It’s a major step in applying for a new job: the resume, a concise document that clearly depicts skills, job experience and your accomplishments. It’s meant to quickly capture your aptitude for any new position, summarizing all of the reasons you know you would be a good fit for the job you’re applying for.
Writing a resume can be frustrating. You’re being asked to summarize all pertinent job experience, complete with job titles, past employer names and relevant skills. It can be a daunting task, especially if you’re doing it all for the first time.
When it comes to writing a well-rounded resume, your goal should be crafting a comprehensive, easy-to-understand document that clearly showcases your best qualities. Don’t let the resume-writing process intimidate you. We’ve outlined 4 key objectives below that should help clarify any questions you might have along the way.
1. Remember the goal
There’s a lot of misconception out there about what you should, and should not, include in a resume. Here’s our suggestion: remember the goal.
The goal of any resume is to clearly, simply convey your aptitude for a job opening. As a result, your goal should be to tailor resume content to putting your best foot forward. Remembering the goal will influence every aspect of your resume.
When choosing which skills to list from each past job position, be careful to choose skills that will also benefit you in the position you’re applying for. When deciding which past job experience to list, be careful to list past occupations that speak to how qualified you are for the new position. And when you’re deciding which references to list on you resume, be sure to choose individuals who can accurately speak to how you performed in past jobs, and who can also speak to the skills you’ve listed.
2. Sometimes, less is more
Here’s another popular resume misconception: the more that you list on your resume – skills, job experience, references, education, certifications, etc. – the better chance you’ll have to land the position of your dreams.
That might be true if resumes were read sequentially, but they rarely are. Much more commonly, resumes are skimmed, as potential employers will quickly assess your aptitude by consulting your skills list, job experience, etc. As a result, recruiters and employers alike rarely take the time to read through entire paragraphs, or to assess groups of bullet points. Rather, they’re looking for a type of person, and it’s your job to convince them of your aptitude through the content you choose to include on your resume. That’s why it’s important to prioritize specific information on your resume, rather than to include every skill and every past occupation you can think of.
Take a moment and ask yourself this question, for each new skill, job, certification, etc. you’re thinking about adding to your resume: does this new piece of information make me even more qualified for the position I’m applying for? Your resume should do more than list accomplishments; it should tell a story of your progression, and should frame your aptitude with each new bullet point or sentence. If you find anything in your resume that doesn’t further your case, you should consider removing it.
3. Find keywords in similar job listings
This is one of the greatest pieces of advice we can give: before you begin crafting your own resume, take a look at similar job listings online. Better yet, see if you can find examples of other resumes that were submitted for these jobs. You’re looking for buzzwords, industry terminology or keywords that are especially pertinent for the position itself.
It’s important to note that we’re not advocating for stretching the truth in your resume; instead, we’re only suggesting you help make the recruiter or employer’s job even easier, by including relevant terminology or skills that you share with other individuals who successfully landed a similar position.
Simple grammar and spelling errors are some of the most frequent mistakes we see when we review resumes. Even if your resume is well-written, chock-full of helpful details, job experience information and skills, you can derail the entire hiring process if your resume reflects poor grammar. This is a remarkably simple suggestion, but it works wonders for most resumes.
Take the time to review your resume and carefully ensure that everything is spelled correctly. Have you correctly used industry terminology in the right places? Are your sentences complete? Is your grammar flawless? If you’re not sure if a portion of your resume correctly abides by spelling and/or grammatical guidelines, take the time for some quick research. You’ll thank yourself for the extra time after you can confidently submit your resume as an accurate reflection of your best self.
Take your time and trust the process
Submitting a professional resume is the first step in pursuing a job position you want, but it’s certainly not the last step. During your job search, you’re likely to experience optimism and disappointment, excitement and frustration. Recruiters and employers often take extensive time to review resumes and interview all impressive candidates. You’ll likely find yourself waiting at least a few days after submitting your resume, alongside a cover letter and any other information requested by the hiring manager. And don’t be afraid to ask anyone reading your resume if they have any suggestions for improvement! Take your time, trust the process and you’ll find yourself well on your way toward a new, rewarding career.