Posted on 23 Feb 22by
If you’re going through a job transition or applying for a new role, you want your resume to shine and highlight your experience as current and relevant.
Every year we receive thousands of resumes from people applying for jobs, from entry-level to senior roles. But no matter what position you’re aiming for, having a great resume is key to a successful job search.
So, what makes a great resume?
Here are nine simple tips to help you stand out from the crowd!
Tip #1: Target your resume to each job
In our fast-paced world, it’s tempting to prepare a “one-size-fits-all” resume.
But employers need to know that your skills will compliment the position and company culture. Tailor your resume toward the specific role you’re applying for, and you increase your chances of landing an interview.
For example, list specific responsibilities from your work history that match the job’s specific requirements. If you don’t have the exact match, bucket your skills so they match the broad skill sets required for the role, such as:
Tip #2: Include a persuasive resume objective
Think of your resume objective as your elevator pitch. Create three sentences that outline your professional goals and highlight your most relevant skills. This objective sits at the top of your resume and is the first thing recruiters and employers see. It quickly informs them about your career goals – and why you might be a fit for the job.
Here are some examples of what you can include:
Your professional goals – Why do you want this job?
Your experience level – Quickly position yourself in relation to the job's experience requirements.
Your most relevant skills – What can you bring to this role?
Tip #3: Put your most recent experience first
Always structure your experience summary with the most recent work positioned at the top, followed by subsequent experience in descending order. One rule of thumb is to only show your last 10 years of experience, but if you have relevant, unique experience beyond 10 years, you should likely include it. Just be mindful not to include experience that is no longer relevant or is so far back in time that it appears stale or out of date.
Tip #4: Highlight your relevant strengths
Within each of your roles, highlight your strengths and accomplishments that are relevant to the position you’re pursuing. This makes it easy for a prospective employer to quickly discern proven experience you’ll bring to the role.
Tip #5: Use the right resume keywords
Words are key, but keywords are crucial. Why?
Because keywords catch the eye of recruiters, hiring managers, and ATS software, known as applicant tracking systems. Whether your resume is scanned by a human or a computer, the right keywords give your resume its best chance for further consideration.
Pay close attention to ensuring that keyword tenses and variations in job titles align. For example, if a recruiter is looking for a manager, your resume should say “Manager of a team” not “Managed a team.” Similarly, if the job is calling for a “Content Writer,” but your previous title was “Content Creator,” change “Creator” to “Writer” on your resume.
Because it can determine if the job's a fit for you.
Tip #6: Use powerful resume verbs
Powerful action verbs breathe life into a resume!
If you led a project, use: orchestrated, produced, or organized.
If you made or started something, use: created, developed, or implemented.
If you improved something, use: customized, refined, or restructured.
Tip #7: Quantify your accomplishments
To demonstrate that you are results-driven, it is always good practice to quantify your accomplishments. Think in terms of money and time to showcase achievements that are quantifiable and measurable.
Use the CAR formula: Challenge, Action, Result
Ask yourself: “What was the challenge I faced, what action did I take, and what measurable result did I achieve?” Include context when possible so the achievement has meaning. For example:
Organized quarterly volunteer events with upwards of 50 volunteers per event.
Achieved sales in excess of $500,000 within two months.
Tip #8: Eliminate irrelevant details
Don’t clutter your resume with extraneous details. Keep it relevant and eliminate any of the following:
Irrelevant work experiences
Personal details such as marital status, religious preference, hobbies, age, etc.
Full mailing address
More than one phone number
Too much text or too many bullet points
Tip # 9: Keep the format and font simple
There are plenty of resume templates to choose from online, and the best are simple and easy to read. Try to consolidate your information to one page, but a two-page resume may be necessary if you have years of relevant experience. Keep the format and font style simple and consistent. Stick with a classic, universal font sized at least 10.5.
By following these nine tips, you can package your experience into a shining, powerful, and well-constructed resume.