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Whether you are starting from scratch or updating your current resume, remember your resume is a reflection of who you are. We rounded up seven tips to help you make an impressive first impression on paper to a recruiter or employer.
Tip #1: Clearly Present your Contact Information
When writing your resume, always make sure your name is stated at the top. Remember to use your full name on your resume, for example, John A. Doe and never use a nickname on your resume. Make sure your contact information is up to date and accurate. If your contact information is not, you run the risk of missing out on a great job opportunity.
Tip #2: Share your Most Recent Professional Experiences First
It is important to remember that your resume is a timeline of your career journey. List your current and past roles in the “Experience” section of your resume. Typically, you would list your roles from newest to oldest, and share no more than four or five positions. With each position, list what duties and responsibilities you had in each role. Be sure to show the dates of employment with each role.
Tip #3: Education and Skills
In addition to traditional educational achievements, it is a great idea to list any licenses or certifications you currently hold. If your license or certification has an expiration or renewal date be sure to share it. Including this allows recruiters and employers know you have proper and valid licenses or certifications for the job. Speaking of skills, it is beneficial to share important skills that will set you apart from other candidates. For example, if you were in IT, it would be a good idea to list different software systems you have previously worked with or have expertise in.
Tip #4: Remember to Format your Resume
When formatting your resume, it is best to save it and send it as a Microsoft Word file format. Most applicant tracking systems work best with Word files. If you are concerned about your resume displaying correctly, you can send your resume as a PDF. Never share your resume as a link or photo file (jpeg., png. etc.) as these can be difficult to open, save and read.
Tip #5 Make Your Resume Easy to Read
It is essential that you make sure your resume is easy to read. Do not use funky or harsh fonts on your resume as it can be seen as unprofessional. It is best to stick with a universal font. Some of the best fonts to use for your resume are Calibri, Times New Roman, Arial, Cambria, and Georgia. There are more universal fonts to use, but sticking with a commonly used one is recommended.
Do not go crazy with the size of your font either. You will want to build hierarchy so the employer can easily see the sections. Often your name will have the largest font, followed by the headers (education, experience, etc.). For your descriptions and general text, it is best to stick with 11 or 12 point font size.
Tip #6 Review your Resume
With hundreds of resumes coming across their desk every week, a recruiter or employer can spot the difference between a candidate that took the time to write their resume and a candidate that quickly threw a resume together. Proofreading your resume gives you the opportunity to correct any grammatical errors and find any formatting flaws. Have a friend or peer review your resume. They may find something you missed. A great resume can make you stand out from other candidates. However, a poorly written resume will also make you stand out, but it may come with the loss of a job opportunity.
Tip #7 Keep Multiple Versions of Your Resume
This is a great tip but it is not necessary for the success of your resume. It is a good idea to keep a couple versions of your resume up to date. Each version should highlight your different skill sets so you can target job applications across industries. For example, you may have gained creative and analytic experience in one role, but you would want to emphasize your creative skills when applying to a design role. If you were applying to a data-focused opportunity, you’d want to highlight your analytical work over the creative. Having multiple versions of your resume prepared and ready will allow you to directly target job opportunities.
If you keep these tips in mind while writing your resume it will make the process easier for you. Updating your resume may feel unnecessary, but you don’t want to be behind when your dream job pops up. Take the time to create a new resume or freshen up your existing resume. Once you’re done, you can feel confident that you have put your best foot forward before you even interview.