Ever notice how job listings often ask for ‘detail-oriented’ applicants? Well, you can tell your potential new bosses that you have the kind of diligence they are after, or you can demonstrate your work ethic by presenting a resume so professional that anyone reading it will see that care in practice. A professional resume will make a significant difference in the time spent searching for a job and a number of interviews secured.
Here in the 21st century, when the majority of the application process is online, your resume is the first impression you’ll make on a future employer—so how can you tell if yours is good enough? By treating it like a work project: plan and execute with thoughtful attention to detail. Take the time, and, if necessary, invest the money to ensure your resume is accurate, professional and thoroughly proofread. It’s worth the effort to ensure you’re remembered for all the right reasons.
Tailor Your Resume to Match the Position You’re Applying For
Slight variations in the descriptions of your previous jobs and the wording of your professional skills will make your resume stand out to different employers. And tell the truth—remember that you must be able to deliver on everything promised (e.g. don’t say you know Photoshop when you have used it once) and take the time to explain, concisely, how your skills will benefit the employer’s company.
Use Effective Titles and Bullet Points
Clearly divide your resume into sections including contact information, education, and job history. Use bullet points to list schools, positions, and job descriptions for easy reference and reading. Double check the formatting before sending, keeping in mind that sometimes paragraph indents can shift when a file is converted (if you write using Pages, but convert the document to Word before sending, there may be formatting errors.)
Keep it Short
Your resume should not exceed two pages. Avoid irrelevant information such as your religion, political party, or high school work experience (unless it’s applicable to the position you’re applying for). Focus on the job you’re applying for: relevant experience and reasons why you’ll benefit the company.
Keep your resume professional by avoiding excessive use of graphics, bright-colored ink, and using cheap paper. Invest in quality resume paper, and standard blue or black ink. Even though your applications may be mostly sent via email, it’s smart to keep a few copies on hand at all times—you never know who you might run into.
Include All Relevant Contact Information
Your name, address, phone number, and email should be clearly and prominently displayed at the top of the page. A note on emails: if you’ve had yours since high school and it includes nicknames or slang, it’s time to upgrade to something simple and professional (like your first and last names followed by a number). Include your contact information on both pages of your resume, in case the pages separate when the prospective employer prints or copies them.
Keep it Current
Ensure your resume is regularly updated with new information, job experiences, internships, and opportunities. Present your best self.