Resumes are something that we all have at any given point in our careers. If you’re starting out, chances are your resume might look a little different than if you have a few years of experience under your belt. Today I want to talk about how to put your resume together, what you need, and what you don’t.
For my past two jobs I have had the opportunity to be the one to review resumes for various positions and I have learned a lot from being on both sides. On the side of the applicant and on the side of the “recruiter”. I feel that I now have a better idea of what “works,” and what does not work when putting together your resume. Today I want to share some of my tips for you when creating or even updating your resume.
Keep reading for my tips plus make sure to read until the end to see a copy of my resume. It is simple and to the point. This resume is the one I have used for my two previous jobs and it has worked.
Make sure your contact information is easy to find: Make it as easy as possible for the recruiter to find your contact information. I usually prefer when it is at the top. At a previous position I held, we were looking for interns who lived no more than 30 minutes away therefore, the first thing I would do when reviewing resumes was look for the city that they lived in. If they lived out of state, I wouldn’t even look at the rest of the resume. If I had to search for their contact information, I would put their resume in a different pile. This is simple but very important.
Customize each resume for the position you are applying for! This one is a BIG one. Nowadays, a lot of us have positions that encompass a lot of tasks within our roles. I mean, your position can include customer service, marketing, creative skills, management skills, you name it! One tip that I learned along the way in my career was to read the job description and then edit your resume accordingly. Think about it as showing the potential employer that you can do exactly what they are looking for. If the position calls for photoshop skills, then make sure you note that you have photoshop skills if you do. Sometimes, resumes go through an electronic checklist before they even get to the actual recruiters, which means that they only get to see what a machine deems “good” and remember, these machines are matching up the key words in the job description to those on your resume!
Format: Less is more. I know that there are a lot of nice templates out there to make your resume “stand out” but, in all honesty it’s all about the content for me. Don’t take this the wrong way but, yes, I care about how your resume “looks” but, keep this in mind when designing your resume. Is it easy to read? Is the information easy to find? That being said, if you’re stuck or starting from scratch and putting your resume together, a great resource to find a template that works for you is Canva. Canva is a free site that provides all sorts of designs for your professional life. If you don’t already have one, I suggest you head over and make an account, as a career girl, I think it is a good resource to have.
Keep it at 1 page: This one is also a BIG one. I have always heard this and understood that it was because recruiters are looking at many resumes and don’t have time to review 3-4 page resumes but now that I’ve been on “the other side” trust me when I say that this is so true! I’ve had the task of reviewing 100+ resumes and honestly it takes me 1 minute or less to look for the information that I need so keeping it short and to the point is always a plus.
Give your resume an appropriate file name: For me this isn’t a deal breaker but I kind of laugh a little when I see the most outrageous file names attached to resumes. Sometimes I even see names of other companies or organizations on resumes for a completely different company. To make it simple, a good formula is to note your first name_last name_name of company. Keep it simple and pay attention to detail.
Only list school clubs a few years after graduation: If you’re just graduating high school or college it is absolutely okay to list school activities such as clubs or sorority/fraternity life on your resume. These can serve as experience when you haven’t built other experience but, if you are a few years out from college and you have other more relevant professional experience, you do not need to list this on your resume any more. You can absolutely talk about it in the interview but no need to use valuable space on your resume for this. Use your professional experience as much as possible if you have it!
Now that I’ve talked about some of the things you should definitely do let’s talk about things you want to make sure you don’t.
Don’t do This:
Don’t include an objective statement: This might be opinion based, but I really don’t think you need an objective statement. The way I see it, the recruiter knows that you are looking to secure a job so why include it and waste valuable space that you can use to share other achievements.
No pictures please. This is a big one, especially if you live in the U.S. Please don’t include your picture on your resume. It has nothing to do with me not wanting to see you but, more to do with the recruiter avoiding bias. By not sharing your picture, you are ensuring that they are ONLY looking at your skills and nothing else.
Spell check, spell check, spell check: You’ve probably heard this one before but it is oh so important. I know that no one intentionally spells something wrong but listen, it happens and you need to avoid it! There are a few things you can do to avoid falling into the misspelled word trap. First, you can download Grammarly, this is a free plug in that catches your misspelled words as you are typing. My second tip is to work on your resume, then take a break, then come back and re-read it again. This way, you give your brain a break. You’d be surprised and how many mistakes you can catch when doing this. Finally, I’m sure you’ve heard this one before, but you can always have a friend or family member give it a quick read. Other people think differently than you, so they may catch a weird looking sentence or grammar mistake but please, please, please make sure you spell check. It’d be a shame if your resume gets passed over just because of a simple mistake.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Always put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter. Make sure to ask yourself, “why am I a better candidate than others for this position”? Remember you are trying to convince someone else that you are the best fit. Make that your goal as you are putting together your resume.
- Always remember less is more. What I mean by this is that you don’t have to use big words, or make it super fancy. Make it easy for the person that is reviewing the resumes to decide whether you are a good fit.
- Remember your resume is not a one size fits all. You have to put in some work and modify it to fit whatever you need it for, whether it be for a job, for school, for LinkedIN or for anything else.
Ok so now for the fun part. As you can see below, I am sharing my actual resume (I would usually put my contact information below my name at the top but for privacy purposes I am not including it in this picture but, just so you know, as far as contact information, I would include my address, phone number, and email – LinkedIN is optional and personal preference).
For reference, I also made a post HERE sharing my full job history. As you will see, I don’t list ALL of the positions I’ve held but only the most recent ones/relevant ones.
Thank you for reading this blog post. These are the tips I have gathered over the past few years. Like I mentioned earlier, I have gathered these tips from having the responsibility to review resumes in my current and past positions.