Recently several students I was working with asked for resume tips – sort of a generic list of broad concepts they could use to shape their efforts. Since resumes aren’t my specific area of expertise, I turned to others I know who are resume experts for some good guidelines I could share.
The following represents a consensus of their expert advice:
- Use a very clean page layout so electronic scanners can easily recognize key information sections. Also, a generous amount of white space on the page makes your text easier to read for both electronic scanners and hiring managers.
- Unless it’s an academic CV, go for a resume length of no more than 2 pages. (If 2 pages, make sure your name is on both pages.)
- Use a standard, rather than customized or “jazzy,” font so scanners can easily recognize your words.
- Always tailor your resume to the specifics of the job for which you’re applying.
- If a previous employer you’re listing isn’t well-known or it’s not obvious from their name what type of organization they are, note in parentheses what type of work they do.
- Always lead with a Summary or Strengths statement; Objectives statements are no longer used.
- No need to include the phrase “References Available Upon Request” – everyone takes this for granted, and not including this will give you more space for more valuable “sales” information.
- Focus on key information rather than on all your information. Although you want to provide a complete chronology of your work history, where possible you’ll want to shape each job’s description so it relates to the job you seek, which means leaving out unimportant job details.
- If possible, try to create a narrative thread, or story, with your resume, one that shows increasing responsibility and initiative as you’ve advanced in your career.
- If you’re still not 100% confident that your resume is the dynamite sales piece you need it to be, consider hiring a resume-writing expert to do a quick polish for you. Your goal is to make sure that your “marketing collateral,” that is, your resume, provides just the competitive edge you need to land that job.
I’d add to the list the importance of creating a master resume that has all your key information in one place, from which you can then “mix and match,” tailoring what elements or components you include based on the specifics of the job for which you’re applying. It makes the process go much faster!
What else would you add?