Which Resume Format will land you a job? Generic resume formats wont cut it. A good resume is the first step to getting your foot in the door of your dream job. This is your future employer’s initial glimpse into your personality and credentials, so it’s important to write up an impressive resume as much as possible.
Here are 15 secrets to crafting a stellar resume:
1. Tailor-fit it to your application
Plenty of applicants just write up a single resume and mass-send it to several employers. While companies sometimes have very similar standards, especially when it comes to basic skills, having a generic resume for a very specific job won’t grab anyone’s attention.
2. Don’t overshare information
Make sure you highlight all the important things first – most human resources experts agree that this would have to be your work experience and previous positions. Leave out anything that won’t contribute to a compact resume structure.
3. Focus on your accomplishments
Giving a preview of this in your resume will be highly appreciated. Note any specific projects you’ve worked on in the past. Mention what your role was and how you handled the situation. These details offer a glimpse of not only your achievements, but also of your work ethic.
4. Don’t embellish your design too much
Start by putting down all the necessary details of your resume first – location, work, experience, etc. Afterwards, you can decide on a simple but elegant design that brings each of these to the fore. If you’re not too keen on layout or resume format yourself, there are some unique free templates online.
5. Be results-oriented
One good exercise to gear your resume towards results is by taking each previous work description you’ve written and write “which resulted in” after every statement. Of course, it doesn’t have to be written this way the entire time. You can restructure it later once you’ve determined the results of each listed experience.
6. Show you can contribute
This is an essential question many employers have: What can you contribute to the company? You need an answer that sets you apart from everyone else and showcases all your best traits. That said, structure your entire resume with this question in mind – from its layout to its content. Make sure you provide impressive details to avoid appearing like another generic application.
7. Take note of your spacing
Your resume’s design also needs to be visually appealing. Although, as mentioned earlier, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pepper it with miscellaneous designs. One way you can make a neat and compact form is simply by tweaking your spacing. Make sure everything is neatly aligned with each other, provide at least a one-inch margin on all sides to give a clean look to your resume.
8. Choose your references wisely
Recommendations can get you a long way. Don’t just pick the last three bosses you had to vouch for you. Really think of key figures and mentors whom you’ve encountered, who can help you get a foot in your desired industry. It would also be good if you have references who are major figures in the industry itself, or who are already well known. This boosts your credibility in the field if they talk about you well.
9. Quantify achievements
Being vague about your experience and skill set will get you on a pile of other generic resumes. Make sure you stand out by focusing on detailing achievements that matter. Instead of vague statements like “contributed to overall product”, explain the role you had to play.
A better revision of this example would be: “Initiated several important ideas which used in the final output…”
10. Structure your resume in a progressive manner
Some companies want to see how you handled yourself at every relevant stage of your career. In this case, structure your resume in such a way that they can see how you progressed in the ranks. You can start with your first related clerical job in the industry, up to your present experience.
11. Leave out inconsequential experience
If you’re applying as bank manager, don’t mention being a barista or a copywriter. These don’t add up to the qualifications you’re trying to present.
However, these experiences don’t have to go to waste entirely. Mention specific skills you learned from these experiences instead. Example, having been a barista might have honed your people skills, which is just as important in being a manager.
12. Make it readable
Avoid choosing fonts that are too flashy or difficult to read. Opt for clean fonts. For a basic font pairing, make your headings a basic sans serif (Helvetica, Arial), and your body a serif (Times New Roman, Garamond). The serifs are better suited for reading, while the sans serifs’ clean look can easily draw attention themselves.
13. Use professional terms, or be specific
A few examples of overused resume phrases to avoid: team player, think outside the box, results-driven, go-getter. Some power words that you can include are: achieved, improved, managed, launched. If you noticed, the second set of terms all point towards an action, whereas the initial set only served as general adjectives.
14. Mind your grammar
Most employers regardless of industry want to hire people who have good communication skills, be it oral or written. Your verbal aptitude can be tested during the interview, but your written skills reflect in how well-crafted your resume is. Mind the details in your writing – even small things like grammar and spelling can go a long way.
15. Give your resume some personality
In terms of overall design and content, your employer should be able to glean what type of person you are already. The tone you adapt in your writing, the Resume format and the types of fonts you use are tiny clues into your personality. And this isn’t a bad thing. Having a resume with personality helps you stand out from everyone else.
Stacey Marone is a freelance writer and editor at https://essays.scholaradvisor.com. She believes in nurturing other people’s potentials to help them grow and maximize their capacity for self- and career-growth.
Check out You KickAss Guide to a Marketable Resume