Sure, you might know the basics of how to write a resume. You may even have some guidelines that work for you, but if you’re not careful, this small piece of paper could end up being your downfall. A few simple rules can make all the difference in your job hunting journey. Here are time-tested advice that will keep you from getting caught up in common mistakes and give your resume the edge it needs to land an interview or two.
Golden Rule #1: Make Your Resume Easy to Read
According to resumego.net your resume is the first thing a potential employer will see, so you want it to be professional and appealing. You also want your resume to be easy for an employer to read and understand right off the bat. An excellent way to begin this process is by doing away with superfluous words and sentences and adding action verbs wherever possible.
When possible, use synonyms instead of the exact words over and over. If you are discussing job skills, for example, don’t say that you are “experienced with Word” or that you are “quickly learning Excel.” Instead, substitute “efficiently completes all tasks” or “effectively organizes large spreadsheets.”
“The more action verbs you include in your resume, the more likely it is that your resume will be easy to scan and read,” says Career Strategist David Collins.
Golden Rule #2: Don’t Go Overboard with Formatting
The purpose of a resume is to sell you to a prospective employer. Your resume will be thrown in the trash without a second glance if it looks like a bunch of gibberish. Experience shows that when resumes are formatted using Arial font with 12-point lettering and 1-inch margins, the results are consistently stronger than other formats.
Unlike many other pieces of paper that go into an application package, there is no need for your resume to be rigidly formatted in one style. Experienced readers expect a variety of formatting and fonts. However, be sure to choose a typeface that can be easily read and does not look childish or unprofessional.
To add separation between sections, such as work experience and education, use a vertical bar graph (|) instead of the traditional tab stops. Do not use an obtrusive larger point size or bolded or italicized text for section headers.
Golden Rule #3: Use Keywords People are Looking For
Make your Resume search-engine-friendly by using keywords people use to search for job skills and experience. In addition, make sure your resume goes through a keyword checker to make sure you have the most important words in the right places. It is especially important if you are applying for a job online or through an online career portal. For example, suppose you are applying for an administrative assistant job. In that case, these are the keywords people would type into the appropriate search box: “human resource manager” or “hr manager,” or “management.” Create a list of 25 keywords and check them to see if they appear in all of your resume’s key functional areas.
If your resume is missing some keywords, you may want to reword it. Other than that, don’t touch it! Throughout a job search, many people will ask you for a resumé, and you’ll have the avenue of the Internet to get it for them. Therefore, you don’t want your resumé to have typos in it that might turn them off from considering you for an interview.
Golden Rule #4: Keep it Simple
Keep your Resume simple, to the point, and easy to read. Don’t overdo it by putting in too many facts about yourself or use long sentences that end up being incomprehensible to the reader.
“If you don’t need to write a novel off of which you can conduct information gathering before your resume is due within three days of sending it, why would you?” asks David Collins.
When you follow this rule, your resume will be more focused and probably easier to read. And don’t forget about the old advice of keeping your resume to one page. Don’t let yourself get carried away. Keep it simple.
Golden Rule #5: Work with a Friend or Family Member
Have someone else look over your resume – preferably a friend or family member you know will be as brutally honest as possible. If you’re not getting any feedback from friends and family, try looking at your resume from a stranger’s perspective with a hiring decision to make.
“If it looks like a jumbled mess to you, how does it look to the expert judging you?” says Career Strategist David Collins. “Is it easy to understand? Does it have the right tone? Is it too wordy or too short?”
Golden Rule #6: Don’t Lie on your resume
Remember that your resume is the single most important tool in presenting yourself to a potential employer. Employers can get your resume checked out and verify that you did indeed attend school or work where you said you did. If they call your references and find out that everything on your resume is a lie, they will not view you as an honest person. If there are any discrepancies on your resume, employers will assume that there are many others. Even if you get the job, they will not be inclined to promote you or put you in positions of responsibility.
If you have a gap in your employment history that you feel is significant, tell the employer that this is a gap that you are taking to “refresher course.” You should also take this opportunity to emphasize your educational and professional accomplishments. You might also mention that you took time out of the workforce to raise your children or attend school and present your educational achievements.
Golden Rule #7: When In Doubt, Leave it Out
Resumes are going through a major overhaul these days, and one of the trends is shorter resumes. While there is no fixed rule on how long a resume should be, most experts agree that the standard one-page resume will do the job.
“This is probably one of those things where your mileage will vary. Some people writing jobs require two pages; others don’t,” says David Collins. “Using a single page means you know what you need to convince the reader to give you an interview.”
Golden Rule #8: Give Your Resume Your Best Shot
In the end, following the eight golden rules of resume writing and what they can do for your job hunting will give your resume a great start. If you follow these guidelines, your resume should be correct, concise, and easy to read. Even if you don’t get the job offer you want this time around, make sure your resume stands out by putting some time into crafting it. You never know when future employers might need another dedicated professional on their team.
These 8 rules of resume writing can do wonders for your job hunting efforts. Understanding how to write a perfect resume and following the rules outlined in this blog post will help you land that dream job.
If you are looking for a way to improve your resume or need someone who can spell check your resume, you may want to hire a professional resume writer to do it for you. You can find a writing service from several professional resume writing service companies. If you are not sure which company to choose, make sure to read more of our blog for our recommendations.