One of the best marketing tools an individual has today, a resume needs to stand out in a way that places it to the top of the pile from the very first glance prospective employers take. It should highlight your strengths and skills, portray the potential value you hold as a candidate for hire, and showcase your achievements. Most importantly, your resume needs to do all of this in the span of 30 seconds or less. Although companies are searching for new employees, they rarely interview every single candidate who sends a resume to them. If you want to make your resume stand out, use the following top resume writing tips as your guideline.
Keep It Short
Resumes should never be longer than two pages. If you have less than ten years of experience, keep your resume length to one page.
Prioritize Your Information
Each paragraph or list should feature the most important details first. If nothing of interest pops out at the recruiter right away, your resume is more than likely going in the discard pile.
Use Job-Specific Keywords
HR departments search online for resumes using specific job-related keywords. It’s important to do your research and include these keywords in your resume (as bolded headlines, if possible). Look at the descriptions for the jobs that you are interested in and identify keywords that you can include.
Highlight Your Accomplishments Using Bulleted Lists
Since bulleted lists draw attention and are easier to read, you should use them to highlight important information such as accomplishments, educational or training background, and career objectives.
Focus on Work Achievements
Instead of rewriting the job description for your current or last position, tailor your work experience so that it features achievements accomplished during your employment. If you can include items that portray the potential you offer your prospective employer, you increase your chances of landing an interview.
Use Attention-Getting Titles
Resume titles usually get first glance, so make sure that your headings offer details. For example, instead of writing “Job Experience,” you should write “Management-Related Job Experience.” It’s clear, concise, and informative. This is your goal with every title since you need (and want) to capture your reader’s attention in less than 30 seconds.
List Your Professional Goals
Prospective employers are interested in where you are trying to go with your career. It helps them to determine whether or not you are a good fit for their team. Refine your personal objectives and the path you intend to use to achieve them. Present them in a streamlined sentence or two at the most.
Presentation Is 50% of Your Resume
Avoid the temptation to use smaller font to squeeze more information into your resume. Design it so that it is easy on the eyes. Bold titles, use proper punctuation, and use easy-to-read fonts such as 12-point Times New Roman or Arial.
Proofread, Proofread, and Proofread
If good spelling isn’t one of your best skills, use a dictionary or a friend to help you proofread every single component of your resume. Check that you are only using capital letters where they are required; otherwise, you make yourself look desperate.