Did you send out a black and white Word document listing every job since you were 10? Is it all crammed together with most of it done in 8-point or smaller font? Have you used so many buzzwords and so much industry jargon that they have no idea what you are saying? Does it look like something your dad sent out in 1971?
You have to make your resume enjoyable to read. Give it some white space. Choose a layout that helps people know what is most important about you, by helping them focus on key areas. Use color (where appropriate) to highlight key areas you want to be sure a recruiter doesn’t miss. If all parts of your resume are given equal visual weight, your reader doesn’t know where to look. Help them out through using good design.
Keep it clean, visually interesting, and help your reader “see” what is most important. Be careful to not make it too busy as well. It needs to be a perfect balance. If you aren’t sure, hand it to a close friend who will give you a very honest opinion. If you question their opinion, look at their body language. If they aren’t eager to tell you that you did a good job, you better go back to the drawing board.
Your objective is always the same: “To Get a Job.” Anything else that you put is just a big pile of BS. I have not found one person who has gotten their job because they had a beautifully written objective.
Replace it instead with a professional statement. This is a really modern way to tell employers who you are and what you can do for them. A professional statement is a statement of what you as a professional believe to be true about yourself; the ideology and values you hold. And how you will bring those to your next job.
Recently, I have seen way too many resumes come to me that are so jam-packed full of keywords that I have no idea what the person is trying to say. Or what their skills really are.
Most people have been told by the “industry” that keywords are important for company searches. Well, here is a newsflash: Computers don’t hire people, people do! Only 15% of the job force has found their job through applying online and this number includes hourly workers at places like McDonalds and Starbucks. So quit creating a resume for the computers and start creating them for humans.
When you are choosing keywords that you want to naturally appear in your resume, be sure to include only the skills and values that you want to be using in your next job. Why advertise yourself as someone who is analytical and detail-oriented, if you really are visionary and a free thinker?
This is personal pet peeve of mine. I cringe every time I see advice that recommends that pictures, hobbies, and passions aren’t relevant to a resume.
I personally don’t want to work for a company that wants me to leave myself at the door. I am a whole person, and I want companies to want me as a whole person. Go for it! Share who you are, let them get to know you.
Note: This is not the place to share crazy exploits or how good you are at beer pong, but rather to let your potential employer start to know you for the diverse, well-rounded person that you are.
I know I talked about this in the first point, but it is so important I want to come around to it again.
Your resume is often the first official communication between you and a potential employer. In today’s world, great written communication is more important than ever.
Show potential employers that you know how to prioritize. Only put things on your resume that you love or are passionate about. Who cares if you can unload more boxes than anyone else, especially if you hate unloading boxes and don’t ever want to do it again.
More is not better.
Less is more.