Building a good resume is the first and arguably most important step in finding a job. It will most likely be your first interaction with a potential employer. This of course means it’ll be the major deciding factor between getting an interview or being consigned to the recycling bin.
Whether it’s your first ever resume, your first time updating it in a long time or a foray into a new industry, resumewhale.com is here to help. Below we’ve outlined some tips for writing the best resume to show your skills off to a potential employer.
- Importance of details
- Take care of appearance
- Less is more
- Show, don’t tell
- Selling yourself
Concision Of a Resume Is Key…
Even the biggest bookworm doesn’t enjoy reading a long CV. Put yourself in your potential employer’s shoes. You put out a job listing, and you get a few hundred applications. Even when you whittle out the people who obviously lack the qualifications required, that’s still a lot of resumes to get through.
The purpose of your resume is to clearly and succinctly get across your skills and experience and prove that you’re fit for the job you’re applying for. This counts for the resume and the cover letter.
Dense paragraphs of text are unappealing to anyone, let alone someone who’s been trawling through page after page of people’s resumes. So, ensure that all required information is easy to find with neat, compact bullet points to make sure that your CV isn’t disregarded before it’s even been read.
…But The Devil’s In The Details
While it’s vital to keep your resume brief, don’t overcompensate and present something lacking in detail.
It’s still imperative to get across all the important points – after all you don’t want to sacrifice mentioning a relevant piece of experience in the name of succinctness. Simplicity is great – but there can always be too much of a good thing.
One thing that might help is to, on your first draft, write out everything you want to say in full detail, so you can take comfort knowing it’s all there, and then go back and cut out irrelevant information and words.
As mentioned before, bullet points will help with this. This is because they’ll give you the freedom to play with the rules of grammar a bit, and keep that pesky word count down.
Less Is More
Just like a good cocktail dress, a good CV leaves something to the imagination.
It’s understandable you want to include all your achievements in your resume, but at the end of the day they aren’t always relevant. This could be due to having taken place a long time ago or just not being of significance to the role you’re applying to.
With so many people applying for each position, at this stage of the application process you are easily disposable – the aim is to keep your potential employers interested in you for as long as possible in the hope they’ll find something in your application that attracts them to you.
It’s not just about the relevance of the content however. You should also keep an eye on the length of your CV. Overall, the average length of a resume should be 1 or 2 pages. Some say that 2 is too many, others that 1 is not detailed enough.
Regardless, more than 2 and you’ll end up with an unwieldy CV – which is something that immediately puts you in a bad light for a potential employer.
Look After Your Appearance
Your mother might have told you that beauty is only skin-deep, but your appearance matters. Just like you wouldn’t turn up to your interview wearing tracksuit bottoms covered in pizza stains, you need to take care about how your CV looks too.
These days most things are digital, but in some situations, you might find yourself handing out paper CVs. If that’s the case, make sure you keep them in good condition with a durable and protective folder. After all, no matter what’s on the resume, no-one’s going to take you seriously if you hand them a crumpled, dog-eared CV.
Layout is also vital to consider. You’ll want to create something eye-catching but simple (take a look at some of our many resume templates to choose from a wide library of styles and formats), without overwhelming the reader.
Depending on your field, you can sometimes get away with being less traditional on your resume. Creative fields for example would respond well to the use of graphical elements on your CV whilst a more corporate environment may find it unprofessional.
Stick to clean traditional fonts. Helvetica, Calibri and Georgia for example are inoffensive but visually appealing choices and come as standard with most word processing software.
Avoid wild colour choices and distracting visual stimuli, it might seem “fun” but can come across as frivolous or worse, amateurish.
As mentioned before, your CV will be your first interaction with your employer – so make sure that it looks as good as you will in your suit on interview day.
Show, Don’t Tell
People often fall in to the trap of listing achievements and skills in their resume, but you have to bear in mind that the person reading your CV doesn’t know you – and if they don’t know you, why should they take your word for it?
Think of it this way, if a new potential romantic interest of yours tells you they’re a kind and generous person, you’re not exactly inclined to believe them. If, however, they tell you stories of times they showed great kindness and demonstrate kindness in front of you – you start to see them as a kind person.
Anyone can say that they’re hard-working and dedicated. It’s your personal experience that will give you the opportunity to prove that you aren’t just saying it. Rather than simply telling your potential employer you’re incredibly organised, show them – for example:
A job hunt is one long sell – and your CV is your elevator pitch. As your first impression to your potential employer it needs to convince them that you’re someone they need to interview.
Unfortunately, a lot of people make the mistake of going too far one way or another.
Selling too hard comes across as arrogant, and if there’s one thing that’s true in the job market across all sectors – people hire people they like. No-one wants to work with someone who thinks too much of themselves.
Of course, some people go the extra step of “fudging the truth” on their CVs. It might seem tempting at times, especially if you feel like you’re perfect for a role but are lacking something on your CV that is listed as a requirement – but don’t do it. If you’re caught, you could lose your job and end up in serious trouble, and in most industries, the social circles are quite small – and word gets around.
While you certainly shouldn’t lie, don’t be afraid to spin your experience into the best light. Sometimes people worry about talking themselves up, but at this stage – if you don’t who will? If you led a team, don’t be afraid to proudly take credit for the work you did.
Think critically about the work you did and look for the skills you used and developed doing it, even if they don’t seem obvious at first. And with that in mind, don’t be put off by not hitting the “requirements” on a CV. If you think you can do the job regardless of not having this particular “requirement”, say so, and say why.
By utilising these tips and the resume samples provided here at resume.io you will be in a great position to land yourself an interview, and one step closer to landing that dream job of yours! So, click here to get started on creating your resume now.