The first step in landing you the right job is to have a good resume. It’s so important that a whole industry has grown up around crafting one that lands you an interview, but it’s possible to make improvements without spending a lot of money. Here are some simple changes that you can make to your resume today.
1. Keep it brief
Unless you have lots of incredible work experience that you need to showcase, or you are applying for the position of the head scientist at NASA, then your resume shouldn’t be too long. Hiring managers simply don’t have the time to read your life story. Highlight your strong, relevant experience and education, and keep it to a page and a half, two max.
2. Use action verbs
Generally speaking, employers prefer workers to be proactive. Using action verbs in your resume will send that message across, even on an unconscious level. Action verbs are “doing” words—they describe actions, not states. In your employment history, talk about what you did. When listing your education, mention what projects you worked on and what you achieved, not about what you learned or what you know.
3. Remove the first person
It’s tiresome for potential employers to read through resumes full of the words “I”, “my”, “me” and so on. It also detracts from what you did at a previous job and focuses attention on you. When listing your duties at a former job, use bullet points and start with a verb. Rest assured, the reader will know who you are referring to.
4. Use a consistent tense
Different experts give varying advice about the tense you should use when describing past duties with previous employers, using the same action verbs mentioned above. If you use the present tense it can sound strange, while the past is just that—past. In reality, it’s not all that important. What is important is to be consistent with whichever tense you choose, as this will send an important message about your work ethic.
5. Spell check
There really is no excuse for poor spelling in resumes nowadays. All word processors have spell checks, and you can run your text through any number of online versions to highlight your mistakes. You should also be careful with grammar too. If you’re using MS Word, for example, make sure to pay attention to those red and green lines that appear. They’re there to help.
6. List backward
Start your resume with your most recent work experience and move backward in time, reducing the amount of content with those earlier jobs. It’s not set in stone, but for the majority of jobs consider listing your education after your work experience.
7. Hobbies and interests
This one can be controversial, but do your potential employers really need to know how much you enjoy video games, or horror movies, or clubbing? If you choose to include this section, make sure it presents you in a wholesome light. If it does not, overhaul it or, better, remove it entirely.
See also: 5 Ways to Stand Out When Job Hunting.1 comment