7 Ways To Write A Résumé That Might Actually Land You An Interview
Your résumé needs to get you an interview. As a recruiter, I read upwards of 100 résumés per day, and each day, it gets easier to spot the differences between a great one and a poor one.
Only 10 percent of the résumés I read are great; the majority fall into the average category, and about 20 percent could use considerable revisions.
Amongst the 20 percent of “less than great” résumés, I know there are qualified candidates in there, but they just struggled to draft a good résumé.
So, what’s the problem? Hiring managers don't have enough time to decipher each résumé and read between the lines! Your résumé needs to look clean and be compelling enough to read.
A hiring manager can quickly place your résumé in the “we’ll keep it on file” pile, but they are too busy to sift through a haystack for a needle when their desks are filled with good résumés. So, what makes a résumé worth reading?
Balance the use of “white” and “black” space. If you have a few bullet points single-spaced, will it look good with six spaces before your next point? Of course not! It will look ridiculous because that’s too much blank (white) space.
If you started a small business venture, like shoveling snow, yet you never got the business registered, made any money or had any other employees, is it honest and accurate to write that you were CEO, CFO, President, National Security Advisor, Global Product Design or VP of Client Relations?
This is a pet peeve of mine. Be HONEST. I could write about this ad nauseam but will spare you.
Some people say to always keep your résumé to one page; however, there are circumstances when it will need to be several pages. That is reserved for IT, engineers or other highly technical positions. Aim for one page for every 10 years of work.
If you double space in-between the first job listed then single space after the next job, it looks sloppy. Whether you single or double-space is up to you, but you must be consistent. Also, for current jobs, make sure to use present tense. You are “developing” or you "develop" — not you “developed.”
This is a small mistake, yet one that may remove you from consideration. An exception would be if you did something, such as developed an item with a patent; then, you would put the year you did that in parenthesis. With former jobs, use past tense and stay consistent.
If you “developed curriculum” in your last job, but it also says, “developing a manual,” it reads as if you still have your hand in the pot there or are confused on what you did there. I don't want to hire someone who is confused about what he or she did at a former job.
Always start with your most recent job first and work your way back. Surprisingly enough, I see too many résumés that fail to list jobs in chronological order. (Seeing one is too many.)
Balance Job Responsibilities And Accomplishments
Nearly all résumés have a list of responsibilities listed under each job, but only half of résumés list accomplishments. You're not at fault; our English comp classes may have failed us.
Job responsibilities are paramount, but it's also important to list accomplishments while in that position. You decreased product waste? Great! Share that and how much.
Balance qualitative and quantitative data; list one job responsibility and then one measurable statistic. Instead of just "reduced spending” use “reduced spending by 10 percent” to give yourself more credibility.
No "Spelling Bee" Words
If you replace a commonly used word with a word from the thesaurus, it’s blatantly obvious. If you don't know what the word meant before looking it up, the hiring manager may not know it, either. It isn't impressive; it's obnoxious.
Using assiduous instead of diligent, ebullient instead of cheerful, garrulous instead of communicative or proclivity instead of tendency will patently have a proclivity to bring you more harm than good. See? It's annoying.
Your résumé needs to get you an interview. That is its purpose. It doesn't need to contain everything you've ever done.
Writing my first résumé was intimidating because I thought I needed to put in everything I've ever done, and I've spoken with many people who felt the same way. If your résumé grabs the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager and lands you an interview, count one win for your résumé.