Resume Tips

When writing your resume, there are many important resume tips that are crucial to keep in mind if your goal is to write that perfect, attention-grabbing resume that sells you to the employer and gets you in the door for that interview.

Purpose of the resume: always remember this tip above all resume tips: the resume is not some personal history document. It is a sales pitch. You are selling yourself to an employer with the resume as your commercial.

Tailor the resume to match the opening: gone are the days of keeping a catch-all resume handy to print and mail off. It has always been important to specifically tell an employer what you can do based on their needs. It’s more important now that companies are utilizing scanning technology that searches resumes automatically for matches before a human actually sees them. It is vital that your resume matches the job listing as closely as you can manage (without lying or embellishing of course!).

Keywords: this goes with the scanner-friendly concept. Carefully study the job opening for key words. These can include specific position titles, exact names of software packages or titles of professional certifications. If your work history or education matches, be sure to use these key words exactly.

Prioritize: You already know that you need to stick to concise, bulleted lists describing your work history. What you may miss is how to order these lists. Always place the most impressive, most important, and best-matching (according to tailoring and keywords) details first. If a human does read your resume, he’s only skimming and may not even finish the list. Keep the best stuff on top.

Duties versus Accomplishments: duties are vague areas of responsibility that may be hard to quantify. Accomplishments are specific, measurable achievements that will impress prospective employers. What sounds better? “Oversaw staff” or “managed 25-member team and increased sales by $10,000?” List measurable accomplishments as often as you can, and use numbers.

Explain gaps or go functional: If you use a chronological resume and there are gaps in employment, explain them. Don’t wait for the interview (if you even get one) for the employer to surprise you. You could list “working on degree,” “travel and study abroad,” “full time parent,” et cetera. Any of these is better than a conspicuous hole in your history. If you have many gaps, or you’re changing jobs, go with a functional resume that puts more emphasis on your skills instead.

Practice: one of the important resume tips that isn’t considered often enough is this one. In order to get good at resumes, you must practice. The best way to do this is to apply for jobs. Go after jobs you’re over qualified or under qualified for. You may not get an interview, but you will gain valuable experience in putting these guidelines and resume tips to use in the real world.