I’ve read a lot of resumes. Like, a lot. Now, I want to pass that knowledge onto you!
Here are my top ten tips for your resume.
Update Your Contact Information
When creating your header, ensure your name stands out. You can do this by making the font larger or bold. What you want to avoid is your name blending in with the rest of the text.
Be sure the email address you’re using is professional in nature. Avoid a silly email address like firstname.lastname@example.org. If you haven’t upgraded from the email you created when you were 12 years old, now is the time.
For physical addresses, feel free to only include your city and state instead of your entire street address. Since correspondence isn’t typically relayed via snail mail, it isn’t as necessary to use it. Plus, it can help reduce potential implicit bias and better protect your personally identifiable information.
Lastly, you should definitely include your phone number as it is the most popular form of communication for hiring managers. However, be sure to not post your resume online publicly, unless you remove it.
Ditch the Headshot
In fact, some employers won’t even consider your resume if you have one. Headshots are not necessary on American resumes and can lead to undue discrimination. Keep the hiring process fair for you and take it off your resume.
List Your Most Relevant Content “Above the Fold”
Whatever information is most likely to get you the job, that’s what you want to list on the top half of the page. If the average recruiter only looks at your resume for less than seven seconds, you want to make the most of that time! If you meet the job listing qualifications through your education, list it first. If you meet the qualifications with your experience, list it first. If you need a combination of both, list the shortest section first – usually education.
Swap your Statement for Your Skills
It’s less important now to include your professional statement than it has been in the past. When you have limited space on the page and limited time to make an impact, it can be more powerful to include your top professional skills over a statement that indicates that you’re seeking a job in your field – which they know because you’ve applied for their opening.
Use Reverse Chronological Order
Whether it’s your work or leadership experience, your education or your awards and honors, be sure to list it all with your most recent experiences first within each category.
Tailor Your Experiences
Along the same thread of listing your most relevant information “above the fold,” be sure to tailor your experiences to match keywords from the job description. Switching out “program administration” to “project management” when that is specified as a key responsibility or qualification can strengthen your application for the role. Your goal should be to draw as many parallels between your candidacy and their needs as possible.
While you’re updating your experiences, be sure that they show action and results instead of just day-to-day duties. This is a great opportunity to show your value as an employee, so take advantage! Saying you improved sales by 25% year over year or that you reduced employee turnover by 10% can be very impressive and set you apart from other applicants.
Be Uniform Throughout
While we’re talking about your experiences, be sure to use the same tenses throughout each entry. Whether you use past test or present tense, it’ll greatly improve the readability of the document when it’s uniform and flows.
Include Strategic Volunteer Experience
Did you serve as an officer on a board, or dedicate your time as an accountant for a non-profit? Even if you didn’t get paid, you gained seriously valuable experience from that volunteerism. Be sure to list it – especially if it is applicable to the job description.
Drop the References
Similar to the professional statement, save your page space by removing your references from your resume. If an employer would like to check your references, they will ask you for them directly. Take it a step further by putting them in their own document, but match the formatting of your resume.
There are a few other nuggets of information I could share, such as; avoid using resume templates, colored text, or patterned backgrounds. But, for now, this is a great foundation to helping you tweak your resume a little bit to greatly magnify your value. Make these updates and watch the job offers roll in!
Want to see our sample resume template? Check it out here. Ready to start your employment search now? Check out our Chamber job board and employment pathways resource. Already interviewing? Check out our interview tips. Reach out to our Talent Partnership Director, Taylor Davis, if you need any support. You got this!