Resume format can also resolve this issue. This resume style lists your previous positions in reverse-chronological order. Then once you reach your work gap, you simply list your qualifications, leaving dates off. If you experienced a shorter gap, eliminating months alone can easily smooth out your timeline. For example, working from September 1st, 2018 to March 1st, 2019 can be adjusted to 2018-2019.

5. Be professional!

We’ve all been there, made an email address we thought was hilarious or silly, right partygirl4life@hotmail.com? Well, your resume is not the place to share your high school nickname or college email. While we’re not saying you can’t show your personality on your resume, know your audience. Professionalism is super important when pursuing any job position. Make a simple and professional email address to use as your work email, no nicknames or favorite food here, please. This will also organize all work-related messages to one inbox. Additionally, make sure your resume file name is clear and concise, not “rough draft1,” but rather “Jennifer Miller Resume”. Consider deleting that selfie from your resume as well. Unless the position your pursuing calls for a headshot, leave the photographs for your online profile. Stay on the safe side and let your qualifications speak for you.

6.Think pretty.

Think about what catches your eye when reading an article or word document. The print is easy to read, spacing is on point, and perhaps columns and/or bullet points were used to save space and list a topic clearly. The following points can easily sway your hiring manager in the wrong direction.

Do Not:

  • Use tiny fonts (nothing under 10)
  • Use crazy font styles (keep it professional)
  • Use light colors making it difficult to read (Were you really thinking yellow?)
  • Write a wall of text (use proper spacing and paragraph breaks)
  • Overdo it on the imaging or graphics (no collages please)

7.Honesty is key.

We hope this is not a surprise, but no lying on your resume! Getting caught for falsehoods could have serious consequences, and even follow you down the road. Reporting your have credentials that you have never attained, or embellishing on your experience in order to get a higher paying job, will ultimately be revealed when you cannot perform, or do not have the knowledge about a certain subject. Be honest about your accomplishments, skills, and experience. Many companies are open to hiring people with basic skills (you’re train-able!) and a good work ethic (hello, long-term employee).

8.Golden Rule: Spell check!

Last and perhaps the most important, is spelling and grammar. Even the most impressive resumes can be easily set aside over a simple spelling mistake. A resume is the first impression a hiring manager has of you, so seeing mistakes can resonate as lacking attention to detail, or as missing basic writing skills. The quality of your resume mirrors the quality of your work. Take the time to run spell-check, pass it to a friend to look over, and even take a break and look it over again. Seeing something with fresh eyes can do wonders!

Need more help? Send us your questions and resumes! We would love to take a look and chat with you.

Written by: Azure Nelson

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