A good resume is your one chance to get your foot in the door and capture the interest of potential employers. A well-written resume has many benefits, even if you’re not searching for a job. Having the right professional resume tips will make you stand out from the crowd and last this 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 excellent professional resume tips from 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 excellent 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, you must keep your resume confined to a single page.
2) Blank Space Matters
Balance your blank space. Do not fill 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 using 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, including your phone number, complete 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 headers might be acceptable, but only if you hand 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 are 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, and 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 is no surprise that job selection has also begun relying on codes and algorithms.
Specific companies have online recruitment tools, or ATS systems, to filter out job applications based on keywords defining their search.
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.
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 the recruiter can find what they’re looking for immediately.
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, skip it and use that space to list other accomplishments.
7) Word Count Over Page Count
Jacob Bollinger is a lead data scientist at Bright.com, an employment site with over 2.5 million job listings.
His research 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 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 to list 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. Narrowing it down to a single sentence without losing its depth can be challenging for others.
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 noted our favorite ways to include accomplishments in your resume to ensure it is an instant winner.
8) Start The Sentence With Results
Typically, applicants tell their accomplishments with the situation or problem and end 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.
Begin with a compelling statement of the outcomes achieved, capture readers’ attention, and conclude with the willingness that initiated the challenge.
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 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 unused budget in meeting your goals, the number of satisfied clients you’ve had, and so on.
A quantitative resume is easier to read, and the recruiter will better understand and comprehend your accomplishment level.
If you don’t have the numbers for your tasks, give approximate figures on the higher side. You cannot quantify not all kinds of work. 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 review hundreds of resumes and only give a few seconds to skim each resume.
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 they are looking for, ignoring everything else. The best approach is to use bullet points since 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 devoted to benefiting the organization in the long run.
13) Don’t Sell Yourself Short
No, selling yourself short is where it’s excellent to boast. List all the fantastic things you have accomplished in your career.
If you can’t think of much, ask your peers and supervisor about your most prominent contributions to the office. Review your evaluation reports, and you might find something useful 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 being 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 specific 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 competitors and help you land your next dream job.
If you want to learn more about job interviews, check our topics below:
- Preliminary Interview: Meaning, Purpose, And Tips To Ace It
- What Is A Working Interview And How To Outperform In One?
- What are Formal And Informal Interviews? How to succeed?
- Remote Interview: 14 Tips For a Successful Interview
- Interview Outfits: What To Wear For a Successful Interview
- What Are Open Interviews? 10 Ways To Ace Them
- Types Of Interviews And Ways To Ace Them
- 10 Indispensable Tips For a Successful Job Interview
Christian has over ten years of experience in marketing agencies. Currently, he has been dedicating his time to a tech startup and also writing for major publications. He loves podcasts and reading to keep up with the latest trends in marketing.