As much as employers like to insist that they know you’re more than just a resume, sometimes it’s kind of hard to believe. Oftentimes they don’t have a lot of time to decide whether or not you’re right for the job, so first impressions really are everything. Follow these resume tips to make sure you make the right one. Go out and get that job!
1. Split your content into two columns
Two medium-sized blocks of text are easier to read than one giant block. Plus, this way your potential boss can read about all of your amazing accomplishments more quickly.
2. Don’t get too complicated
I’m talking to you, graphic designers! When you know how to use Photoshop, it’s easy to want to use all of the tips and tricks that you’ve learned over the years. But if the person looking at your resume can’t even read it, then something’s gone wrong. If you want to create your resume in Photoshop instead of Word to give it a bit of an added flair, then go for it – just don’t go overboard with the special effects. So maybe go for something a little more like this:
And not this:
3. Include links to your (professional) social media accounts
Even if you aren’t applying for a job in the social media field, employers still want to know whether or not the people they hire are social media savvy. To prove that you know the difference between likes, shares, and pins, make sure you list your Twitter handle, LinkedIn username, and anything else you think the person looking at your resume might care about at the top of the page.
4. When in doubt, use a serif font
For the uninitiated, a serif font includes small lines at the ends of each letter or number stroke. (Examples: Time New Roman, Garamond) Serif fonts are typically easier to read – perfect for a resume. Just make sure not to use a serif font that’s hard to read from a distance – Harrington, Lucida, and Monotype Corsiva are hereby of-limits.
5. No Comic Sans
This one’s self-explanatory.
6. Keep it brief with easy to read bullet points
You probably have a lot you want to say in your resume, but formatting the information using bullet points makes it easier to digest.
7. Careful with the colour
Depending on the job, your possible employer will either want to read an online version of your resume or a paper version. With that in mind, make sure that the colours you use look good on a screen and on paper. And unless you’re willing to spend a fortune on printer ink, try not to use too many different colours or colours that are too dark – white space is underrated!
8. Paper quality?
Some say that printing your resume off on coloured or patterned paper will make stand out, but sometimes it can be a little much. My advice would be too use regular white printer paper – if you’re feeling adventurous, use heavier white paper stock so that the person looking over resumes will be more likely to pull yours out of the pile.
9. Make the font size readable
It’s important to make sure all your information can fit into one page (and one page ONLY – employers don’t have time to read through three pages of content), but don’t make the font so small that you have to squint to read it. Someone should be able to absorb a good amount of information in a single glance.
10. Be selective
Even if every single volunteer experience and part-time job might seem important, including them all in your resume isn’t necessary. Only choose the information that you think employers will care about most. Of course, this information will likely from job to job. (For example, you probably don’t need to tell the head of a hair salon that you were hired as an assistant soccer coach last summer)
If you use the same resume for every single job you apply to, it’s noticeable – I’ve learned from experience! Try to tailor your personal statement and order in which you list your accomplishments to suit each individual job.
12. Make it look consistent
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but if you’re going to use simple geometric shapes and dark blue font in the first part of your resume, (for example) you’re going to have to keep using simple geometric shapes and dark blue font throughout the rest of it. Same goes for line art, clip art images of cartoon puppies – the list goes on.
13. When in doubt, go chronological
Can’t decide which of your accomplishments is the most important? List them in the order in which you completed them, starting with the most recent. Chances are that the job you finished last month is more relevant than the one you finished five years ago, anyway!
PLEASE. PROMISE ME. I can’t tell you how many stupid typos I’ve made when I forget to proofread my resume – and as crazy as it seems, it can potentially make the difference between you getting the long-awaited call and your resume getting shoved to the bottom of the (hypothetical) pile.
15. No “references available upon request”
It was a thing, and now it’s not a thing. Telling your potential boss that he or she can ask you for references is kind of an unspoken expectation anyway, so adding this extra line is sort of pointless.
16. Don’t lie, but try to spin the truth
Come on, we’ve all done it – “customer service representative” sounds a hell of a lot more impressive than “cashier” or “salesperson”, don’t you think? With that being said, don’t lie. Just don’t. You know how Nike says “Just Do It”? Well this is the opposite of that. This is the anti-Nike. In all seriousness, lying to get a job just isn’t worth the risk – if you get caught, it’s not going to look to other potential employers and it’s definitely not going to look good to the person you were trying to impress in the first place.
17. Don’t cram the space
I said it before, and I’ll say it again – WHITE SPACE IS UNDERRATED. Don’t worry if the entire page of your resume isn’t filled with text. Even professionals don’t have perfect attention spans – they’re probably not going to want to read a resume that’s going to take them ten minutes to read.
18. Get someone to look it over
When it’s 2 in the morning, anything you write will sound like Shakespeare. Only when you ask a friend or family member to look your resume over will you realize that you listed “Netflix marathoning” under special skills.
Do you have any resume-making tips?
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