5 Enduring Truths About Resume Writing
After sleeping with books under your pillow for more than 5 years it become essential to write a resume and start looking for a dream job. While hiring managers and recruiters have their own personal tastes and styles, some resume tips are timeless truths that win them over every single time. Here are five most important to keep in mind.
1. Remember: Usually, the reader’s eye goes from the top down, left to right.
This rule goes with the fact that the more important information is, the closer it should be to the top and the further to the left. If you have any doubts, examine the job description very carefully. It could be very useful to recycle some words from the job description so that your resume sounds as much as possible like the description itself. Put the accomplishments that illustrate your skills requested by the job posting first, and start chopping things that do not sound quite relevant.
Resume is not a term paper and can’t be 5 full pages of text. Here is when the priority starts kicking. If you want to mention your volunteer experience in a church camp in terms to demonstrate your leadership qualities, it might take up to 1/3 of your resume. Your whole educational background will take as much space as volunteering experience. Ask yourself, is it really that important?
Check every word written on your resume, due to the limited space and a very tricky mission. Ask yourself, what skills or accomplishments, which are of value to my target employer, are illustrated by this point? It might be very frustrating to cut things off your life, especially if you think that it was important for your personal growth. Try to look at your resume as a recruiter, would they really be interested in your church camp volunteering program or maybe you forgot to mention that you are fluent in Spanish?
3. Do not make vague claims.
“Proven ability to communicate with individuals of diverse backgrounds, ranging from students to professionals to elected officials” or “three years of public speaking experience, leading teams of up to 30 people”, these expressions are extremely vague and do not give any clue about you and your personal experience. Your results should be measured. Do not give empty words, your potential employer wants to see your results, they want to measure it. Increased profit, increased number of employees, improvements in program efficiency, what were the number and what have you achieve in a certain period of time. Numbers and data are the favorites.
Another example of vagueness is using phrases like “up to” and “over” when you list numbers. Do not exaggerate your abilities, tell the truth.
4. Make your resume readable
Your resume is a picture and you are the one who draws it. Choose the fonts carefully, the spaces between the words, or the line. Stay away from curly and oddly looking fonts. It is just fine to be boring when writing or designing a resume, unless you are creating your graphic design portfolio. No icons or pictures, no funny jokes or stuff. Font sizes are important. They should be readable, not too small and not too big to look bulky. It might even be a good idea to print out your resume and measure the margins and check the fonts and font sizes before you proceed forwarding your resume to someone else.
If you use bullet points throughout your resume to indicate your credentials and your responsibilities in the past, make sure your bullet points are looking the same in terms of styling and font size.
Find the white/black balance in your resume. Too much black (text) means that there is too much information for the reader. Still resume should be appealing to the reader. On the other hand, too much of white space makes the reader think you have no experience. Try to find your own balance between providing too much information and too little information for your potential recruiter.
5. Proofread, and proofread again.
One of the best techniques that help me to be a successful business writers is that I read all business writing backwards, word by word, until I’ve read it both ways. Then spell check. There are plenty of programs that will check your grammar online, but none of them are humans and none of them are demanding recruiters, who will critically evaluate your resume. Try to give your resume to your parents and friends. Your parents might have much more experience dealing with resumes than you can imagine. Your friends might have a fresh look and give you a second opinion on it.
These are 5 essential steps you should stick to while writing your resume. I am not going to tell you what kind of information you should list in there, whether you should list your GPA and the name of your thesis; whether your education section should go first or last; or whether you should list any of your hobbies and try to tell what kind of person you are. This exclusively depends on a kind of a job description and your qualifications you want your potential employers to consider.