I bet your résumé is fucked. You wrote it hurriedly, at some point between graduating high school and finishing up college. And after getting some decent work experience, you shoe-horned a few bullet points in and used your half-assed résumé to apply for your next gig.
Wonder why you didn’t land an interview? Because there are a hundred candidates who applied for the position, and a handful of those job seekers had excellent résumés.
So how can you craft a résumé that rises to the top of the pile? Here are a few ideas.
Employers don’t care what you did, they care about the IMPACT of what you did. So whenever possible, insert quantifiable results into the bullet points that describe your experience. If you made sales, organized employees, created a new workflow, or any number of related projects, there should be results you could speak to.
Supersize your header
The header of your résumé, containing your name and contact information, should be big and bold. So instead of inserting your name in a slightly larger font, justified center, and looking boring, create a graphic header — think huge text, justified across the page, or better yet, arranged horizontally along the left side. Unique headers may catch an employers eye long enough for them to give your résumé a second glance.
Maintain white space
Don’t fill every conceivable corner of the paper with text. Include some white space to give the reader’s eye an opportunity to rest when scanning information, to make the document appear more organized, and to call out the information about you that’s truly important. Pare down the words a bit, or eliminate entire chunks of filler.
Nitpick your bullet points
The bullet points you use to describe your role/responsibilities at past jobs are the most important component of your résumé, so spend serious time crafting good ones. Begin each bullet with a verb, and concisely describe your duty, including results where possible. Be sure the bullet is in past tense for former positions, and present tense for jobs you are in now.
Cull the fluff
Omit any information from your résumé that you couldn’t easily relate to the position in an interview. Cut out references to irrelevant work experience, activities, and honors.
Do away with redundancies
Cut out redundant phrases like “references available upon request.” Employers know you have references, no need to waste valuable résumé space reminding them.
Fine tune your objective
Your objective statement should fit the position EXACTLY. So write a new objective each and every time you apply for a job. Better yet, include verbiage from the job posting or buzzwords from the company’s mission statement in your objective.
Proofread, proofread, proofread
Seriously, proof your résumé. Proof it on a screen, in print, and on your smartphone. Check the formatting, spelling, grammar, punctuation, and contact info closely.
Axe the periods
Although your bullet points and objective are complete sentences, there’s no need to end them with periods. Your résumé will be more pleasing to the eye and appear more consistent without punctuation.
Make multiple files
Every online employment portal has different requirements for file types when uploading a résumé. So to save time, have multiple formats on hand: Microsoft Word, PDF, and a link to an online version are key.
Any great résumé pointers I left out? Tell me your tips in the comments or tweet me!