As someone who’s reviewed hundreds and hundreds of resumés, I’ve learned that there is a right way and a wrong way to write a resumé. For an employer, the process of reviewing resumés can be tedious, overwhelming and sometimes stressful. However, there’s no better feeling than coming across the perfect candidate who has all of the qualifications that you’re looking for in a new hire. There are a handful of people that I’ve hired over the years that had me wanting to offer them the job simply based on their stellar resumés.
On the other hand, there are some resumé red flags that I’ve noticed over the years that you’ll want to steer clear of. So, to make sure that your resume turns into an interview (and doesn’t end up in the trash can), I’ve put together a few tips on Resumé Writing 101.
Choosing the right font for your resumé can mean the difference between getting placed at the top of the list or ending up in the trash. You’ll want to make sure that the font you use is professional, classic and easy to read. A few of my favorite fonts for resumé writing are Helvetica Neue, Calibri, Abadi and Arial. Also, when it comes to font, make sure that your name is in a larger font than the rest of the text on the page—it’ll help you stand out and make it easier for a future employer to associate your name with your experience.
Organizing your resumé appropriately is incredibly important. First, you’ll want to make sure that all of the text is the same color, font, and size (unless you bump up the size of some of the job titles, company names or headers). Then, divide your resumé into the following categories: Name, Contact Info, Skills, Work Experience and Education. Then, finish off your resume with “References available upon request”. Google Docs has some great resumé templates, as does Resumizer.com. Just make sure that your resumé looks clean, easy to navigate and that the formatting is consistent throughout.
One and Done
If possible, keep your resumé to one page. It’s much easier for a potential employer to sift through single page resumés (especially when there are hundreds and hundreds of applicants for a particular position). It’ll also help you keep your resumé concise, clear and to the point. A note on this one: Some of you will simply have way too much work experience to keep everything on one page, so if you absolutely need some extra room, don’t stress.
Keep It Relevant
When putting your resumé together, make sure to customize it specifically for the position that you’re applying for or for the industry that you want to work in. For example, if you’re applying for a job in fashion, there’s no need to include your work history as a server at a restaurant or your summer job as a nanny. Make sure that each previous position on your resumé is something that proves why you are right for the job, and gives the hiring manager a reason to call you in.
There are lots of times when including a pretty picture of yourself makes sense—like on your LinkedIn profile, your Facebook account, etc. But adding a photo of yourself on your resumé is not necessary, and can be a turn off to a potential employer. Unless you’re a model or actress and are submitting a headshot, there’s no need to add your favorite photo of yourself to your resumé. My rule? Limit your resume to text only.
At the top of your resumé you’ll want to make sure to include the best ways that a hiring manager can contact you, assuming you get called in for an interview. Traditionally, you’ll want to include your full name, phone number, email address and mailing/home address. However, these days you can get away with leaving off your home address, since nearly all correspondence is done over e-mail or the phone. Also, when it comes to your name, it’s always best to include your full first name, instead of an abbreviation or nickname. For example, “Allison” sounds a bit more professional than “Allie”.
Cover It Off
Attaching a cover letter that catches a potential employer’s eye can be what separates you from the rest. It will let the employer know that you are excited and interested in this specific position, instead of just sending out your resumé to as many people as possible. Make sure to reference the hiring manager’s name (if you can find it) and company name, and refer to specific job requirements or qualifications that make you the perfect candidate.
Do you have any tips and tricks to add to the list? Leave them in the comments!