There are many reasons why you might want to update your resume. Perhaps you are seeking a promotion, or want to shift to another division of your company. Maybe the role and responsibilities of your current position aren’t what you expected, and you need to begin looking for a different job. Wherever you’re at in the workplace world, it’s essential to have a solid resume.
Your resume is how you speak to potential employers. What is your resume saying about you? Here are six tips to consider when building your resume.
- To Embellish, or Not to Embellish
In a study by Career Builder, over 2,500 hiring managers discovered applicants doing more than dress up a few things. 56% found applicants lying, with 54% taking liberties describing their responsibilities. A quarter caught people adding credits from companies for whom they had never worked! While it’s important to highlight your duties with a position, it’s vital to be straightforward when describing the scope of your responsibilities on your resume.
- Does Your Resume Reflect Career Progression?
Your resume should be the story of your career; ideally one with an upward trajectory. Set the tone of the resume by including relevant experience or training for the job listing. Hopefully, your most recent job will fit; but if you’re still working on gaining career highlights, pull from another credit instead.
If you’re switching career paths, or you already have varied work experience, it’s okay to structure your resume; for example, you might have one category outlining your research-based work, and a different group highlighting your people skills. Organizing your experience into categories allows you to present a fuller picture of your abilities.
- First Impressions are Important
Many recruiters say that it takes them a mere six seconds to decide if they’re putting your resume in the “yes” or “no” pile. This is why first impressions are so crucial. You don’t need to use coloured paper or wild fonts, but you should give your resume some style. Remember, you aren’t trying to convince them of your design sense; you’re trying to avoid being tossed in the “no” pile after a cursory glance.
Does your resume look original, and not based on a template? Even if you used a model to start, you can still give it a clean, polished look that doesn’t feel like a stark template. Are the length and overall appearance appropriate for the job? You want to make it easy to process with a quick look, as the person reading it might easily be looking at upwards of hundreds of resumes.
Points to consider regarding appearance:
- Clear design with white space between sections
- Clean copy, with no typos or spelling errors
- Un-cluttered paragraphs
- Simple, effective bullet points
- Font Matters
How you present your choice of words also matters. Font choice is such a vital part of displaying a favourable appearance that it deserves its own mention. The main point when choosing a font style is making your resume easier to read. There are a couple of essential points to be made regarding font choice:
- Choose a serif font for print – “Serif” refers to those little tails or flags at the end of a letter — like this. Those tails are supposed to lead the eye forward to the next letter, making it easier to read, especially when you are reading a large number of pages. “Sans serif” means without a serif, meaning there are no added tails to the letters.
- Don’t be fashionable – A common wisecrack is “Don’t use Comic Sans.” That’s because this niche font was momentarily very trendy and was vastly over-used.
- Know how it will be read – Some fonts work better on paper; some fonts look better on screen. If you know how your resume will be read, then select a font that makes the most of that medium. If you’re not sure, fonts like Cambria work equally well in both media.
Top Three Fonts for Print:
- Bookman Old Style
Top Three Fonts for Online:
If you want to delve deeper into it, there are many visually pleasing fonts that will assist in giving your resume some life and voice. Choose a font that is easy to read and pleasing to the eye, and your resume is likelier to end up in the “yes” pile for a second glance.
- Don’t Say Too Much
It’s important not to bog down your resume with unnecessary details. Tailor make your resume to include specifics that make you a more desirable candidate. If a credit isn’t relevant to the job, remove it. There’s no need to clutter up your resume with experiences that don’t apply.
Keep your resume clean; don’t add unnecessary flourishes. The same goes for introductions and cover letters. The ability to be concise will set you apart.
- Hobbies and Interests
If your hobbies and interests are genuinely applicable to the job, by all means, add them. Be specific. Saying that you like music isn’t descriptive; saying that you have a membership to the symphony, or that you play with a band that goes to retirement homes is. Membership in groups like Toastmasters demonstrates a willingness for self-improvement, as well as an interest in public speaking.
Bonus tip: Managing Your Online Presence
Depending on your field, having an online presence could help you stand out. However, your online presence can also be a drawback. Companies and their clients don’t want to work with someone who will potentially bring them unwanted negative attention. Having a positive, work-relevant social media presence shows potential employers you know how to be professional. Always remember, anything that you put up online is trackable and could be noticed by the watchful eye of someone in your industry.
Three ways to use social media positively:
- LinkedIn – Make connections with business and colleagues
- Twitter – Post relevant industry content on your @twitter account
- Facebook – Have a separate Facebook account for work colleagues and your personal friends
Follow these ideas and suggestions when you update your cover letter and resume. We’ve covered a lot, but taking it step-by-step will make the process less overwhelming.
If your current circumstances leave you with little time, or you need help putting your best foot forward in print, Masters Essay can help. Whether you require basic editing assistance or are starting from scratch, our writing staff can help set you apart from other candidates. With over 200 professional, MA, MSc, JD, MBA & Ph.D. accelerated writers, we can ensure that your resume is a step above the competition.