Put yourself in the shoes of the HR professional who has fifty or maybe a hundred resumes to sift through today alone. With bleary eyes, he or she persists, longing for the one that makes a neat, strong, focused presentation.
You want your paper persona to do that and more. It’s crucial that your resume stand out and rise above the mediocre if you want to advance to the next level in your job search – an actual interview.
Remember that first impressions are critical and consider the following “appearance counts” tips.
- Forget the fancy stationery, choosing instead good quality 8 ½ x 11 paper in white, buff, or beige.
- Choose an easily readable font in a size from 10-12. Common fonts are Times New Roman, Georgia, Garamond, Arial, or Tahoma.
- Use a larger font or the bold or underline feature to make your name and section headings stand out.
- Utilize bullet points and “white space” for ease in readability.
- Proofread multiple times to ensure no typos.
While you want your resume to grab the attention of the hiring manager or HR director, don’t resort to gimmicks. Dominique Rodgers notes,
“Gimmicky or stunt resumes are almost always a terrible idea. Someone somewhere once had his resume delivered with a pizza and subsequently got the job, leading others to believe this type of thing was helpful. It’s not.”
Rather engage the hiring professional with a concise, focused, and relevant summary that highlights your character and the specific skills related to the job opening.
Rodgers shares thoughts from Charlie Harary partner at H3 & Co. and professor at the Sy Syms School of Business:
“Harary likes to see specifics about skills instead of vague phrases like ‘assisted with’ or ‘worked closely on’ because those don’t convey skill information. He’d rather know if you led the project, drafted documents or made coffee – and what skills you used in that specific position. “If you identify a few of your key skills, you may hit the one that the company needs,” Haray explains. “You are showing the company that you are bold, introspective, and articulate enough to understand your unique value.”
Here are some additional “shiny” tips.
- DO more than merely list job duties. Many resumes list the individual’s responsibilities at each previous job without explaining what the person actually achieved there. A focus on accomplishments will make the resume much more effective as it now explains how the person performed, not just what his/her job duties were.
- DO make the document’s focus as sharp as possible, given that employers screen resumes for as few as 6 seconds, you need a way to show the employer at a glance what you want to do and what you’re good at.
- DON’T obsess over the “one page rule” but do ensure the first page can stand alone and provides an overview of who you are and what you can do. If you have extensive experience, all the information will not fit on one page, and that’s okay.
- DO emphasize transferable skills—the skills you’ve acquired through life experiences including jobs, classes, projects, parenting, hobbies, sports, etc. Any skill that can “transfer” and apply to what you want to do in your next job is worth mentioning.
- DO, whenever possible, use numbers to back up your accomplishments—how many people you supervised, by what percentage you increased sales, how much money you saved the company, how many products you represented, etc. Be specific.
Ensure your resume makes an attention-grabbing impression to boost the chances of getting you and your skills noticed. Contact Working World today. We will help you get that shining resume into the hands of potential employers.