But first, a recruiter has to be impressed enough to actually read your resume. And for that to happen, your document must be focused and concise; in just a few seconds, it must project you as a candidate worthy of serious consideration.
So a recruiter will see your resume as a cut above the rest, here are my top ten resume writing tips:
1. Be 100% Relevant
Don’t get into too much detail or include things that don’t matter. Many positions, if they are commonly known, do not require much detail. For example, if you worked as a server in a restaurant, you don’t need several bullet points and cite obvious duties, such as “waited on customers.”
2. Highlight Accomplishments
Most of your bullet points should tell the reader what you achieved; what were the results of what you did? If you can’t quantify the impact of what you accomplished, at least state why the bullet point is significant.
3. Lead with Action Verbs
Start your bullet points with verbs that will capture the reader’s attention… created, designed, managed, implemented. Avoid passive phrases like “helped with” or “responsible for.” Bring attention to what your role was.
4. Avoid Vague and General Statements
You need to provide evidence of the skills that you claim. Don’t list common skills, like communication, team player, organized, etc, but SHOW that you have those skills.
5. Don’t Focus on Your Wants and Needs
The resume needs to be focused on what is relevant to the reader. Employers aren’t concerned about what your objective is but want to know what knowledge, skills and abilities you will bring to them.
6. Avoid Common Grammar Issues
Two common errors are capitalizing common nouns in the middle of a sentence and using apostrophes to form plural words. Here’s an example: Analyzed financial results focusing on Gross Margin and Cost of Good’s Sold. (… and I wrote brochure’s!)
7. Proofread… Twice!
My number one tip for proofreading any document is to read it out loud. Also, have someone else proof it for you.
8. Use Up-to-Date Resume Formats
Resumes have changed over the years, and you need to keep up with best practices. For example, most employers don’t want to see an “objective” statement at the top. Don’t include references or say “references available on request.” It is implied in the application process that you will provide references when asked.
9. Don’t Use Templates Found on Word or Online
Templates are cheesy, hard to work with, and employers dislike resumes that are produced using standard formats that are widely used. Create your own Word document.
10. Be Consistent
Make sure your resume is consistent with spacing and formatting. For example, if you use bold or italics for a job title, make sure all job titles have the same formatting element. If you have an 8-point space in between jobs or sections, make sure that you use 8 points of space between all jobs and sections.
Your resume is still your introduction to most employers. Despite all the other ways to impress, online and off, it remains – in most cases – the best possible way of creating a great first impression. Take all the time it takes to make it worthy of a recruiter’s interest – and get that resume read!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at RichCareer!
About the Author: Rich Grant has a background in writing and editing, business planning, and higher education. Rich is the current president of the Maine College Career Consortium and is a career advisor with Southern New Hampshire University in Brunswick, Maine. Find Rich on LinkedIn and Twitter, and become a regular visitor to his blog where he imparts his words of wisdom once or twice a week.