If you’re just getting started on your first (or 10th) job search, keep in mind that your resume is one of two vital documents (including a stellar cover letter) that are required to apply for most jobs these days.
It’s vital to make your resume concise, clean and ultimately paint you in the best possible light.
As the head of recruiting and hiring at my job, I’ve seen thousands of applications.
Here are five tips to help make your resume shine, and ultimately stand out from the rest:
1.) Include Only Relevant Experience
Sure, maybe you were the vice president of math club back in high school fifteen years ago. Awesome, congratulations. However, unless you’re applying to be a math tutor, teacher or anything very relevant, it’s likely time to take that off your resume. The goal here is to paint the picture of yourself that is relevant to the position you are applying for. At the top of your resume write “*Relevant Work Experience” to indicate that there is more, but these are the jobs, skills and experiences that show why you are the best fit for the position.
2.) Be Brief and Concise.
While the quality, skill, experience, or strength of any candidate is not necessarily connected to brevity, it’s important to remember that people like me are reading tons of applicants every day. Getting your point and skills across quickly– such that it can be scanned– is vital. If you have more than five years of work experience, don’t feel like you need to limit yourself to just one page. A recruiter or hiring manager doesn’t care if it’s one page or two pages long. What matters is whether it’s easy to read and clear.
3.) Spend Hours Perfecting your Resume
Spend an entire day making this document as clean, clear and as readable as possible. If there are any typos, fix them. Send it to your parents, friends and ex-girlfriends. Get all their critiques, edits and suggestions. Then rewrite the entire thing. Get rid of unnecessary words, make sure your verbiage is accurate and read through it so many times your eyes start to bleed just a bit. Then read it again.
4.) Do Not Begin your Resume with an Objective
This is a personal pet peeve, but generally it’s best to just get to the point. Your cover letter allows you to convey your objectives, interests and passion for any given position. A recruiter only cares about what you’ve done, and what you can offer. Period. Show them what you’re offering, verses asking them to fit their role to ‘personal objectives.’
5.) Write the Perfect Cover letter
While this isn’t your resume, it’s vital to your success. A great resume is nothing without a clean, readable cover letter that explicitly states your intention, interest in the particular role and why you’re the perfect person for the job. While one could write a book about the perfect cover letter, that is the topic of another article.
Good luck, and keep it simple, honest and clean.
About the Author: Peter Walters is a freelance writer who has written for various websites over the years, among which include MediaShower.com.