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Resume Writing 101: Getting Yourself Noticed

Your resume holds a lot of significance and plays a key role in your job search, but we all know that writing a resume is no walk in the park.  It requires you to outline your professional history, describe your skills and accomplishments, and show what you can professionally offer in 1-2 pages, all while being able to set yourself apart from hundreds of other candidates.

This is by no means an easy task and it requires a lot of careful preparation and thought.  Although it may seem challenging, the payoff can be invaluable, as a well-written resume can be the difference between receiving a call for an interview and not hearing back!  Therefore, it’s in your best interest to deliver the best resume you can in order to land that interview, which can eventually lead to a job.

With that in mind, here are 6 tips on how to write a successful resume:

Ensure it’s easy to read

Your resume should read with ease.  When writing your resume, it’s important to choose an easy-to-read font such as Arial or Times New Roman and avoid using elaborate fonts that may cause hiring managers to strain their eyes.  In addition, keep your use of capitalization, bolding, and underlining to a minimum.  Another great tip to make your resume more legible is to use bullet points to outline your important skills and experiences.  This allows you to be clear and concise in your descriptions and it also helps break up your content to create enough white space between sections, making it easier for recruiters to scan your resume.   Just remember to be consistent in your formatting.

Include your contact information

Be sure to include all of your contact information (street address, city, state, and zip code), along with the best phone number and email address to reach you.  You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity because your hiring manager didn’t see your contact info, so this information should be easy to find at the top of your resume.

Prioritize resume content

At first glance, a hiring manager will take approximately six seconds to skim all the resumes for a given position before deciding to review the most relevant ones more thoroughly.  Therefore, if you want to catch the initial attention of an employer, it’s important to ensure your resume highlights the most relevant information pertaining to the job.

Prioritize your content by listing relevant experience first, along with your most important achievements and accomplishments.  You can change the order of your content depending on whether you choose to use a traditional resume where your work history is listed in chronological order, or a functional resume, where your skills and accomplishments are listed at the top.  If you are a recent graduate with less work experience, the latter can work in your favor as it focuses on your skills as opposed to your experience.

Use effective titles & be descriptive

It’s important to be descriptive and concise in your resume.  Therefore when listing your past work experience, try to stay away from generic title names that don’t give the hiring manager much insight on your previous roles.  Why?  A descriptive title such as, “Digital Marketing Manager, Global Communications” not only sounds more specific, but also grabs more of the reader’s attention.

Show your accomplishments

In addition to using descriptive titles, it’s just as important to be descriptive about your work experience by highlighting your past accomplishments.  Go further than just listing past responsibilities by describing what skills you’ve acquired and any accomplishments you achieved.  If possible, quantify your achievements, as this will give a hiring manager a more detailed description of what you did at your last job, while showing what you can offer.  For example, “Coordinated numerous marketing campaigns, driving $1.2 million in revenue” is a great description that shows your accomplishments and quantifies your achievements.

Include resume keywords

Hiring managers are now using screening tools that let them search certain keywords relevant to the job in question in order to narrow down their candidate pool and increase their chances of finding a qualified candidate.  With this in mind, it’s important to tactfully include keywords in your resume that are relevant to the job you are applying to.  To do this, look over the job’s description and required skills section, but be careful about overusing certain keywords as this may make your resume read awkwardly.

 

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