Whether you are just entering the workforce or needing to make a change mid-career, a well-crafted resume is a vital piece of the puzzle when looking to land a position. These five timeless resume tips will prove helpful regardless of where you are along your career path.
1. Be Authentic
Resumes intend to target a specific audience, so it is absolutely necessary for you to know who that is. Research the company to which you are applying, and tailor your experience accordingly. You wouldn’t stress your experience working as a technology sales specialist if you are applying for a head chef position, correct?
Remember to put yourself in the readers’ shoes. Picture the employer asking, “How will this applicant bring value and benefit our company? What specific skills does he or she have, and how will those skills be applied in this role?” Also, make sure what you are saying on your resume is truly worth saying. It’s wise to not “fake it until you make it” when it comes to your resume.
Don’t be a skewed version of yourself. Potential employers do not want to see a replica of someone else. It is in your best interest to stay away from templates and cliché phrases that barely scratch the surface of who you are and what you are trying to say. “There is no one alive who is youer than you,” so why try to be anyone else. (Aha! Dr. Seuss was onto something here.)
2. Add Value
Debra Wheatman, President of Careers Done Write, reminds us that “reading a resume is a boring, tedious thing, so think about the most compelling things you want to share with your audience, and move on.” Again, authenticity heavily plays into this. Yes, you want to capture the attention of your potential employer, but you don’t need to overstate the obvious. For example, instead of saying “strong communication skills,” give a specific example that shows how you are a strong and efficient communicator.
Uncover what strengths and specific qualities you have that set you apart and prove that you can be an asset for the company. Jessica Hernandez, Executive Resume Writer for Great Resumes Fast, compiled a thought-provoking list of questions that you may want to consider while looking for those things that make you captivating, influential, and beneficial.
3. Tell Your Story
Here is where everything comes together and you give your audience tangible information to prove how you will be beneficial to the company. Put your track record on display because numbers don’t lie. Discuss where you faced challenges in your previous roles, the steps you took to solve those challenges, and what the results were from your actions.
There is no better way to support your claims than with specific stories. Even if you feel you don’t have quantifiable experience, dig a little deeper. What relevant skills do you have for the position you are applying for and how long have you had them? Anything that can be measured and used as a metric, should be! Amanda Augustine, TopResume’s career expert, reminds us “there is a story underneath the text…find a way to connect the dots.”
4. Use Design
The trick with design? Incorporate enough to be impactful but not so much as to be distracting. Too much of a good thing is just too much. “If content is king, then aesthetic is queen…I would stay away from Times New Roman. That’s the sweatpants of font,” suggests Wheatman. We are a visual society so design greatly affects your resume’s impact. Since a classic template is what employers are accustomed to seeing, you need to stand out; however, you don’t want to go over the top.
Not to burst your bubble, but your resume will probably be glanced over in under a minute. Even so, employers still want to know everything about you during that time. Stand out. Use some type of graphic—but sparingly! Changing the font, adding numerical data, and even adding testimonials are excellent ways to create an eye-catching resume without going overboard. Find a balance by mixing paragraphs and bullets throughout the body, and if it doesn’t push the design over the edge, enter a chart displaying relevant sales numbers or skill sets. Remember, you are trying to catch their eye, not blind them.
5. Incorporate Social
With our society’s growing reliance on technology and social media, you have the unique ability to showcase yourself by linking to your social profiles, namely LinkedIn, so they can put a face with a name. You’ve created a strong resume so don’t let your hard work go to waste! Beef up your LinkedIn profile so potential employers can have the total package—resume and social profile—to fully understand who you are and how you can bring value to their team. Remember, you are building a solid name for yourself so share your story and successes with others.
Integrating these tips to craft your new resume and social profile can help you succeed, but you must focus on what message you wish to send. For those of you just starting out, this may take a little time as you try to discover what your path should be. You have to start somewhere, though, so don’t let that deter you. For the more seasoned professionals this is your chance to reflect on previous work experience and what this might mean for your future goals. Regardless of where you are, these resume tips are applicable for anyone searching for a new position.