Writing the perfect resume seems like a huge task when you first start looking for a new job. However, resume writing doesn’t have to be quite the arduous chore that it seems at first.
The most important thing to know before you start are the tips and tricks necessary to zone in on an employer’s attention and to get people noticing your profile.
To make all this simpler, we’ve highlighted 10 of the most important ways you can quickly get your resume on point.
1. Say No to Bland Resumes
First things first, don’t use the same resume for every job that you apply to.
Employers don’t respond to generic resumes. You’ve got a much better chance of getting picked for the position if you do a bit of work to increase your appeal.
This means tailoring your resume for each job you apply for. It doesn’t need to be a complete overhaul each time. But you should make sure that you’re optimizing details so that your most relevant abilities get seen quickly.
2. Choose the Right Format
The resume template you choose needs to complement your level of experience. This will help ensure you organize everything on the page in a way that directs the employer’s attention to the sections where you come across strongest.
This gives you three types of format to choose from:
In most cases, a reverse chronological resume is your best choice as recruiters almost always want to hear about your experience. However, if you’re newer to your sector or the job market as a whole, you may have better luck with a functional or combination style template.
3. Know Your Employer
As mentioned before, you need to make an effort to tailor your resume to the position and company you’re targeting. This means doing a bit of research.
Once you find a job advert that matches your goals, it’s important to read through the spec very carefully. This will give you the biggest clues about who and what the employer is looking for.
You can then use key components of the resume template like the summary section to outline the information a specific hiring company wants to see. This will help your profile stand out much better and get you called in for more interviews.
4. Experience is By Far Your Biggest Asset
There’s no doubt that experience is king when it comes to job applications. You must always focus on demonstrating that you have done the role before, either directly or indirectly. You need to show that you’ll be able to hit the ground running.
This is trickier but not totally impossible to manage when you’re starting out in your career or moving sectors. Here, you need to highlight your transferable skills and other relevant experiences to show the recruiter you’re able to succeed from day one.
5. Modify Your Section Selection
Work experience, skills and education sections are all it takes when writing the perfect resume, right? Not quite.
There are many other sections that you may consider using depending on the job you’re aiming for.
Options such as Awards, Certifications, Publications, Hobbies and Interests, could all make a big impression on the person reading your resume if you’ve got any special achievements to share.
6. Words Matter More Than Visuals
Readability is probably the single most important feature of a resume. Recruiters have to read through hundreds of applications each day from eager candidates. So documents full of wordy paragraphs are the ones that usually lose out.
Instead, focus on making sure information can be easily skim-read. Using tricks like adding bullet points, clear sections, bold headings, clean fonts and enough white space on the page will help you manage this easily.
7. But, Catching the Employer’s Eye Goes a Long Way Too
Your resume should be just eye catching enough to be noticed by employers. Without being too gaudy of course.
A nice clean and professional template with organized sections and a bit of colour is a good way to make sure yours hits the mark. Using a preoptimized resume builder is recommended here so that you can take advantage of tried and tested designs.
8. Keep the Length Under Control
Lengthy resumes usually mean you won’t last long in the recruitment process.
Quite often, a resume can be anywhere from 1-2 letter pages long. However, it’s best to stick to a single page to avoid getting passed over.
Recruiters only normally spend a few minutes skimming through applicant resumes and if yours is longer important sections could be missed.
9. Plan for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)
The robots are taking over, sort of. Today, around 98% of Fortune 500 companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to monitor the many hundreds of resumes they receive for each job each day.
This can potentially mean that if your resume doesn’t fit the parameters of the system it won’t even be read by a human hiring manager.
So it’s important to make your file as ATS friendly as possible. One of the best ways to do this is by creating your file in the right format. Use ATS compliant formats like:
Not only that but you should also make sure to include a good amount of relevant keywords for the job and sector you’re going for. Otherwise the filtering software will simply discard your application.
10. Proofread Absolutely EVERYTHING
You’ve spent plenty of time writing the perfect resume with glowing relevant experience, everything organized expertly and a killer template to show your professionality.
Unfortunately if there are any misspellings or grammar mistakes on the page, you will get precisely zero interview calls.
Therefore, make sure you read through everything carefully before you hit send. That extra 5 minutes of checking your file could be the most important of your whole job search.
Writing the perfect resume doesn’t have to be tricky. This tips show there are lots of ways you can easily enhance the document you send in.
The job market is often competitive no matter what industry you’re targeting. That’s why it’s important to use every trick and available tool that makes your resume more effective.