If you are an active job seeker, the resume can be the most important part of your job search. Even for the candidate sought by recruiters, an updated resume can still be a blessing or a curse in obtaining that new opportunity. Every day, we receive resumes upon resumes upon resumes… and the thing they all have in common… they break one of the following rules. Check out the below tips to bring your resume up to speed and through the HR gates.
1. Formatting is important
I found a great Business Insider article discussing software-friendly resume must haves, and the overall message is this: Make sure it is legible, has enough white space to feel clean, and each page is over 3/4 full.
2. PDF! PDF! PDF!
Many career boards allow you to submit your resume in a multitude of documents – MS Word, PDF, Text files, etc. Should the option be available, I ALWAYS suggest utilizing PDF. You work so hard to make your resume look just right and through program manipulation and differences in software, it is all for naught. The two biggest offenders are resume importing software and variances in Microsoft applications – 2007, 2010, 2013, Mac versions, Linux versions, Google Docs, etc.
3. Peer Review
Spell check has it’s advantages – it checks grammar and does a bit of autocorrecting too. BUT what it doesn’t do is verify you’ve correctly stated industry specific acronyms, notice words that have been accidentally omitted, or how to best portray your responsibilities.
4. Everyone’s Objective: To Get a Job
Omit the objective statement. If you are applying for an opportunity, the recruiter / hiring authority can assume it is your objective to take on a role like this one. We currently have an opening for our internal team as an administrative assistant and I received a resume with the objective .To obtain a laboratory technician position. Where I might have been open-minded to their diverse background before, their lack of attention proves to me they didn’t take the time to edit their resume before applying and that simply won’t do. No statement is better than a .I forgot to change it statement, or worse a vague statement.
5. What have you Accomplished?
Many people will make their resume mimic a job ad . describing day-to-day tasks but without specificity or tangible results attached. This is a trap even the most seasoned employee can fall into. See below examples and decide which sounds more exciting to you.
Handled company marketing and social media program
– OR –
Initiated and led company re-branding campaign through both social media marketing efforts and development of our new website – increasing monthly visitors by 400%
Everyone has achievements but not everyone can recognize and articulate them. Sometimes, this takes a little digging, for what seem day-to-day tasks to us can be very impressive to others. The key is to show how you made the company better and many times this equates to a few scenarios: How did you save them money, how did you make them money, how did you save them time, or how did you make them look good.
Recruiters and hiring managers alike like numbers, percentages, and other quantifiable data. If you are on the market, I highly suggest connecting with a resume service to best market yourself. TheLadders job board provides a great guide to selecting a resume writer.