Writing a resume is an art form. Doing it right takes some skill, but there are certain elements that all awesome resumes have in common. These tried and true resume writing tips will ensure your resume has the best chance of making an impact.
1. They use strong action verbs.
The right choice of words makes all the difference when writing a resume. Start sentences with action verbs that paint a vivid picture. Some action verbs best used in resume writing include: directed, implemented, planned, enhanced, analyzed, mentored, etc. These verbs paint a picture of your skills in action, rather than simply listing them. There are hundreds of action verbs to choose from, and plenty of resources out there to help you select the best ones for your profession.
2. They highlight achievements, not skills.
Using real-life examples is a clever way to show off your skills without simply listing them. For example, ‘secured a deal with a new client,’ ‘boosted sales 30%,’ and ‘implemented a new filing system’ are real life examples of your skills in action. You could have easily replaced these examples with generic skills like ‘good with clients,’ ‘strong sales initiative,’ and ‘highly organized.’ However, without the examples to back them up, the skills carry less weight – you’re essentially asking employers to take your word for it.
3. They’re brief and easy to read.
Good resume writing gets your point across succinctly; in 2 pages or less, to be precise. If your resume spills onto 3 pages, take a hard look at what needs to be included. Don’t think shrinking text size is a clever way to squish your resume onto 2 pages. Recruiters won’t pull out a magnifying glass to read your resume. It’ll be tossed. Instead, eliminate unnecessary roles and information – does a recruiter really need to know you worked at Wendy’s in high school? Are you wasting precious space on unnecessary statements like ‘references upon request’ or an objective statement? These things are a given and don’t add value to your resume.
How you format your resume is also crucial. Use white space and break text into digestible bites. Headers should separate your work experience, education, volunteer work and other categories. Bulleted lists are also a useful tool to ensure your resume is easy to scan.
4. They’re honest but professional.
It may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s shocking how many resumes stretch the truth, or include outright lies. Fluffing up your resume with fancy certifications and boasting about experiences that never happened may get you as far as an interview, but the truth will eventually come out. Instead of deceiving your way into a role you want, be honest about your enthusiasm and ability to learn and grow. That said, there’s a limit to how far your honesty should reach. Always keep in mind that your resume is a professional document. There’s no need to include personal information or anecdotes about your cats. Keep it about your accomplishments at work.
5. They’re quantitative.
Employers love numbers. Numbers are measurable. Numbers are verifiable. For example, a statement like ‘increased revenue 20%’ is a lot more vague without a figure included. Beyond being highly specific, including numbers on your resume shows that you understand the importance of using performance metrics to evaluate your work, a key skill that’s applicable in every role and industry.
6. They’re meticulously proofread.
A typo can kill a great resume. Don’t make the mistake of pouring your heart and soul into an awesome resume that gets tossed all because you didn’t take a few minutes to check for errors. We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to read your resume through carefully. Employ proofreading tricks like reading it backward or out loud to be extra cautious. And it never hurts to ask a friend to help out with a final read-through.
There’s no perfect way to write a resume, but keeping these resume tips in mind will ensure you’re on the right track. Do you have other resume writing tips that you think every job seeker should know? Join us on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter to share your best job tips for National Career Week.
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