If you’re in the market for the top resume tips, no doubt you want a resume that outshines your competitors and helps you land the job you want. You also want this task to be easy!
Don’t worry – the following tips will help you accomplish both of those objectives. You can also check out these online resume examples to download for a little extra inspiration.
According to the University of Texas at Austin, writing a good resume can be accomplished when you apply these five tips: (1) be strategic, (2) keep it consistent, (3) include a variety of experiences, (4) think like an employer, and (5) keep it visually balanced. We’ll examine each of these aspects in more detail below.
Tip No. 1 – Strategize
UT Austin further states, “Your resume isn’t a list of everything you’ve ever done.” Contrary to what you may have been taught, you don’t have to list every job you’ve ever had. In fact, it is best to leave a few things out so that your resume fits comfortably on just one page.
How, then, can you decide what to include and what to discard? This is where strategy comes into play. Think about the job you are applying to. What experiences most relate to this career field or necessary qualities listed in the job description? What past experiences demonstrate important transferable skills? Create a personalized resume for each position you apply to.
Tip No. 2 – Consistency Is Key
Giving your resume a consistent, error-free layout denotes professionalism. Make consistent formatting choices throughout the document. For example, your headings should all have the same font and font size.
Also, make sure the information you include and the order in which you list it follow the same format every time. For example, if you list the months and years you worked at one job, you should do so on all your jobs. If the dates came after the position title, organization name, and location, the information should follow this same order every time.
Using an online resume builder can help you to achieve these objectives. You’ll simply type in your information, and let technology do the rest.
At the outset of this section, we mentioned that your document should be error-free. Don’t forget to proofread it. Take advantage of free proofreading software like Grammarly.
Tip No. 3 – Variety Is the Spice of Life
Especially if your previous paid employment doesn’t relate directly to the job you are applying for, look for transferable skills in other aspects of your life. Did you learn essential leadership skills while volunteering? Did your video game hobby lead you to acquire coding skills? You can list diverse experiences such as these under appropriate resume sections.
Tip No. 4 – Think Like a Boss
When your hiring manager looks at your resume, your document has less than 10 seconds to make the right impression. Make sure your resume includes keywords from the job listing. This will help it to pass the applicant tracking system (ATS) software.
Your resume should also highlight your best qualities. Your employer should be able to quickly see how your experience and abilities relate to the job at hand.
Additionally, you should carefully consider whether your resume has anything the employer might view negatively. For example, including a photo or unnecessary personal information can cause your resume to be discarded due to discrimination laws.
On the other hand, DO include information that aligns with the company’s mission and values. For example, it can be difficult for women or minorities to break into leadership roles in certain industries. If the company is dedicated to increasing diversity, you can discreetly assert that you are, too – perhaps by including volunteer work or membership in certain professional or activist organizations.
Tip No. 5 – Readability
We’ve already discussed the fact that your formatting should be consistent. It should also be readable and visually balanced. How so?
Consider your font. Any text smaller than 10 points may be too hard to read, while anything larger than 12 may look absurd. Additionally, you should select simple serif or sans-serif fonts like Times New Roman, Garamond, Arial, or Calibri. Avoid fanciful, fancy, or “creative” font styles, as these are often difficult to decipher.
You should also strive to balance black and white space, that is, text and empty space. Your resume should not look like a solid wall of text, nor should it feel empty. You can use simple graphic designs or blocks of color to highlight and separate various parts of the resume, but keep icons to a minimum. Try printing it in black and white to make sure everything remains readable. Don’t include photos or non-informative clipart.
Finally, save your document in PDF format. This will ensure your formatting remains no matter what program is used to view the document.