Writing a great resume is a balancing act. You need to outline your portfolio with professional keywords in your field, but also stand out from the pack. In addition, you need to strike a balance between presenting brief career highlights for recruiters who view resumes at a high-level while describing a greater depth of your experience for hiring managers who are taking a deeper dive.
1. Select the right format
Choosing the right format for your resume depends on your industry or profession. Careers like banking, finance, and law are considered traditional, while positions in advertising, fashion, art, and innovative technologies are more creative. Many fields are somewhere in between.
As a rule of thumb, standard resume formats are expected in traditional fields. On the other hand, job seekers in creative fields have used innovative new formats including video, websites, social media tools, and even handmade books and artifacts to craft successful resumes.
2. Customize your resume
According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 61 percent of employers prefer a resume that is customized to an open position.2 CareerBuilder also found that 48 percent of employers spend less than two minutes reading a resume.
That means you should prepare a separate resume for each job that you apply to, preferably using bullet points and highlighting your most relevant skills and experience.
3. Select a suitable length
Most of the time, one page is best because you generally are writing for busy recruiters. But occasionally, two pages may win you the job, especially for hiring managers looking for a range of experience, according to specialists convened by Monster.com.3
Whatever you do, choose your words carefully so that you are not featuring outdated or irrelevant skills.
4. Be selective with word choice
Here’s a warning to resume writers: avoid clichés and outdated expressions. Hiring managers and recruiters in a recent survey by CareerBuilder ranked these as words as the most offensive:4
- Best of breed
- Think outside the box
- Go-to person
The hiring executives also gave examples of words they would like to see on resumes, including:
- Trained/ mentored
5. Avoid formatting mistakes
These days, resumes are often scanned by machines to determine if you have the relevant requirements. Make your resume “machine-readable” by keeping it to a standard font, without special features such as italics or underlining.5
Many employers also advise having text only and no images or graphics.6
With these tips and a mention of your higher education, you could achieve your goals and land the job you have been waiting for!
1Fortune.com. Congrats, MBA Grads. http://fortune.com/2015/05/19/mba-graduates-starting-salary/
2CareerBuilder.com. Employers Reveal Biggest Resume Blunders in Annual Survey. http://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?ed=12%2F31%2F2015&id=pr909&sd=8%2F13%2F2015
3Monster.com. The one-page resume vs. the two-page resume. http://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/one-page-or-two-page-resume
4CareerBuilder.com. Hiring managers rank best and worst words on a resume in a recent CareerBuilder survey. http://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?id=pr809&sd=3/13/2014&ed=03/13/2014
5Dummies.com. How to create a scannable resume. http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-create-a-scannable-resume.html
6CBSMoneyWatch: 10 resume errors that will land you in the trash. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/10-resume-errors-that-will-land-you-in-the-trash/