The Dos and Don’ts for a Killer Resume
So many of us make simple mistakes when sending out resumes. These dos and don’ts make your resume more readable, approachable, and will help it to stand out from a crowd.
Customize your resume
You wouldn’t submit the same application to Microsoft as you would to McDonald’s. This is same for different companies. If you’ve done your research, certain positions will be looking for different attributes in an employee. Make sure these qualities are at the top of your resume where they can be seen by even the most casual of readers.
Keep it to one page
Regardless of how interesting you are (and you’re probably very interesting,) there is nothing relevant to an interviewer that can’t be fit onto one sheet of paper. When customizing your resume, cut out all the information that doesn’t directly relate to the position you’re going for. You’re a level 8 violinist? Very impressive, but it probably isn’t the most relevant for a position at a coffee shop. Potential employers have to read a lot of applications. They shouldn’t have to wade through information to find the most important points.
Include appropriate personal/contact details
JeremySisthebest123@wickednet.com might have been cool when you were 12, but even then it’s doubtful. If you can, choose an email address that is your full name. Include current contact details: phone number, email address, and if you have one, a website. Goes without saying, but if you’re looking for a new job while still at the previous, make sure those details aren’t connected to your current place of work.
Write in bullet points
Thanks to the age of social media and instant gratification, attention spans are shorter. What’s more, in a sea of resumes, employers don’t have a lot of time. They want your information quick and easy to read. Since you’re not JK Rowling and it isn’t Harry Potter, avoid long-winded paragraphs. Get your information across and move on.
Read over before submitting
Many a poor unsuspecting job applicant has been the victim of an interfering roommate, who thought it pertinent to add a few choice phrases to their resume. While this isn’t always the case, it’s easy to get distracted and miss something out, or add something that will get you in trouble. A good idea is to read it out loud. You notice words that are missing when you go to say them. Similarly, if it’s via email, make sure it’s the right file. You don’t want to send your nana’s recipe for chocolate raspberry brownies by accident.
Research similar resumes
Search for resume samples and formats in the profession you’re applying for. This can give you ideas about what skills you should highlight, as well as what ways you can stand out.
If you don’t get caught for lying in the interview, you’ll get caught out later on, when you’re asked to do something that you don’t have the skills for. You’ll lose credibility and what’s more, you’ll lose the job.
Use family members as references
This largely speaks for itself. Prospective employers can very easily tell if a reference isn’t who they say they are. It follows that the contact details you provide for these references should be valid and up-to-date, and your references should be informed that they might receive a call.
Make spelling or grammar mistakes
This comes back to reading over your resume once it’s completed. If your grammar isn’t top-notch, ask a trusted friend to proofread it as well. Studies show that good grammar asserts your credibility, while poor grammar and spelling signifies sloppiness and low intelligence. Ultimately, learn the difference between ‘you’re’ and ‘your’ if you want to make it to the interview desk!
Use non-traditional fonts or images
While comic sans or papyrus may make your resume stand out, it also looks unprofessional and childish. Unless you’re applying for a position as a graphic designer where some exhibition of skills may be required, stick with basic fonts such as Cambria or Calibri. This is the same with images. Clip art or photo embellishments detract from your skill set.
Leave out qualifying information
A gap in a resume looks suspicious. If your work as an assistant manager was at your mum’s market stall when you were fifteen, either include all of the information, or omit it entirely. A lack of dates or clarifying business information is worse than not mentioning the experience at all.
Include age or a portrait
Unless these are specifically asked for, or requirements of the job, the typical resume format does not require these anymore. Giving this information willingly allows the prospective interviewer to judge you on it before you are in a room with them highlighting your proficiency and qualifications. When in doubt, leave them out.
The best thing you can do with a resume is to submit it. Every application out there is one step closer to a job.