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How to Build a Better Resume

April 19, 2017

 

 

When you have put a lot of thought into your career and are ready to look for a new position, remember it all starts with your resume. Your resume should tell a compelling story as to why you are the perfect fit for the position that you are seeking.  No matter what stage of your career you are in, or what type of position you are applying for, with a little extra effort and attention to detail, you can create a resume that makes you stand out as the superior candidate. Here are a few helpful tips that will assist you in creating the resume that will help you get that interview. 

 

Read and Research
If you are applying for a particular position, read the job description in its entirety and research the company. It is extremely important that you know the needs of the position and customize your resume as necessary. Write your resume to directly appeal to the hiring manager and show how you can be an asset to the firm. Statistics show, that if your resume identifies at least 70% of the job requirements, you have a much greater chance of landing an interview. Remember to focus on the employer’s needs, not yours. 

 

Tell Your Story
Your resume is your story. The goal is to write powerfully and advertise your strengths and experience that are applicable to the job. Be sure to put all of the information together in a cohesive and professional way. You want the hiring manager to be able to easily understand your background and how you are the best fit for the position. 

Do not make the mistake of over-writing your resume. You want to be confident and persuasive; however, avoid using over-complicated words or exhausting the reader with unnecessary information. Contrary to what you may have heard, it is okay to go over one page, but it is suggested not to go over two pages. Hiring managers have limited time to read resumes and you want to ensure that they read the essential information on your resume, so skip the fluff.

 

Truthful Information
Sometimes you find a posted position that looks perfect for you, but you are missing one piece of the required experience and it may seem easy to add it to your resume. Or, you have a gap in your employment; instead of explaining it, you consider changing the dates. Don’t do it! Stretching the truth on your resume may put you in a precarious situation ultimately leading to a lost opportunity. In addition, if you are asked to interview, it’s highly likely you will be asked about your employment dates and experience.  If you are not able to quickly answer those questions, it raises a red flag. Also, keep in mind, that most employers do a background check that includes employment verification. It would be a shame for you to make it all the way to the end, only to be dismissed because you weren’t truthful when giving your information. Play it safe, and only include accurate and truthful information on your resume. Let your actual achievements and experience help you get the position. 

 

Fonts and Formatting
Sure, you want your resume to stand out, but for the right reasons! A resume is a marketing tool that sells your skills to a potential employer and needs to look professional. This isn’t the time to make a display of your artistic skills. You get an average of 10 to 15 seconds to make a first impression with your resume, so if it’s illegible or unprofessional, the odds are it is going to get passed over. 

 

There are hundreds of fonts, but you should use legible, no frills fonts for your resume. You also want to keep in mind that not everyone has the same operating system, so using fonts that are gimmicky may show up as absolute nonsense on someone else’s computer.  Some examples of proper fonts are: Times New Roman, Calibri, Veranda, Tahoma and Arial. Avoid using fonts like Comic Sans or any script-based fonts. 

When it comes to formatting, remember your resume is a representation of who you are and how you describe yourself in an organized manner. If your resume looks unorganized or jumbled, it gives the impression that you are too, and may not have the necessary skills for the job. Be sure to maintain a similar indent for every line and bullet point and make all fonts the same type and size; also, limit your resume to two pages, if possible. 

 

Typos and Errors in Grammar
Remember, your resume is a representation of you. One of the biggest mistakes people make with resumes are having multiple grammar and spelling errors. Oftentimes, professionals write their resumes by borrowing formats they find on the web then cut and paste information from various places.  Having multiple typos and grammar issues shows a lack of detail. Doing something as simple as typing “speciel” instead of “special” could easily lose the opportunity for you. 

 

Try creating your resume and then take a break before coming back to review and edit. Read the resume aloud three times after edits and prior to submitting it to any position. This will allow you to be able to detect and correct any errors. If you are unsure about the spelling, use or definition of a word, look it up! Also, be on the lookout for erroneous words and grammar errors. Review the construction of your sentences and your punctuation. Trust me, this is a step you will not want to miss. 

 

Contact Information
Imagine this, you have spent a lot time on your resume and it looks great.  You send your resume to the hiring manager and they are impressed with your skills. The hiring manger tries to call you for an interview, only to find that the contact information you provided is not valid. Avoid missed opportunities by ensuring that your contact information is correct and remember to provide a telephone number that will allow a hiring manager to leave a voicemail if you do not answer.
 

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