It’s no secret that in today’s job market, your resume needs to set you apart as an exemplary candidate. A resume is your opportunity to highlight the education, skills, and experience you’ve acquired on your journey to attaining your professional goals, and it’s what companies will review to determine whether you’re a good fit for a job with them.
The average hiring manager—often the first person to see your resume—spends no more than 6 seconds skimming your resume before deciding whether to give it a more thorough look.1
We’ve compiled a list of the most comprehensive resume-writing advice to help you come off as professional as possible, while also differentiating yourself from other candidates in the job pool.
Boil it down to one page
Keeping your resume to one page is critical (not front and back either, we’re talking one-sided!), especially as a newcomer to the job market. Consider this your first test by potential employers to see if you can communicate the most essential information in a concise manner.
One of the most common mistakes young professionals make is including too many details about a prior job or internship. It’s critical to communicate succinctly the most important aspects of your experience that will be applicable to the position you’re applying for, rather than providing a long list of all of your responsibilities.
Tailor your resume to the job you want
As mentioned above, make sure to tailor aspects of your previous work experience or internships to target the role you are applying for. Take time to understand the role and what skills and tasks it entails. Think about skills and experiences you have that you think would most pique a hiring manager’s or potential employer’s interest that are relevant or could bring value to the job they want to fill. Highlight those things, and put them close to the top when you’re listing bullets under previous experiences.
Put things in reverse chronological order
While employers want to see the big picture of your past experience, they’re most concerned with where you currently are. Start your resume with your current or most recent position and continue in reverse chronology so potential employers can see your journey and how you got to where you are today.
Keep your formatting simple
It could be tempting to differentiate yourself by using unique and unconventional resume design, but it’s better to err on the side of simplicity with resumes. If you were applying for a design or art-related job, there would be more wiggle room here. For our purposes, we want to focus on the words we’re using to describe past experience and skill sets. Keeping your formatting simple makes it easier on the eyes reading your resume, and less likely that they’ll be distracted from the most important elements of your resume.
The Muse website has a lot of great resume templates. You can view those at https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-41-best-resume-templates-ever.
Perhaps the most important piece of advice is to be genuine on your resume. No resume should be the same, and the challenge is to use what little space you have to highlight what makes you different from other job candidates. And don’t think that an experience unrelated to your prospective field isn’t worth mentioning—there are likely skills you learned in a previous job (e.g. working in a team, coordinating projects, compiling and/or monitoring budgets) that you can highlight for potential employers.
Also, if there are breaks in your employment history, be prepared to address those in an interview. Employers will always be interested in how you utilized your time during summers between semesters or during long hiatuses between jobs.
- When in doubt, leave the age-old objective statement out. Double-check with a professional in your industry, but most professionals consider this part of the resume obsolete.
- Instead of using valuable real estate listing references on your resume, you may opt to include a line at the bottom saying “References available upon request.” This not only saves you space, but also lets you give your references a heads-up when potential employers may contact them (something they’ll greatly appreciate).
- When you list your contact information at the top of your resume, list the points of contact that you check regularly and can hold yourself accountable to. For example, if you only check one email address and phone number, list only those rather than every point of contact you have.
While these are valuable resume tips, they are also broad, and some industries may have certain expectations for a resume that differ from the norm. We encourage you to reach out to professionals in your industry to get their input on any additions you should incorporate into your resume specific to your field.
The information in this post was drawn from www.themuse.com, and we encourage you to visit the site for additional resources catered to entry-level job seekers.