After more than a decade and a half in the recruiting field, most of which has been in recruitment marketing, I’ve learned the necessity of a polished resume. I work with recruiters every day, and I know they spend a lot of time reviewing resumes. So, when friends and family members ask me to look over their resumes, I find myself relying on these key resume writing tips.
1. Define the basics
If you’re staring at a blank page with no idea how to begin, start small. Define the basic duties of the jobs you’ve held and the education you’ve achieved—even if you haven’t completed a degree. Use action words (lead, manage, create, develop, consult, etc.) to describe your experience and use numbers wherever you can. For example, if you work in a call center environment, define how many calls you take on average a day, and what those calls entail.
2. Highlight your accomplishments
It’s easy to think of your resume as just a catalog of all the education and work experience you gained over the years, but it’s much more than that. After defining the basics of your role, focus on what you’ve achieved. That means describing how you were successful in your duties or when you were promoted into a new job level. These accomplishments show how hard you worked in your career and what outcomes you’ve achieved, so make sure they stand out in your resume.
3. Update your resume regularly
Yes, even when you aren’t actively looking for a job, you should get in the habit of updating your resume. This will save you from spending hours on it when you’re ready for the next step. So, the next time you complete a project or are given more responsibility in your role, take some time to add that to your resume. I promise, you’ll thank me later.
4. Tailor your resume to the job posting
When it comes to what you should put on your resume, one size doesn’t fit all—your resume should be custom-made for the job. Start by comparing your resume with the qualifications listed in the job description. Does the job require three years of experience in a specific field? If you meet that requirement, make sure it’s visible on your resume. Consider skills that may be transferable. Do you need communication skills for the role? Highlight examples of your communication skills from your past or current job. Ultimately, it should be easy for the recruiter to see you’re the right fit for this particular role.
5. Have someone review your resume
Don’t be afraid to have a friend, colleague, mentor, or family member look at your resume before submitting it with a job application. It’s easy to miss spelling or grammatical errors when you’re overly familiar with a document. It’s also easier for someone else to spot things you may have missed (like accomplishments you may have downplayed).
I hope these resume writing tips help the process feel a lot less daunting.
Taking that extra time and attention on your resume will go a long way in making that positive first impression—and hopefully land you a job interview. And if you’re looking for more helpful tips as you gear up in your job search, read through this article on using job boards and social networking sites to your advantage.
Best of luck in your job search!