September is International Update Your Resume Month! Celebrate by following these key tips from Jill Panté, director of our Lerner Career Services Center:
- A one-page resume is a must!
No matter your level of experience, most industries these days prefer a one-page resume. The average recruiter spends about six seconds on a resume to determine whether or not they want to invite that candidate to an interview. Having a two- or three-page resume not only adds to the volume of an already overwhelmed recruiter or hiring manager, but those important items after page one will most likely go unread.
Getting your resume to one page may mean you have to cut some items, but you can include all of those things on your LinkedIn. You can then add a link to your LinkedIn under your contact information at the top of your resume. Remember, a resume should be a snapshot of why you are qualified for the position, not your entire professional history.
- Take the time to match up your resume to the job description.
I can’t tell you how many clients, students and alumni I’ve spoken to who send the same exact resume over and over, and then are not called for interviews. Once I take a closer look at their resume and the job descriptions, I usually find that their resume doesn’t fit what they are applying to. Don’t make the recruiter or hiring manager work hard when assessing your resume. Utilize the same phrases, keywords and overall language in your resume that are outlined in the job description.
A great resource that I’ve recommended to students is Jobscan. It essentially compares your resume to the job description and assesses if it’s a good “fit.” This can help in finding gaps and areas for improvement so your resume will get noticed.
- Your bullet points should be results-oriented.
Most resumes I review need a lot of work on their bullet points. I find that the bullet points are too general and focus on day-to-day responsibilities rather than focusing on the impact you had on the organization. Every organization wants to see results from their employees – results that add value, efficiency, profit, etc. Focus on results in your bullet points.
Don’t write that you provided great customer service – tell me about the number of customers you helped, and how this resulted in more sales, returning customers or recognition. Don’t forget to quantify. Numbers not only show the impact of your hard work, but they break up the text-heavy resume and draw the eyes’ attention.
- Keep it organized and easy to read.
Your resume may include great information about your education and experience, and provide a lot of detail of your accomplishments. However, if the font sizes and styles are all different, the bullet points, dates and headings are not lined up, or everything is crunched together with no spacing between categories, it can be very unappealing to read.
I personally am turned off when a candidate has not taken the time to clean up their resume. If my initial reaction is that the resume is too unorganized, I’m not reading about your great experience. And of course, make sure it’s error proof: Run it through www.grammerly.com for another set of “eyes” on your spelling and grammar.
- Save your resume as a PDF with your name.
Depending on the type of computer I have versus the type of computer you have, your Word document may look very different than you anticipated when I open it. Moreover, if you’ve created your resume using an atypical software (Publisher, Pages, PhotoShop) and I don’t have that software on my computer, I won’t be able to open it. As a hiring manager, I don’t have time to follow up with you to get the document to open.
Do it right the first time and before you apply, save your resume as a PDF. That way, what you submit is exactly what I will see. When you save the file, make sure it has your name – i.e. Jill Pante_Resume. That way, when I’m searching for your document, it’s easily identifiable.