Searching for a new job can be especially challenging if you’re not fully prepared. Although there are numerous factors that affect the outcome of your job search, your resume is among the most important and it is often overlooked. A strong resume can mean the difference between landing your dream job or hearing that another candidate was hired instead. Your resume is truly one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal – make sure to use it to your advantage! Here are some tips to help you revamp your resume and give you a competitive edge in today’s job market.
Keep it Organized
The purpose of your resume is to provide a summary of your qualifications and experience in a simple 1-2 page outline. You’ll want to organize your resume in a clear and concise format so the hiring manager can easily find the information needed. Clear labels for each section such as Work History, Education, and Skills, will also improve readability. When describing your job duties, a bulleted list to outline your core responsibilities is a better choice than using long paragraphs.
Microsoft Word, along with other free word processing software like Google Docs is a good place to build your resume. Templates can be a great resource when you are first starting to build your resume, but be sure to choose a template that suits your qualifications closely. Many templates are more complex than necessary and frequently cause challenges with employer’s applicant tracking systems (ATS). You should also avoid leaving sections of the template unfilled, as that can detract from professionalism. Critically, never forget to spell check and proofread! Simple errors in spelling or grammar can negatively impact a manager’s first impression of you. Don’t let a simple typo come between you and your dream job!
Keep it Simple
It’s important to remember that hiring managers may have hundreds of resumes in their inbox for a single job opportunity. It’s important for your resume to make an impact quickly! Resumes that are difficult to read will most likely not pass the initial screening process, so simplicity is key. Refrain from using fancy fonts, unusual colors or formatting, backgrounds, pictures, or borders. Make sure that you’re consistent with your formatting throughout the entire resume as well. A resume with numerous different fonts, colors, and sizes can be challenging to read. A resume should showcase your professional qualifications, not your artistic abilities!
Keep it Accurate
It is important that your resume accurately reflects your past work experience and current qualifications. Dates of employment are critical and should be illustrated on the resume for all positions held. Keeping a resume copy that you continually update is a great way to keep track of your employment dates into the future. If you’re unsure of your dates – you can always contact the HR department of your past employers. Accuracy when representing your education is also critical. Remember, if a degree or diploma is in process, it should be noted as such on your resume! Prior to submitting your resume for consideration, be sure to review it thoroughly for any errors or updates that need to be made. Remember that honesty is always the best policy!