When beginning a job search, often the very first challenge in front of you is updating and fine-tuning your resume. After looking at thousands of resumes a week, we’ve compiled a list of a few essential items we think are critical to take into consideration when you are putting together your resume.
1) Formatting – Keep it simple. Basic fonts such as Century Gothic, Arial, or Calibri at about a 12-size font are your best bet. Rather than changing the font size to differentiate header text, go ahead and bold italicize or underline the text. It is also essential to keep your formatting consistent throughout the whole resume.
2) Contact Information – Some may be surprised to know that listing your physical address on your resume is outdated. We suggest replacing that with a URL to your LinkedIn. The must-have is your name, email address and phone number on your resume. Make sure you list your personal email rather than your work email and keep that email address professional-facing. An inappropriate email address could be a quick way to lose out on a job!
3) Alignment – Your resume should be left aligned to help with readability. The only exception is when you specify your date and location for each company you list. Make a new line under the Company Name and Job Title, and this is where you will list your dates of employment and location of this company. This new line you created should be right aligned.
4) Use Numbers – It’s important to use numbers when listing accomplishments to quantify the achievements you have made at your positions. When you are using these numbers, make sure to use actual digits rather than spelling out the number (25% vs. twenty-five percent) to help with readability.
5) Keywords – Before submitting your resume, make sure to scan the job description you are applying for and see what keywords stand out. Try your best to weave in some of these keywords into your resume throughout a “skills” section or where appropriate when listing responsibilities. Incorporating these keywords will be especially helpful if you have to submit your resume to an online system that uses keyword matching to decide whether a candidate will move forward or not.
6) Education – If you are a new grad, list your education at the top of your resume before job experience. If you are a couple of years out of school, list your education after your job experience. Also, at this point only list relevant achievements or extracurriculars. It is better to have none then irrelevant info.
7) Proofread – Make sure your resume is clear of any grammar or spelling errors and don’t just assume that spell check will catch all of these things. After you review your resume, pass it along to someone else with fresh eyes just to make sure you didn’t overlook anything.
If you apply these tips to your resume, then you should come out with a sharp resume and be on your way to landing your next job. As always, if you have additional questions or just want a new set of eyes to review your resume, please give us a call, and we would be happy to set up some time to meet with you!