By Phyllicia Morgan
It’s no secret how much a resume can make or break your chances of landing a job interview, or better yet, being chosen for the gig. According to recent studies, a recruiter spends an average of 6 seconds before they decide upon moving a resume forward or tossing it in the trash. Here are 10 tips for resume perfection that are bound to get your resume past the initial glance, keeping it out of the trash!
1. Stand out but not like a sore thumb
Let’s face it – the job market today can be overwhelmingly competitive. A single job posting could rack in hundreds of resumes, many that may look and sound the exact same way – YAWN! The key to resume perfection is standing out like a needle in a haystack; however, beware of overdoing it and standing out like a sore thumb. Define your pizzazz and show it.
2. Find inspiration
There are millions of resumes housed on the web – why not find some inspiration before creating your perfect resume? Start by searching online for resumes within your industry to get a basic understanding of the aesthetics and then brainstorm ways to “one-up” these standards Super Mario-style! The key to resume perfection is making certain you’re following the professional resume standards of your prospective industry.
3. Choose your Type
The most common types of resumes are chronological (newest to oldest work experience), functional (emphasis on job functions rather than chronological order) and combination (highlights skills first, followed by employment history). When I applied to a job at Adidas® last year, I stumbled upon my recruiters twitter account in which she tweeted “if ur a #recruiter and u like functional resumes pls #tweet me! haven’t met 1 yet”. If at all possible, find out what the recruiter expects and tailor your resume accordingly. If you’re unsure, it’s best to stick with what you feel most comfortable with – use your best judgment based on your inspirational search!
4. Choose your Style
Are you a minimalist? Are you traditional? Are you contemporary? These are things to think about in terms of choosing a resume style or design. Traditional resumes can still display an element of “wow”, minimalistic resumes can still be enhanced with a pop of color, and contemporary resumes can still be impactful. Here are some examples:
Again, it’s strongly advised that you choose a style and design appropriate for your field of work and relevant to your industry as a whole – remember the sore thumb?
5. Market yourself
Your resume is your product, you are your brand, and you’re sole purpose is to sell yourself! Highlight your superhero capabilities in a unique and impactful way leaving potential employers on the edge of their seats wanting to “purchase” your brand. Can you move objects with your mind or travel in time? Or realistically, are you a tireless worker with the ability to think critically and make effective decisions that ultimately increase revenue? Put it on your resume!
6. Content, Content, Content
Do you remember the old saying, ‘it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it’? That saying is very much relevant in nailing the perfect resume. An action statement, often referred to as an ‘objective’ is commonly the first place a recruiter reviews. Let’s punch through an example:
“Accounting major actively seeking a summer internship in which I may exercise my current skillset”
“Accounting major with exercised knowledge of cash flows, general ledger and financial statements seeking summer internship”.
Your content should convey a powerful, professional and relevant response to the position you’re applying for.
7. Lead with what’s important
Typically, a resume should only be one page in length and between a 9 to 11 point font. It’s imperative to organize your resume as to where the most important information can be discovered first. Trimming down the content irrelevant to the position you’re applying for to gives your resume a personalized feel; therefore, If your educational accomplishments trump your previous job experience as a golf caddy, the rule of thumb states to lead with what’s important. If your previous job experience as a finance intern is more relevant to the position you’re applying for, lead with that.
8. Sculpt and Tone
Even after all the blood, sweat, and tears you’ve put into perfecting your resume, your work isn’t finished! The perfect resume should always be sculpted and toned by highlighting the skills and experiences relevant to the position in which you are applying for. Keep at it, Grads!
9. Proofread and proofread, again!
Many candidates are nixed immediately for spelling errors and unfortunately we cannot always depend upon a spell-checker to catch all spelling and grammatical errors. Proofreading your resume aloud helps to minimalize errors as well as taking a short break to rejuvenate your eyes; after all, tired eyes play tricks on the mind. If possible, have a friend or an English-guru review for spelling and grammar – they most likely will not have a clue what to expect.
10. PDF or .doc?
Your resume should be sent according to the prospective employers formatting request. Most will highlight an acceptable format – usually PDF or .doc word file. PDF’s will not alter your font, spacing, characters or layout as a .doc file could potentially change your document by default. If at all possible, save as a PDF to protect your document and all the hard work you’ve put into building the perfect resume.
Well, job seekers, you’re on your way to building the perfect resume and landing the perfect job! Share your resume-building experiences with us!
About the Author
Phyllicia is a first-year MBA student with a B.S. in Communications and Marketing from Eastern Michigan University. She loves her career in marketing, her French bulldog and exploring new adventures.