- Think like a recruiter. When writing your resume, think through the lens of the recruiter. They are busy with many resumes to scan weekly. Ensure your resume is easy to navigate and doesn’t try to be too fancy. Stick to commonly used fonts, use bullets instead of long sentences and include easily understandable language.
- Tailor your resume to the job you’re applying to. Instead of casting a wide net and applying to multiple jobs at once, narrow your selection to focus on the jobs you truly want. Then, tailor your resume to that specific job. Include real examples of past experiences and accomplishments that align with every bullet on the job description.
- Consider a video resume. In addition to your print resume, create a short video to stand out to prospective employers. Target the video to each position or company you are applying to. Show off your personality, highlight your experiences and market why you are the best candidate for the job. You may be allowed to upload the video resume directly to your job profile.
- Develop a keyword strategy. Before applying for a job, carefully dissect the job posting and create a list of skills, knowledge, etc. required. Hiring managers spend a good deal of time skimming through resumes to identify keywords that match the job description. We recommend including keywords and phrases 2-3 times in your resume to ensure it is found when employers use applicant tracking systems.
- Organize your resume. Make your resume easy to read by including header sections, concise information and simple lists. Order your resume by the information that you want to spotlight first. This will allow hiring managers to quickly scan your resume and find the qualifications they are looking for.
- Include only relevant information. Don’t waste time including unnecessary details or jobs on your resume that don’t illustrate skills needed for the role. Avoid overused words that don’t differentiate yourself from your competitors, like “energetic” or “good communicator.”
- Validate your experience. Show the impact you had in your previous roles by detailing your accomplishments, quantifiable metrics and context. Give credibility to your work experience and skill set by providing links to relevant resources, including personal websites, your LinkedIn profile and digital portfolios. It’s best to hyperlink words, instead of including a long, ugly link on your resume. If you plan on having a printed version of your resume, use a link shortener like Bitly for a cleaner look.
- Check for spelling and grammar. Before submitting a resume, always conduct a spelling and grammar check. Your resume is your first impression with a prospective employer. And, we can’t forget the age-old adage—first impressions matter! Enlist the help of free online grammar tools to avoid mistakes.
- Be honest. Always be truthful about your past work experience, including what you did in a role and how long you were there. Hiring managers and recruiters can spot inconsistencies in resumes. According to a CareerBuilder study of about 2,000 hiring managers, 57% of respondents said the most common lie they catch on a resume is an embellished skill set.
- Show career progression. Your resume is prime real estate for sharing your story. Hiring managers are looking for someone who has grown in their career. Outline the key responsibilities you’ve held in each position and how they’ve contributed to your overall career success.
- Think holistically about your professional brand. Most hiring managers want to understand you as a total package—in and out of the office. Demonstrate your understanding of the company and share how your volunteer experiences, passions and hobbies align with the company’s purpose.
How long should my resume be?
Resume length has been a hot debate for years. Those who believe resumes should be on a single page typically claim that recruiters and hiring managers will lose patience when reading an unnecessarily long resume. Proponents of longer resumes say they want more details about a candidate’s work experiences, accomplishments and skills.
Professional resume writing service ResumeGo conducted a study to discover the optimal length for a resume.
Out of the 7,712 resumes that participants chose in the simulated hiring process, a whopping 5,375 of these resumes were two pages in length. This means that recruiters were 2.3x as likely to prefer two-page resumes over one-page resumes.
The study also found that the benefits of including a second page increased the more senior the role. Candidates with longer resumes were hired more than 70% of the time for mid-level or managerial-level roles.
We don’t recommend that you stuff your resume with irrelevant information to span two pages. As you’re creating your resume, ensure you are including the experiences and skills pertinent to the job you are applying for. But, don’t cut out necessary information. Embrace the second page if you need it.
What is a master resume?
You’ve got tons of work experience with plenty of awards and accomplishments to match. However, when compiled, your extensive 4-page resume exceeds the recommended 1-2 pages. While listing all your accomplishments may seem like a good idea, employers are looking for candidates with specific skill sets.
Enter the master resume.
A master resume is a chronological record of your entire work history. It is used as a springboard to create tailored resumes to submit for each job you apply to.
How to create a master resume
1. First, gather job descriptions for jobs that interest you—regardless of whether you are going to apply to those jobs
2. Compile the keywords and phrases from the job descriptions into one long list.
3. Combine your long list with descriptions of your past experiences, education, certifications, etc. to create one long master resume. Compile the keywords and phrases from the job descriptions into one long list.
Don’t submit your master resume when applying to jobs. Instead, take your most relevant job experiences from your master resume and tailor it to each job you’re applying to.