A good resume is your one chance to get your foot in the door and capture the interest of potential employers. Having the right professional resume tips will make you stand out from the crowd and last this so expected job interview.
However, did you know that recruiters, on average, take 5-7 seconds to look at a resume?
Coupled with the fact that you are never alone in applying for a specific opening, it can be hard to gain attention with only a piece of paper to represent you.
So bear with me and check these great professional resume tips given by actual HR managers and recruiters involved in hiring.
1) Try And Confine It To One Page. If Not, Two
A resume should fit on one page. Like a one-page magazine ad, it tells potential employers what they need to know about you, which can be a significant dilemma for people with years of a great experience that do not fit on one page.
Lisa Rangel, managing director of ChameleonResumes.com, says, “If you’ve been in the workforce for 15-plus years, do not feel forced to trim information about your achievements to keep to an arbitrary one-page resume rule.”
However, if you’re a recent graduate and still in your twenties, then you need to keep your resume confined to a single page.
2) Blank Space Matters
Balance your blank space. Do not fill up the page with a wall of text, nor leave it so blank that you look inexperienced.
HR Manager, Heather Spruill, said on Quora (a question-and-answer website):
“If my eye doesn’t know where to go, it’s either because you’ve crammed too much onto the page, or haven’t broken up your information into digestible sections. You’re making it hard for me.”
Leave blank lines after a work experience or qualification. It keeps the resume uncluttered and presentable, drawing attention to your achievements.
3) Focus On Formatting
Standard formatting rules entail that you use a minimum font size of 11 pt in a conservative style. Nothing too fancy.
Set 1-inch margins on all sides. On the top of the page advertise your name in bold, followed by your contact information which includes your phone number, full address, and email.
If you want to brighten up your professional resume with colors, don’t go crazy. Depending on the industry, colored margins or header might be acceptable, but only if you are handing in a printed copy.
Copies received electronically are usually printed by black-and-white printers, which makes the colors appear gray and dull.
4) Use Bullet Points
Avoid writing in long paragraphs. Instead, structure your information in bullet points in short to-the-point sentences.
One to three bullet points per item is sufficient. Liz Wolgemuth at U.S.News & World Report writes, "[Compare] the process of flipping through a jumbo-size magazine. Readers don't spend much time on each page. Full sentences are, quite simply, too time-consuming in today's hiring world."
5) Keywords Are Important
If shopping and dating have gone digital, it comes as no surprise that job selection has also begun relying on codes and algorithms.
Specific companies have online recruitment tools in place to filter out job applications based on keywords that define what they are looking for.
ZipRecruiter is an online job distribution and job board service. The web-based platform released top buzzwords in five-star resumes ranked by potential employers.
Keywords which makes it 70% more likely to get top ratings are “experience,” “management,” “project,” “development,” “business,” “skill,” “professional,” “knowledge,” “year,” “team” and “leadership.
On the other hand, resumes that gave impressions of inexperience and focused on individuality rather than teamwork were negatively rated.
Words like “first,” “need,” “hard,” and “myself” in resumes made it 79% less likely to achieve five-star ratings.
6) Make Relevant Sections
Organize the data into sections so that the recruiter can immediately find what they’re looking for.
Avoid sections with information irrelevant to the job like hobbies, personal interests, and languages (unless required).
Objectives can go either way. Some employers consider it your 30-second pitch while others deem it unnecessary. If your aim is too generic, then skip it and use that space for listing other accomplishments.
7) Word Count Over Page Count
Jacob Bollinger is a lead data scientist at Bright.com, an employment site with more than 2.5 million job listings.
In his research, he found that word count matters more than the number of pages. “The number of words affected recruiters in a bell curve manner.
So what’s the magic word count that keeps recruiters reading (aside from your work experience)? About 390 words per page,” said Bollinger.
It can be frustrating not to be able to give a live presentation of all the fantastic work you’ve done and can do to potential employers.
Instead, you count on your resume to shout out your experiences and achievements for you. It might be easy enough to list down all your work experiences and qualifications, but portraying your accomplishments in the right light can be a real head-scratcher.
For some, it can be challenging to distinguish accomplishments from their designated job duties. For others, it can be hard to narrow it down to a single sentence without losing its depth.
Accomplishments may be one of the essential sections on your resume. It's a proven record of what you have achieved and makes you stand out from the crowd.
We've penned down our favorite ways to include accomplishments in your resume to ensure that it is an instant winner.
8) Start The Sentence With Results
Typically, applicants lead the tales of their accomplishments with the situation or problem and ending it with how they beat the odds.
The thing is job recruiters don't have the time to read stories.
HR managers skim resumes in a matter of seconds. You need to have eye-catching sentences.
Start your sentences with impressive results to peak the readers' interest and end it with the challenge that got you started.
9) Differentiate Between Duty And Accomplishments
Do not waste precious space on describing duties associated with your job title.
HR manager won’t find that to be an accomplishment, but rather your duty. For example, listing ‘writing a weekly column’ for your local newspaper as an accomplishment would not be appropriate.
Instead, write about the time an article of yours went viral or was referenced in TIME magazine.
Highlight the results of the tasks you achieved, which were beyond expectations. Accomplishments describe how well you performed your duties. Sell yourself by putting your best foot forward.
10) Throw In Some Numbers
Believe it or not, numbers are what get HR managers talking.
Polish your accomplishments with figures, percentages, numbers, and facts. Make your results specific and stay away from generic, vague statements.
Write down figures for the number of people your task impacted, the percentage of the budget unused in meeting your goals, the number of satisfied clients you've had, and so on so forth.
A quantitative resume is easier to read, and the recruiter will better understand and comprehend the level of your accomplishment.
If you don't have the numbers for your tasks, then give approximate figures on the higher side. Not all kinds of work can be quantified. In those cases, focus more on keeping the accomplishment specific and not vague.
11) Be Brief
As I said before, recruiters aren’t looking to read stories.
They have limited time to go through hundreds of resumes and only give a few seconds to skim each resume over.
Bring it down to the bare essentials and contain it to one or two sentences at the maximum. Avoid making a wall of text.
People generally will avoid reading the entire passage and skim for specific keywords that they are looking for, ignoring everything else. The best approach is to use bullet points. It balances the resume’s white space and makes it easy to scan.
12) It’s The Ultimate Benefit That Matters
You need to demonstrate that you have the big picture in mind.
Alongside each accomplishment, write about how it benefited the organization or its clients.
If for example, you had arranged a Christmas party for your organization’s clients, write “organized Christmas party for Barclays premium clients to strengthen the bank-client relationship by creating a friendly atmosphere for future visits.”
That way, hiring managers will see that you are looking for ways to improve and develop the organization’s level of service. Companies desire this kind of commitment, as they want staff that is devoted to benefitting the organization in the long run.
13) Don’t Sell Yourself Short
No selling yourself short is the one place where it's perfectly fine to boast. Make a list of all the fantastic things you have accomplished in your career.
If you can't think of much, ask your peers and supervisor what your most prominent contributions to the office have been. Review your evaluation reports, and you might find something useful in there.
14) Tell the Truth
Always remember that if you lie one time, you will have to keep lying for the rest of your time in the company.
Besides that, don't be unethical; you will never regret to be honest about your abilities and skills. Doing this will help you keep expectations and goals in the right place.
Consider using these professional resume tips
Candidates that are shortlisted are selected because their resumes made an impression.
You too can make your resume stand out from the other applicants if you follow certain guidelines and avoid common mistakes.
Simple details such as using the right keywords, including accomplishments with numbers and limiting the size and number of words in your resume can be decisive for getting the proper attention.
These professional resume tips can give you a clear advantage against your competitors and help you land your next dream job.