Let’s face it: Creating a good first impression is tough. Especially when you need to make one via a piece of paper in your absence.
Your resume is the first document your potential employer is going to look at before deciding whether or not to call you in for an interview. Considering it’s one of the major components of a job application, it has to be crafted perfectly.
Couple this with the fact that recruiters are usually inundated with resumes, might only have a few seconds to review each resume.
Hence having a well-designed resume with optimized content is a necessity if you want to stand out among your peers.
To help you out, we have crafted a 12-step guide to help you turn your current resume into the Perfect Work Resume designed for creating maximum impact.
Before we start off with the steps, here is an infographic to give you a snapshot of what an ideal resume looks like.
Now that you have a good grasp on what it takes to create a good resume, let’s jump to the 12 steps which will help you fine-tune your understanding.
Check them out below:
Use a clean format
It’s vital to have a clean format with clear subsections dealing with Work Experience, Education, and Skills with proper bullet points.
This makes your resume easily scannable for the employers and helps them understand the gist of your profile in a short span of time.
No experimentation with fonts
As tempting new fonts can get, it’s best to stick to standard fonts such as Calibri, Garamond, Trebuchet MS, Georgia, and Helvetica.
These fonts have been time and again proven to have worked best among all the fonts out there.
Add relevant details
Always make it easier for employers to contact you. Add name, email, phone number and address, a LinkedIn profile can be an addition.
Pro Tip: Use headers and footers to showcase contact info, so you don’t waste space unnecessarily.
Customize for the job
A common resume for all job applications would only get you so far. You need to customize the content as per the job you are applying to.
Mentioning recent and relevant experience will increase your chances of getting the job.
Optimize Bullet points
Keep your bullet points concise, no longer than 2 lines per bullet, and bold important keywords to make it easy for the recruiters to scan. They should be the same size and shape in each section and aligned from page to page.
Quantification is the key
Numbers help in understanding better. Quantifying your value added to a company will not only portray your capabilities better but also will help your potential employer understand.
For example, compare
Statement 1: Responsible for making a marketing plan for a new product and successfully launching it in the market.
Statement 2: Developed a strategic marketing plan to introduce the product into international and domestic markets, launch exceeded forecasts by 17%.
As you can see, the impact created by the latter is much more than the earlier example. This is because the number clearly paints a picture of your contribution.
Pro Tip: Ask yourself “So What” until you come up with the perfect sentence structure, that showcases what you have done.
Use Action Key Words
Words that showcase your managerial skills add more value to your resume. Using words such as “managed, spearheaded, and created”, as opposed to “was, did, and made”, will showcase your work in a better light.
These words play an important role at the start of every bullet point, and their descriptive nature tends to describe your work more accurately.
In addition, these days Applicant Tracking Systems are used to churn out resumes as needed. A lot of companies use this ATS which specifically looks for action words. Therefore, make sure you include relevant ones in your resume.
HR might not belong to your field of work and thus may fail to understand your work experiences if you only use dense field-related jargon. This could harm your chances even if you are the best application of the lot.
Highlight educational achievements
Regardless of when you graduate from college, mentioning your degree (or what degree you’re currently working on) adds value to your profile.
Mentioning educational achievements—like the fact that you were valedictorian or graduated with honors—adds more weight to your resume. Lastly, highlighting awards received showcases a driven attitude, which is appreciated by recruiters.
Match and include relevant skills
You don’t need to add all the skill sets which you have developed over the years rather just ones that are relevant to the job.
The company you’re interviewing with is looking out for a specific skill set in their prospective employee, therefore, read the job description carefully and list down the skills that they are looking for. Which ones match up with your talents? Make sure to emphasize these in the resume.
Also, if you have worked with any relevant tool or program (like Excel or Photoshop) at your previous workplace, include it in your resume.
Highlight interests, awards, and recognition
If your job requires you to be outgoing and a good team player, mentioning that you played basketball at State-level is a good option.
Also, be sure to add any volunteering activities or awards (workplace or otherwise), if any, in your resume. Most companies favor employees who contribute to their society in a positive way.
Double-check spelling and grammar
Sloppy grammar and frequent spelling mistakes are a big red flag for employers as it’s one of the worst impressions you can make via a one-page document.
It is always a great idea to run your resume through spell checkers such as Grammarly, and/or asking your friend to proofread your resume. You don’t want a tiny mistake to hold you back.
In today’s competitive times, just having a good profile and strong experiences will only take you so far.
The resume is a platform from which you sell yourself, and present your skills and experiences to your potential employer. So follow the above 12 steps and we assure you your resume will be stronger than before, which greatly increases your chances of getting your dream job.
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