When filling out your applications and sending your resume you should be taking the appropriate steps to make yourself stand out. This is the most time consuming part of the job search process and it can be discouraging not getting the much desired callback. Do not let the endless hours of research and applying go to waste – get your resume noticed by following these resume writing fundamentals!
Edit, Review, and Edit Again
Spelling and grammar errors will get you knocked out of the running quickly and decisively. Avoid this by thoroughly editing your resume and any additional documents before sending them to a potential employer. It helps to have someone else review your materials as well. They may find errors you missed.
File Naming Conventions
Pay attention to the file names used when emailing potential employers. Editing parts of a resume by adding relevant keywords or “tweaking” a description to emphasize a specific skill set on a per-application basis is a good idea. Sending these “tweaked” files with different names, Jon_Smith_Resume_abc or Jon_Smith_Resume_xyz (used for your personal file keeping), is not. Edit file names before sending documents to a company. Use professional names and exclude irrelevant information (ex. Jon_Smith_Resume).
Correct Contact Information
Include your phone number and email address, at a minimum and make sure they are spelled correctly (incorrect information can lead to not being contacted). Also, include relevant social media accounts. If a company is interested, they will want to do their research on you.
- Tip: Make the life of the employer easy by giving them the information upfront. Update any social media accounts so they are current and professional (clean them up; they are not only viewed by friends). This also includes email addresses. Make them professional by using your real name, not nicknames like “kittylover16” or “thejackattack.” Be taken seriously from the start!
Cross-Check Specific Information
When a position requires specific skill sets, experiences, certifications, etc., and you have them, be sure to include them. The employer asked for these skills for a reason – to make sure you can “do the job.” Include relevant information to show you are the right fit!
Length/Clarity of Resume
There is a common misconception about the length of a resume that it needs to be kept to one page. While this may be ideal, it is not a necessity. If it takes two pages (or even three) to properly describe the work you have done and the value you provided in those positions, by all means, do so. The key factor here is readability. How easily can the information be processed by someone reviewing the resume?
- Tip: Cut the “fluff” and keep information valuable yet simple (i.e. “increased profitability by 30%” or “served as the lead on $5M design project.”) Adequately space your text blocks, utilize visual hierarchy on the page through font size and style, paragraph formatting, line height, etc. If it cannot be easily read, the information will be overlooked and not retained by the employer.
Include the Position
Assuming the employer will know what position you are applying to just by looking at your resume, or thinking that they will take the time to look at it and figure it out on their own could be a risk that ends in failure. Present this information upfront, clearly, and concisely. State your objective from the onset.
Have Multiple Versions of Your Resume (Print, PDF, Online, Social Media)
Be ready to send or present your resume in any way possible. Have the ability to do so at your fingertips.
Following these resume writing fundamentals will help to get resume up to par and prevent it from being pushed to the side because of a small error. Think of these as first steps to your new career! Next, you will want to make your resume stand out from the rest of the pack. Take a look at the Ingredients for Resume Writing, part 2 in making your resume stand out!