July 09, 2013

Resume writing doesn’t have to feel impossible—in fact, it’s easier than you think!  Here’s our no-fail list of the best resume tips you’ll find…

1.  Important Stuff Goes At The Top:  See what we did there? Realistically, employers are probably looking at dozens of resumes, if not more, and they need to get the information from yours as quickly as possible. Make it easy for them by putting the most relevant information at the top of your resume, so they don’t need to go hunting for it.

2. Balance Buzzwords: Some words need to be on your resume—keywords that reference back to the position description, for example—but there are also words that seem helpful but come across as stale and overused. LinkedIn compiled the words most often repeated on resumes and the list included “creative”, “organizational”, “effective”, “motivated”, and “innovative”. Be sure to balance the requisite keywords with new, meaningful words that describe what you have to offer. To increase searchability, write out skills completely while including industry-specific abbreviations/acronyms.

3.  Avoid Stiffness: Yes, your resume should utilize professional language, but it’s also important to maintain a bit of who you are on the paper. Be proud of who you are and what you’ve accomplished, and try to come across as both professional and personable. It’s tricky to execute, but this can be the difference-maker when an employer’s desk is covered in boring, canned resumes and your voice as well as your qualifications come through yours.

4. Keep it Computer-Friendly: Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) do not look kindly upon fancy resumes, so it’s in your best interest to keep yours attractive and well-organized, but readable and accessible. Stick with Arial, Georgia, Impact, and Tahoma as font choices, and avoid special characters and images.  This helps ensure the system doesn’t toss your resume because it can’t read them.

5. Modernize Your Email Address: It seems minor, we know, but your email address can reveal more about you than you might realize—and it might not all be good. MSN, Hotmail, and AOL addresses tend to be associated with older applicants, while Gmail accounts often signify young, technologically savvy users. Simply using the firstname.lastname format doesn’t protect you from this sort of connotation, so protect yourself and grab a Gmail account. Trust us, it’s worth it.

6. Don’t lie. Ever. About anything.

7. Don’t Forget About It: Resumes are not like winter coats—you can’t just pull them out when you need them and assume they’ll work just as well as last year. Not only should you be adding to and working with your resume on a regular basis, you should be refining it based on each position you apply for, replacing generic words with buzzwords from the position description and reorganizing relevant experience to show how well-suited you are for the job.

8. For Heaven’s Sake, Proofread! Just like not lying, this should go without saying, but nothing lands a great resume in the garbage faster than a typo, misspelling, or grammatical error. Pay extra attention to organization names—McDonald’s has an apostrophe, for example, but Walgreens does not. Don’t let those tiny things trip you up.

What’s the best piece of resume-writing advice you’ve been given? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments! 

Posted By: Madeline Stone

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