At any given moment, there are almost 6 million people looking for a job. Now, they’re not all applying for the same job, but it’s still impossible for employers to meet with every candidate in person.
So, to narrow down the initial pool of applicants, they review resumes, which can make writing a resume the most stressful part of a job search.
After all, you’re forced to attempt to catch employers’ attention without the help of your winning personality and killer interview skills. All you have is a single document!
If you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed in the resume writing process, we’re here to help. Read on to learn what to include on a resume and how to make a positive impression on potential employers.
1. Use Job Postings
One of the most effective tips we can give you for writing the best resume possible is to use the job postings you’re interested in to do it.
Go through a handful of job postings for the position you want and take note of any qualifications and preferences they have listed. Then, include these keywords you find in your resume (as long as they’re accurate).
This is particularly useful with your skills and experience sections. Your skills can be a bullet-point list, but with your experience, you should include quantifiable examples that illustrate your list of skills when possible.
2. Follow Samples and Examples
Thanks to the internet, there’s a virtually endless supply of resume samples and examples available for free online. Why not use them to your advantage?
While you should never copy another resume outright, there’s nothing wrong with using example resumes for your industry as inspiration for your own. To avoid accidental plagiarism, make a list of ideas gathered from examples, then close them out and begin your own.
If you’re still feeling overwhelmed after reviewing example resumes, you might want to hire a resume writer. There’s nothing with reaching out for help – it’s a much better option than pulling your hair out over a resume!
3. Use Professional Formatting
Showing a little bit of personality in your resume is fine, but the majority should be saved for interviews. Remember, your resume will either catch employers’ attention within a few seconds or it won’t. You don’t want to risk missing out on a job offer because your resume appears unprofessional.
Avoid bright colors and intricate fonts. Your resume should be written in 12 point font using a basic font choice such as Times New Roman.
And though there are many different types of resumes, whitespace is the enemy of them all. The goal is to make your resume appear as full as possible, and whitespace can create the illusion (or highlight the reality) of sparsity.
4. Tailor Subheadings and Sections to You
When you’re researching sample and template resumes, you’ll find a wide variety of subheadings and sections that are recommended. Don’t feel that you need to include all of them, because, in fact, you shouldn’t.
When it comes to what to put on a resume for you, the answer is: only what you need.
For example, if you just graduated from college and don’t yet have anything to include in a job history section, don’t include the heading and leave the area below blank.
Instead, replace this section with one relevant to you. You might add a section for internships, relevant coursework, academic awards, and other experiences that make you a good candidate for the job.
5. Highlight Your Achievements
Speaking of things that make you a good candidate, it’s important to highlight your achievements on your resume. As we already discussed, your experience section should include specific examples that measure your success.
However, if you have additional achievements relevant to the job listing, you can include a separate section specifically for career, education, or philanthropic achievements.
6. Don’t Include Irrelevant Information
While you don’t want to leave out key information, including a ton of irrelevant information just to fill out your resume is a red flag to employers. It can also suggest that you’re sending out the same resume to all employers, regardless of the job listing, which is the opposite of what you want.
Include only job titles you’ve held in the last decade, and leave out any minor degrees and achievements. To sell yourself as a valuable employee, you have to be careful not to distract from the important points on your resume.
7. Keep It Concise
Continuing on with the theme of removing unnecessary pieces of information, it’s helpful to use active language and keep descriptions concise. If your resume is hard to read, potential employers aren’t going to take the time to slog through it. Don’t forget, you’re one of many candidates they have to choose from.
Use power words such as “earned” or “accomplished” whenever possible and keep your sentences short and strong. Don’t worry about the sentences in your experience section not reflecting your natural voice. It’s better to use fewer words that still convey the intended message.
And before you save and submit your resume, edit, edit, edit. Go through it with a fine-tooth comb and make sure that everything is easy to read and includes no spelling or grammatical errors.
Land Your Dream Job by Writing a Resume That Stands Out
As stressful as it may be, your resume writing skills can truly be the difference between being hired by your dream employer and settling for something you didn’t really want after a months-long job search.
By using these tips for writing a resume, you’re sure to stand out amongst the competition. Once you have an interview scheduled, the hard part is over. All that’s left is to be your charming self!
In need of more tips for landing the job of your dreams? Take a look at our blog!