Seven Resume Tips

How to turn your resume from a dud into a stud

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Your resume should look better than this.

When it comes to crafting a strong resume, there are many places to go right and wrong. Here are seven of our most important tips:

 

1. Be brief!

Your resume should not fill more than one single-sided page, and when discussing topics on your resume try to be as concise as possible while still communicating the specific tasks you have done in the past. You can do this by using bullet points and not full sentences, as well as omitting words like “a” and “the.” Instead of saying “I was the leader of project X with company Y,” try “led project X for company Y.” Also, try to use more words on what you believe is the most important information for an employer and fewer words on things that do not directly relate to your skills and experience. 

2. Be professional!

Your resume is about your employment, and has little to do with your personal life, so do not mention anything personal such as age, height, gender, religion, or ethnicity. But, please do mention your name, email, phone number, and address as these are important for your employer to know.

3. Organize your resume well.

Your employment and education history should be sorted in reverse chronological order, which means the most recent things you have done should be at the top. Treat each school/work experience as a newspaper headline and the bullet points as a summary of the article.

4. Do not say anything that can be used against you.

Every single one of us has weak points, but a resume is not about your entire character. It is about showing off your strengths. If you had less than a 3.0 GPA in high school, or had an ugly experience at a past job, don’t mention it! Try to include only things that reflect upon you in a positive light.

5. Maximize your hits.

Nowadays, many people scan resumes looking for key phrases in a specific industry. Make sure you understand the important qualifications of the industry you’re applying for, and include key phrases for that. These phrases depend on the industry, but it can be anything from certification in a specific craft to knowledge of Microsoft Excel. The bottom line is this: spell out your qualifications simply in the “skills” portion of your resume to generate hits.

6. Format your resume to the expected standards.

In your resume, you should use a font like Arial or Times New Roman that is both widely used and easy to read. Stick to 10-12 pt. font size and 1” left and right margins and anywhere from .5 to 1” top and bottom margins. Standardizing your resume will ensure that you are not immediately thrown out of the pile for having a weird-looking one. When necessary, use bold for important words such as your name and key skill, and italics or underlining for job titles.

7. Use strong language!

When detailing your past experience, do not use phrases like “was involved in helping the vice President with project X.” Employers care about what YOU do, not your colleagues or bosses do. Instead, try to use strong active verbs from the list at the bottom of this page. Your resume does not have to only utilize these verbs, but they are an easy way to make a basic-sounding resume more professional.

Bonus:

Here are two different resumé templates you can use when creating or modifying your resume. Feel free to make copies of the files and start filling them out.

Active verb list: 

accelerated accomplished achieved administered advised aided allocated amplified analyzed answered approved arbitrated arranged assumed augmented automated broadened built calculated catalogued classified compiled completed computed conceptualized conducted constructed controlled coordinated counseled created decreased demonstrated designed developed devised directed distributed drafted eliminated employed established evaluated examined expanded expedited facilitated founded generated guided handled headed identified implemented improved improvised incorporated influenced initiated innovated instituted introduced investigated launched led maintained managed mentored modified monitored negotiated observed operated organized overhauled performed planned prepared presented preserved produced programmed promoted published recorded recruited reduced reinforced reorganized represented researched restructured revamped revised scheduled structured supervised supported trained tutored unified utilized volunteered worked wrote. 

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