One of the greatest pieces of career advice that I’ve ever received is to never stop looking for a job. Even if you’re not actively trolling through the job boards, you should always be prepared in case your dream job falls into your lap. This means having your resume ready to go at all times.
Now I must be honest, I haven’t been following my own advice of late. In fact, I haven’t updated my resume since before I graduated and started my full-time job six months ago – yikes! So as I’m updating my own resume, I thought I’d share my favorite pieces of advice that I’ve collected over the years.
1. Your name should stand out. The main goal of your resume is to sell yourself and the first step in doing that is making sure your name immediately catches the reader’s eye. Use a large bold font to make your name instantly pop.
2. Make it easy to read. Choose a layout that distinctly divides up sections (education, work experience, volunteer experience, etc.) without being too cluttered. Your font should not be smaller than 10pt. and while you can make your margins a tad smaller than a normal document, you shouldn’t be going right to the edge of the page.
3. Consistency is key. Whatever way you decide to format your resume, be sure to format the same way throughout. If job titles are bolded and dates italicized for one job, all jobs should be identically formatted.
4. Be concise. As a general rule, if you have been in the workforce for less than 5-7 years, your resume should not exceed one page. A good resume finds a balance between including relevant experience and not going into excessive detail. Every word should add value.
5. Use numbers. Are you in sales? Include how many accounts you manage. Do you plan events for your company or organization? State how many people you’re planning for. Are you a manager? Include the number of employees you oversee. Putting things into numbers and percentages gives perspective and definition to your experience so the reader gains a better understanding.
6. Use action words. Each point should start with a unique “action” word. Organize, manage, analyze, evaluate, initiate, design, negotiate, produce, etc. Words such as these highlight your abilities and make your resume seem stronger.
7. PROOFREAD. It’s not unknown for recruiters to disregard a resume at the first sign of a typo. Even the smallest mistake makes you seem careless, and who wants to hire someone careless? Proofread your resume several times yourself and ask some friends to look over it since they’ll have fresh eyes.
Got any other resume tips? Even a strong resume can always be better!