I love helping people write resumes! It’s one of my favorite projects to work on because it’s all about putting things in a positive light and making the most out of every experience. I spent a few years in college learning from the best of the best when it comes to resumes and as I recently restructured my own, I thought I would share my 5 favorite tips and tricks to building an eye-catching professional resume!
- Keep It Simple, Stupid. The KISS method is a great way to go about doing life, but I feel like it applies to resumes very well also. You want your potential interviewer or employer to be able to get a good impression of you very, very quickly so having a clean, uncluttered layout with only important and relevant content will go a long way. Does your resume still list awards from high school? Do you have college courses listed even though you graduated two years ago? Get rid of that stuff, you don’t need it! Keep your resume short and to the point as much as possible and try to keep it to one page.
- Create a “kitchen sink” version of your resume where you compile the details of every work experience, big or small, to pull from when you need it. You want to keep track of all your different work experiences but you probably don’t need to list it all for every job you apply for. Some experiences might be more valuable when applying for different jobs down the road so you definitely don’t want to lose all that info. Having everything ready to go in one document makes it nice and easy to cut and paste when creating different versions of your resume for different jobs. Which brings us to….
- Targeting your resume can help you de-clutter and decide which of your experiences might be worthy of creating the impression you want. Look back over your “kitchen sink” resume and pull those experiences that are most relevant to the type of job you’re looking for. Wanting a job in marketing? Unless you spent your time doing marketing and advertising for the pool, your summer as a lifeguard may not be needed here.
- Use past-tense action verbs when describing the skills you picked up with each experience. Again, you want the person in charge of looking over resumes to get a good impression of you quickly. Most employers spend fewer than 10 seconds looking over resumes so you want the first things they see to show off your skills and abilities in clear, confident ways.
- Don’t make employers guess what skills or experiences you picked up at your job. You want every work experience to have details about your time there, lists of transferable skills that speak clearly about what you learned or how you developed. For instance, perhaps you worked as a summer camp counselor. While listing “child care” under this experience would be accurate, perhaps a more detailed listing like “oversaw the instruction of 18 elementary-aged children” or “facilitated arts and craft activities for 30 preschoolers” would give your interviewer a more comprehensive idea of what you did as a camp counselor.
I know a lot of this may sound like a no-brainer but making these little changes can go a long way in presenting the best version of yourself. Have any questions about formatting or wording content to best describe your skills and experiences? Shoot me an email or comment and I’m happy to help out!