Feeling a little lost on how to craft a great resume? There’s a lot of resume advice out there. Sometimes one thing you read contradicts another! Fortunately for you, we’ve put together a fool-proof step-by-step guide to making your resume awesome.
Step 1: Compile Your Accomplishments
Whether you’re just getting your career started or you’re a mid-career professional, everyone should have a living CV. It’s a place for you to add all your achievements, work history, and volunteering experience to a single document. You’ll regularly update your living CV as your skill set grows.
It’ll take some upfront work to get your CV together, but it’s a great way to take inventory of all the skills you’ve picked up over the years. Once you put together this document, creating a customized resume is a piece of cake!
Pro Tip: This is a great resource for building a robust LinkedIn profile.
Step 2: Pick Your Most Relevant Experience
Based on the job posting, evaluate your past experience and choose what will be most interesting to the hiring manager. For example, if you worked part time at a local ice cream shop during summer, future employers will be way more interested in your customer service abilities than your scooping skills. Remember that living CV you made in Step 1? Now’s when you pick and choose your most relevant experience to craft a custom resume that will help you stand out as an awesome fit.
Stuck on how to know what’s most relevant to the role? Pay attention to the requirements section of the application and the role description listed in the job opening.
Pro Tip: Quantify your accomplishments when possible. Numbers are a powerful tool!
Step 3: Sprinkle in Keywords
Refer back to that job description again. Pick out some key phrases that you can work into your resume. Not only will you make yourself the obvious choice to the hiring manager, but you’ll be more likely to reach a human in the first place! Lots of companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (also called an ATS) to help them parse through all the resumes they get, and adding keywords can give you a boost!
Pro Tip: Don’t overdo it! You don’t want you resume to look like you copied the job description word-for-word.
Step 4: Use a Simple Resume Format
It might be tempting to use a super creative resume template when applying to jobs. While they might look cool, graphics-heavy visual resumes aren’t usually the best way to communicate your qualifications – unless you’re applying to an arts-focused job. Instead, these fancy formats often get scrambled by the ATS. This can hurt your chances of getting your resume in front of a real person. What’s more, if your resume does grace the eyes of a hiring manager, they’re going to spend less than 10 seconds reviewing it. Eek!
To keep your resume powerful, keep it simple and organized. Have your name and contact information at the top, followed by clearly marked sections, like skills, work experience, and education.
Pro Tip: Keep your resume to one page. A three-page resume isn’t impressive; it’s laughable for an early-career professional.
Step 5: Take Time to Proofread
This one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people were great at “suporting there manger” – instead of “supporting their manager”. It’s especially hard to catch mistakes on your own if you misuse the wrong word – even the Spellcheck Angel can’t save you then! Having a typo-riddled resume can mean the difference between whether or not you get the interview. 76% of hiring managers will immediately remove applicants from the candidate pool for having only one or two typos.
It may seem harsh, but it makes sense. A typo in your resume signals limited attention to detail, which matters in a professional environment. If you can’t bother to proofread your resume, can you be trusted to send a typo-free email to a client?
Fortunately, the solution is simple: before you hit send on the application, have a friend with a fresh set of eyes go over your resume and help you spot any mistakes or clunky wording.
Pro Tip: Print out a hard copy of your resume. It can help you find mistakes more easily. Especially when you’ve been staring at your word doc for the last few hours!
If you follow these five steps, there’s no doubt you’ll get that call back.
Still need more resume advice? Make sure you’re steering clear of these common resume mistakes.