Perfecting your résumé can feel a lot like packing for a vacation — you have a tiny amount of space and a million different ways to arrange your stuff. Plus, let’s not forget that sneaking suspicion that you’re forgetting something important.
Keep reading to learn our sure-fire résumé writing tips that will help you stand out in the pile.
Tip 1: Tell a story, don’t write a list
When writing your résumé, don’t include everything you’ve done since childhood. Although being an executive member of your high school’s art club expresses initiative and leadership, it’s not necessary to include.
Your résumé should tell a story about who you are and why you’re the right person for the job. List only the experiences that are relevant to that specific role, and those you feel confident you can speak to with intelligence and enthusiasm.
Tip 2: Get to the point
I’m sure your high school or college guidance counsellor told you this when they taught you how to write a résumé, but your writing should be clear and concise. Keep your résumé to one or two pages.
As far as organization goes, a general rule of thumb is to lead with your strengths. You want to get a hiring manager’s attention right away, so put your best stuff at the top. For example, if you have an internship that directly relates to the position, put this first on your list.
Tip 3: Make it targeted
Put in that extra effort to tailor your résumé to the job you’re applying for. Hiring managers and recruiters aren’t into generic resumes. You need to express to employers that you are enthusiastic about them specifically.
A great way to target your résumé is using keywords. Scan the job description and pick out the most frequently used terms. By using targeted language, you can highlight the qualities you have that the company is looking for.
Tip 4: Be organized
Although the content itself is the ‘good stuff’, the actual appearance of your résumé should also be considered. Nothing turns a hiring manager away faster than a résumé that is difficult to read.
Organize your content by including headings to group relevant information together. To improve legibility, use basic fonts such as Helvetica or Arial and keep the text at a size between 10 and 12. It is also a good idea to leave a healthy amount of white space to avoid the ‘clothes stuffed in a suitcase’ look.
Tip 5: Write in a conversational tone
Likely, the person reading your résumé has already reviewed a whole stack of others, so don’t make them work extra hard to understand you. Although it’s tempting to include industry jargon to show off your knowledge, it’s best to keep things simple. By finding the sweet spot between casual and formal, you can really set yourself apart from other applicants.
Tip 6: Provide a personal website
Since your résumé is only a few pages, it can be tough to tell your story quickly. By including a personal website — even if it’s just one page — you provide hiring managers with an easily accessible place to view more of your work.
Tip 7: Proofread, proofread, proofread
The last thing you want is a typo in your résumé. Just imagine saying you studied “deserts” instead of “desserts” in school – both will attract very different job offers.
Read your résumé repeatedly and remember that spellcheck can only take you so far. Once you’ve completed your edits, let someone else read it. A fresh set of eyes will catch the mistakes you may overlook.
Hot tip: Professional editors read their stories backwards to check for errors. This tricks the brain out of skipping over commonly misspelled words so you can catch every last mistake!
Tip 8: Constantly refresh it
Always keep your résumé updated on your latest responsibilities, skills, and experiences — even when you aren’t job hunting. This way, you’ll always be ready to pounce when a new opportunity presents itself.
Tip 9: Get help from a professional
If this is making your head spin, there’s no harm in seeking another opinion. Lucky for you, there are trained professionals who’ve seen it all and are more than willing to share their wisdom with you.
If you want to learn how to write a résumé from a professional recruiter who actually does the hiring, get in touch!