A recruiter takes about five to ten seconds before deciding your resume is headed for the YES or NO pile. Since a resume is one of the few things in the process of job hunting you actually can control, how do you make it stand out? Follow these tips and tricks to make your resume personal, professional and structured.
1. Tailor your resume for each employer. This seems like a no-brainer but still: fine-tune your resume and motivation letter for each job you apply for. One of the most common mistakes is to create a standard resume and send that out to all the job openings you can possibly find. Sure, it might save you some time, but it also greatly decrease the chances of landing that dream job interview.
2. Start with the most important information. List your most relevant and recent information first. When describing your best skills and assets, start with the most important ones.
3. Stories sell. Back up your qualifications with numbers and stories. Did you make a 30% increase of sales happen at your last job, or gained 7.000 Facebook-followers for a brand? Add those numbers, as they connect your qualitys and strengths to real life success stories.
4. Have others proof read. Before you send anything out, have at least two others check your resume. To see if what you’re trying to say actually comes across, and to pick up on typos you might be overlooking.
5. Write short and snappy. No one wants to read endless paragraphs, so write short and snappy. Use bullet points to list your experience, educational background and career objectives.
6. Keep the layout and font clean. Did anyone ever land a job interview using Comic Sans? Probably not. Keep the lay-out clean and use a lot of white space. For personal touches, don’t look to images or colored backgrounds; perhaps ask a friend that’s good with graphic design to whip up a clean lay-out in Indesign. For a safe font option go with Arial in font size 11.
7. Only list relevant info. The fact that you used to sell hot-dogs or that your biggest hobby is hiking, probably aren’t going to help you out. Select information that’s personal and that makes you stand out – such as success stories or unique projects you’ve worked on – but don’t list info that you’re not proud of or that is irrelevant to this position.
8. Avoid negativity. Keep it positive, please! Don’t write negative statements about your previous job or about opportunities that you missed. This also applies to the actual interview, by the way.
9. Solve a problem for your employer. A great way to tailor your resume for a specific function or company is to identify what possible problems your employer might be dealing with. Try to really understand the market of the company and identify what kind of difficulties they might be going through. After that, use your resume to illustrate how you and your kick-ass skill set would help to solve those issues.
10. Don’t start sentences with ‘I’. As you are selling yourself, be careful not to start (too many) sentences with ‘I’ or ‘me’. Actually, this is a tip for any article, e-mail or blog post you’re ever going to write.
11. Add your contact information. Add your contact information – such as e-mail address and phone number – and include a link to your LinkedIn page and/or professional website.
12. Photo, yes or no? Remember, this is a job hunt and not a dating ad. If you do decide to attach a photo (we’d recommend doing so, as we like to see the face that comes with the story), make sure it’s a professional portrait shot. A blurry cut-out of you in a Facebook group shot is not going to cut it.
13. Keep it under two pages. We’d suggest a one page motivation letter and a one page resume. Either way; keep your resume under two pages max.
14. Don’t lie, ever. Obviously, don’t polish up skills or even make entire experiences up. You’d be surprised by how often this happens, but do know HR departments do a fact check. You don’t want to ruin your reputation with a little white lie.
(Image via Pinterest)