Every now and then I think it’s a good idea to review some of the best and worst resume tips out there so read on for some random thoughts!
Some of the best:
Brighten up your resume with a pop of color. This little trick can have a huge impact and get your reader to take notice. It can be as simple as using color for your name or section headings. Don’t go overboard though; no one wants to read an entire resume in hot pink!
Don’t be afraid to use something other than the standard resume format. You know which one I’m talking about! Everything centered, standard heading titles, all the info in the same order. You want to grab the attention of your reader and if you hit them with something a little unexpected you’ve immediately made yourself stand out.
Pair a pop of color with an untraditional format and you will hit them with a double whammy!
Do not send a generic resume to a multitude of job openings. If you care at all about being successful in your job search you will spend the extra time preparing a resume that is specific to every position you apply to. I think this may be the single most important thing you can do. This does not mean a complete rewrite of your resume but simply integrating keywords from the job description, aligning your profile with the requirements of the job, or highlighting the skills and experience that apply most to the position.
Highlight your accomplishments! Too many people simply list the tasks they performed at their previous positions. If you want to ‘WOW’ a prospective employer you have to show them what you did beyond the typical requirements of the job.
Oversaw vendor selection, managed purchase orders and invoices, and coordinated deliveries.
Improved on-time deliveries from 85% to 96% by developing a purchasing system that streamlined vendor lists, generated automatic purchase orders, and provided invoice tracking.
It is all too common for someone to say they had no accomplishments or they just ‘did their job’ but everyone has something they have accomplished. It just takes some thought and being able to put aside any thoughts that you have done nothing of importance in your career.
Ok, now for the worst:
You should list every position you have ever held. No! Doing this will not make you appear more experienced. This is especially true for shall we say, mature job seekers. Do not allow your resume to age you. If you are including positions from 30 years ago you run the risk of being judged. They may assume you are too old, would require a higher salary than someone younger, be unable to work for a younger boss, or not be up to the requirements of the job. But what if you have some amazing accomplishments from early in your career? You can still work them into your resume. Consider including a section for accomplishments. This way you can still get the benefit of showcasing your achievements without tying it to a specific position from way back when.
Make your resume more personal by including your hobbies and special interests. Please don’t! Your resume is not the place for this. I have seen some crazy stuff included on resumes and I can tell you that they will not have the effect you were hoping for; rather it will be the opposite. If it is something that will enhance your value I would say to include it. For example, if you are a member of Toastmasters and the job requires public speaking you should include it. If you were the State Fair Dairy Princess, I would leave it off.
Include your picture on your resume. This goes along with the previous one. Many job seekers believe putting a face to the resume will help them appear as more than a piece of paper. I do have to admit I have seen resumes with photos and I didn’t completely hate them. However, I would say that this is the exception and not the rule. Generally, your resume is not the place for your face. With LinkedIn and other social media sites your photo is already out there so therefore there is no need to also include it on your resume.
The longer the better when it comes to your resume. Not true! (However, many international job seekers do benefit from a longer CV which is different from the standard resume.) When it comes to your resume I would recommend you keep it to two pages. Some careers may require a bit more but typically for the average job seeker a one to two page resume will suffice. Don’t bore your reader with a resume that includes every task from every position you’ve ever held. Keep it relevant to the job you are applying for. Also, don’t try to cram two pages of info onto one page because you believe one page is best. This will make your resume appear overcrowded and hard to read. Similarly, don’t try and stretch a resume to two pages. If you don’t have the info to fill two pages keep it to one. Additionally, you should not leave a partially filled second page. It should fill the page completely.
Wow, this turned out a bit longer than I anticipated. Guess that goes to show there are a lot of resume tips out there – both good and bad, and it never hurts to review them now and then to keep up on what works and what doesn’t.
by Megan Koehler