There are many Dos and Don’ts in writing a resume. Here are the 7 most important tips to make your resume stand out.
- Your Resume is Your Marketing Tool
Your resume is a document that should sell who you are and what you can do for the company you want to work for. In a way it is your marketing tool or sales catalog to highlight and explain key qualities and skills. For each resume you send out, you should highlight your achievements and skills that are most valuable and relevant to the company you are applying for. Be conscious and consistent. Remember, a Hiring Manager spends only 6 to 12 seconds scanning your resume.
- Follow a Guideline, but be Authentic
Hiring Managers see thousands of resumes, so you need to follow a guideline that makes yours easy to read and understand, but you also want to be authentic and stand out from the stack. Guidelines you should follow include:
- Reverse chronological order: Your most recent experience should be listed first and then follow a chronological order backwards. You don’t need to work backwards to the first job you ever had, but list past positions that are relevant to the job you are applying to.
- Work experience first: If you have work experience, list that before your education. Your Hiring Manager is more interested in what you have accomplished and what you can bring to the company rather than what you have studied.
Guidelines you can follow or change:
- Font: The most traditional font is Times New Romans, which is great because it is still easy to read when it’s a smaller size. If you choose to use a different font, you should make sure it is still easy to read and doesn’t take up unnecessary room.
- Font Size: The font size should be 10 or 12 with headings and subheadings slightly larger.
- Colour: If you have a personal brand colour, use that on your resume. You don’t want to go crazy with colours; stick with black for the important text since it’s easier to read, but adding colour to your resume can help it stand out.
- Customize Your Resume
When you write your resume, read the job description carefully. Find out what skills the company is looking for, what the responsibilities of the job are, who the position reports to, and any indications of soft skills or personality that will fit into the company culture. Mark down the keywords from the job description and put them into your resume where they fit. *If you can’t find a natural fit for the keywords of the job, maybe you should reconsider why you are applying.
- Keep it Relevant
You may have gained amazing experiences from working for past companies, but the Hiring Manager is only interested in seeing specific experience and skills that are relevant to their company. Don’t list all of your experiences; choose the ones that are relevant to the position and the company you are applying for. You will be better off going into further details of the relevant experience rather than adding additional experience that doesn’t interest your Hiring Manager. If you don’t have relevant work experience, emphasize transferable skills as well as relevant academic projects and achievements.
- Use Action Verbs
Use action verbs such as “Accomplish”, “Establish” or/and “Direct”. By using action verbs which are powerful and dynamic, you can describe your experience specifically and leave a stronger impression. Avoid using linking verbs such as “is” and generic words such as “work” and “do”. Remember to use past tense.
- Remove the Objectives and Summary
Your Hiring Manager doesn’t care about your objectives or your summary. They only care about the company’s objective of hiring the right person for the job. Get rid of these from your resume and instead, add further details of your relevant experience and skills.
- Stress the Numbers
Numbers are important. Figures are the objective method used to convince a Hiring Manager why they should hire you. Which statement is better?
- After implementing this plan there was an increase in profit.
- After implementing this plan there was an increase in profit by 32%.
If you don’t know the numbers, don’t make them up. You should always be able to back up your claims. Include numbers, statistics, and percentages where they apply to show that you are driven by results and you take the time to evaluate your work.
The bottom line is that your resume is your marketing tool to convince a Hiring Manager why you are the best candidate and why they should meet you. You cannot fit everything about you onto two pages, so review the job description to highlight key points and adjust your resume to display all of the experience and skills you have that will benefit the company you’re applying to.