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13 Tricks About Resume Building You Wish You Knew Before
It’s a question that’s being asked more often: Is a resume still a relevant tool in job hunting today? The answer is clearly yes, but it comes with a huge qualifier. A resume is necessary, but it must be a tool of the Digital Age.
In the recent past, a resume was all about listing your skills, experience, talents, and education. That’s still important. But what’s really key today is leveraging your resume to make yourself “searchable.”
So, today we’re going to discuss 13 resume building tips you wished you knew before.
Let’s make No. 1 on that list the fact that creating a powerful resume means building one designed to perform well online.
You are far more likely to be found via an online search engine and social media than by a paper resume. Optimizing your resume’s searchability involves intelligent use of keywords and other SEO techniques. We won’t get into an in-depth discussion of that here. Just be sure to create a powerful, searchable online tool.
Tip 2: Use a Template
Instead of trying to recreate the wheel, download a resume template. Now you don’t have to twiddle endlessly with margins, formats, fonts and more. A template allows you to plug in your personal information in all the right places easily.
Tip 3: Nix the Personal Statement
A resume should be lean and mean. Thus, taking up precious space to make general statements about your skills or interests is commentary that adds little. It’s also easy to screw up a personal statement, as in making it too vague or unprofessional.
Tip 4: Emphasize What You Have Accomplished
Tell prospective employers what you accomplished first and what your responsibilities were second. Many resume writers say a lot about being “responsible for this” and responsible for that.” That’s okay, but what solid results came from handling those responsibilities? Spell it out.
Tip 5: One Page Only
What are the chances an employer will go on to read the second page of your resume? It’s Vanishingly small. Keep your resume to one page. It will force you to be super concise. It also makes for a punchy, bold resume. You can always use hyperlinks to direct readers toward more information. (See Tip 8)
Tip 6: Appeal to Automated Tracking Systems
A set of human eyes is not likely to be the first to scan your resume. Employers get so many resumes they use applicant tracking systems to sort out the chaff. Here, again, intelligent use of keywords and phrases will help get your resume past that first “machine elimination round.”
Tip 7: Custom Design for Each Application
Sending out the same resume to every employer is a shotgun approach. What you want is a more narrowly aimed sniper-like approach. Tweak each resume to match the specific needs of each individual employer. It’s more labor-intensive but worth it.
Tip 8: Hyperlinks?
Using hyperlinks in a resume is an excellent idea. Your goal is to keep your one-page resume super concise. That means you must leave a lot of potentially good stuff out. Including a hyperlink that allows an employer to click through and learn more about you is a top-notch idea.
Tip 9: Tell a Story
It’s really hard to create a compelling narrative, like an absorbing short story, in a bare-bones document like a resume. But highlighting career milestones can create that effect to a degree. Just keep “my story” in mind as you list out your accomplishments and “your story” will take care of itself.
Tip 10: Keep Basic Computer Skills to Bare Minimum
Just about everyone knows how to use Microsoft Word and other common programs. Don’t waste any space on listing a lot or any stuff like this.
Tip 11: Revise and Refine
No writer submits a rough draft to a publisher, so why submit a rough draft of your resume? Polish it, rewrite and keep refining it. Get feedback from friends and other professionals to help you make good revisions.
Tip 12: Put Important Stuff Higher Up
There’s no reason your experience of skills should be chronological or in a “logical order.” The order you want is your best and most accomplished items list up top and lesser experiences lower down.
Tip 13: Eye-Popping Design and Graphics – No!
Flashy visuals and eye-popping designs basically do nothing to help you achieve the goal of getting hired. It is the specifics of your skills, experience and accomplishments that get you hired. In fact, a “wow-like design” can distract from critical information about your skills and experience.
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