You need a killer resume, make sure its ready for the job you want.

1. Find a Professional Font

As fun as it might look on the page, now is not the time to use weird fonts. Unless you are working in a creative field where you should be showing off your style, stick to something classic. Times New Roman is great go-to, or try a serif font with a little more individuality, like Book Antiqua or Lucida Bright.

2. Put the Good Stuff First

The real secret to a good resume is focusing your reader’s attention. In an ideal world, recruiters would read every word on your resume. In reality, that rarely happens. I’ve screened hundreds of resumes, and though I’m more meticulous than most, I’ve been surprised by how many I nearly tossed, only to find something truly interesting buried at the bottom of the page.

Also, the biggest mistake is to use chronological order. Why lead with “Babysitter in High School” when you could lead with “Strategic Planning Analyst?” Even reverse chronological order (which is more common) may not give you the flexibility you want to highlight your best and most relevant accomplishments.

3. Be Specific

You increased recruiting? Give us the percent increase. You raised money for charity? Tell us how much you raised! This can turn average-looking experiences into impressive head-turners and help distinguish you from other candidates. The flip-side of that is that specifics can also make some accomplishments look worse. If you only raised $150, you might want to think twice before including that—it’s unlikely to impress a billion dollar company.

Hint: This is true of your classes as well. Mentioning relevant coursework can help catch a recruiter’s eye.

4. Vary Your Verbs

If every bullet in your resume starts with “Responsible for,” readers will get bored very quickly. This handy list should give you a starting point.

5. Make Every Word Count

Unless you’re a tenured professor who needs to list every book and article you’ve ever published, your resume should be one page. While this limits the space you have to share your experience, think of it as a blessing in disguise: It forces you to focus.

You don’t need an equal number of bullets under each experience. You should be spending more words on your most impressive set of experiences. Moreover, if a job isn’t relevant anymore, take it out! You don’t need to prove that you’ve been employed since 1997.

Can’t make things fit on one page? Keep cutting it down. You can play with margins and font sizes a bit if necessary—but don’t overdo it. The point is to choose the right experiences, not squish them in. Plus, a dense resume is harder to read. And the harder your resume is to read, the more likely people will just skim it.

Hint: You can make the font size of the spacing between text smaller without losing legibility

6. Proofread

Grammar or spelling errors in a resume can be the difference between the “keep” pile and the “trash” pile. At best, you look sloppy. Enough said.

7. PDF, PDF, PDF

This one is simple: PDFs look the same on any computer. Word documents, on the other hand, can show up with wacky formatting or spill onto a second page if opened with a different version of Word or on a PC vs. a Mac. Make sure companies see what you wanted them to see.

Self-Assessment

Start With Self-Assessment

Taking stock of your interests, career values, skills, and personality traits can help you formulate your own criteria for a desirable career.

  • Consider a Coach. Meeting with a career advisor or counselor at your school, college, or in your community can help you reflect on your background and identify the cornerstones for your future career. You can always call us at Career Paths NW and we can help with coaching and mentoring.
  • Create a Career Profile. If you would rather proceed on your own, start by reviewing your academic and work history. Which courses, projects, jobs, internships, and volunteer roles were most satisfying and successful for you? Make a list of the activities that were most energizing, and where you had the greatest impact. Check our other resources for blog article and tips to help you build your profile.
  • Which are Your Top Skills? Ask yourself which skills enabled you to achieve that success. Then, consider which interests or values made the work meaningful or stimulating. Make a list of the strong skills that you also enjoyed using. Itemize any of your personality characteristics that made the activities feel natural for you.

Creating a comprehensive assessment like this is a solid foundation that you can use to hone in on what type of career fits your personal interests and professional strengths.

Read the rest of the Career Goals Articles

Soft Skills are not just Resume Fluff…

 Unlike technical hard skills, soft skills can translate across multiple industries. This is great news for someone looking to make a career transition or looking to fit into a new company/group. Here are some skills that you can leverage both when you are looking for a job and also when you need to excel in your new position.
  • Communication: Whether written, verbal, or non-verbal, good communication is key at any job.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Interpersonal skills allow an employee to relate to, communicate with, and work alongside others.
  • Adaptability:  The ability to go with the flow, roll with the punches, and embrace change as it comes.
  • Problem-Solving: A set of skills that can be used in difficult, unexpected, or complicated matters that arise in the workplace.
  • Leadership: Ability to guide others while reaching for the goals and mission of your organization on the whole.
  • Organization: Organizational skills are important to offset any potential problems, to make sure you can adhere to project deadlines, and to keep clear communication open.
  • Time Management: Time management is your ability to work smart.
  • Creativity: Real creativity comes in handy at any workplace—whether in problem-solving, forging new directions, or developing new solutions to old problems.
  • Emotional Intelligence: Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, is as simple as how you treat a server at a restaurant and as complex as how you navigate working with a particularly difficult coworker.
  • Work Ethic:  Without a good work ethic, your soft skills don’t serve anything without having a solid work ethic.

Miscellaneous Resume Tip’s

Ditch “References Available Upon Request”

If a hiring manager is interested in you, he or she will ask you for references—and will assume that you have them. There’s no need to address the obvious (and doing so might even make you look a little presumptuous!).

Proofread, Proofread, Proofread

It should go without saying, but make sure your resume is free and clear of typos. And don’t rely on spell check and grammar check alone—ask family or friends to take a look at it for you, or come to Career Paths NW and our experienced recruiters can help you with your resume.

Save it as a PDF

If emailing your resume, make sure to always send a PDF rather than a .doc. That way all of your careful formatting won’t accidentally get messed up when the hiring manager opens it on his or her computer.

Name Your File Smartly

Ready to save your resume and send it off? Save it as “Jane Doe Resume” instead of “Resume.” It’s one less step the hiring manager has to take.

Constantly Refresh It

Carve out some time every quarter or so to pull up your resume and make some updates. Have you taken on new responsibilities? Learned new skills? Add them in. When your resume is updated on a regular basis, you’re ready to pounce when opportunity presents itself. And, even if you’re not job searching, there are plenty of good reasons to keep this document in tip-top shape.

How to add Education to your resume

Experience First, Education Second

Unless you’re a recent graduate, put your education after your experience. Chances are, your last couple of jobs are more important and relevant to you getting the job than where you went to college.

Also Keep it Reverse Chronological…

Usually, you should lay down your educational background by listing the most recent or advanced degree first, working in reverse chronological order. But if older coursework is more specific to the job, list that first to grab the reviewer’s attention.

But Skip the Dates

Don’t list your graduation dates. The reviewer cares more about whether or not you have the degree than when you earned it.

Highlight Honors, Not GPA

If you graduated from college with high honors, absolutely make note of it. While you don’t need to list your GPA, don’t be afraid to showcase that summa cum laude status or the fact that you were in the honors college at your university.

Include Continuing or Online Education

Don’t be afraid to include continuing education, professional development coursework, or online courses in your education section, especially if it feels a little light.  “Online courses are a more-than-accepted norm nowadays, and your participation in them can actually show your determination and motivation to get the skills you need for your career.”

Keywords Matter

If you are wondering what recruiters see when they glance through your resume,

Here is a quick and easy way to see which keywords are most present on your resume—using a word cloud app. It’s simple: You paste your resume into a word cloud generator like TagCrowd, and the app will create an image representing the most common words, with more common ones showing up larger and darker. With a quick glance, you’ll be able to see what terms the employer will most associate with you—and whether you need to do some adjusting to your resume to have the right terms stand out more.

http://www.tagcrowd.com

12 changes to make your resume easy to read

1. Don’t Center Any of Your Text

Even your section headings should be aligned to the left. This improves readability because the eye naturally returns to the left margin once it’s ready to move on to the next line of text.

2. Align Your Dates and Locations to the Right

You can only fit so much different information (company name, job title, location, dates of employment) on one line of text before it gets unwieldy. To help separate out your information, make a separate column for dates and locations that is right adjusted. On most word processors, you should be able to just create a right-tab.

3. Don’t Justify Your Resume

Overall, using a justified setting for your bullets may make your resume look tidier, but it does nothing for readability. This setting leaves uneven gaps between words that ultimately make text harder to read, so for your bullets and resume overall, stick with regular ol’ left alignment.

4. Keep Everything the Same Size Font

Aside from your name, which should be a little bigger, the font size throughout your resume should be the same size to ensure readability. Rather than using font size for emphasis throughout your resume, use bolding, italics, and all-caps—sparingly, of course.

5. Pick Either Your Roles or Your Companies to Bold

Bolding of select words and phrases helps with scanning, but you don’t want to go overboard. So choose what to bold wisely, depending on the message you want to send. If your job titles effectively illustrate your path to management-level roles, bolding those might make the most sense. On the other hand, if you’re a new grad and most of your experiences are internships, you might benefit more from emphasizing the companies on your resume.

6. Use ALL-CAPS Very Sparingly

While it is an option for creating emphasis, all-caps is a lot harder to read and therefore harder to skim than text that isn’t capitalized. Save your all-caps option for section headings or your name.

7. Maximize the First 5 Words of Your Bullets

When skimming a resume, a recruiter is very likely going to be reading the first few words of a bullet, then moving on to the next line unless his or her interest is piqued. This means those first few words of your bullets are much more important than the rest. Make sure the first five words of each line make the reader want to keep reading. (Need help? These power verbs will make your resume awesome.)

8. Keep Bullets Under 2 Lines

Even if your first few words are the most interesting thing your recruiter has ever read, going over two lines per bullet is pushing it a bit. Try to keep your bullets short and sweet. (And yes, you should always use bullets, not paragraphs, to describe your experiences.)

9. Use Digits When Writing About Numbers

Using numbers in your bullet points quantifies results and helps recruiters better understand the scope of your work. (Here’s how to do it well.) Make these numbers easy to read by using digits (i.e., 30% versus thirty percent). It improves readability and—bonus—saves space.

10. Have a Separate “Skills” Section

Just to really drive the point home, piling up all your relevant skills into one section helps ensure that the recruiter sees them. You should still highlight your skills in the context of your work, but pulling them out into their own section doesn’t hurt.

11. Keep Your Resume Formatting Consistent

People can get pretty creative when they’re trying to fit all their relevant work experience into one page. That’s fine, but make sure that however you decide to do it, you keep your formatting the same throughout the document. Consistency helps with skimming, and if the recruiter wants to refer back to something, he or she will know where to look.

12. Try to Have Some White Space Left Over

Lastly, having some breathing room on your resume also helps with skimming. Different amounts of white space can signal to the reader that this is a different section or help emphasize the importance of something, such as your name or skills. And overall, it just makes the whole document less overwhelming.

Having your resume skimmed is a fact of life as you apply for jobs. So, make sure you maximize the experience and make it as easy as possible for the recruiter to find the right information—and send you along to the next step of the process.

Does your resume do its job?

A resume is a marketing document, not a legal document. It needs to showcase you. You are so much more than a collection of skills and educational attainments!

Right now, your resume is not doing its job for you because there is so little of you in it. You can easily power up your resume. Right now, your resume’s problem is that it is too timid and too wan. It sounds like anybody’s resume, or nobody’s. The biggest mistake most people make when they write their resumes is that they fall into a Mad Libs style of writing. They write in the traditional business language. You’ve seen it before. It looks like this:

Results-oriented Marketing professional with a bottom-line orientation, eager for a new challenge that will allow me to make a significant contribution to the bottom line.

This is garbage language that could never do you justice and will never entice anyone to get to know you better.

Let’s try the opening paragraph (the Summary) of your resume again:

I’m a healthcare Marketer with a passion for supporting the sales process through traditional and online marketing efforts. At XYZ I helped the company grow from $2M in annual sales to $20M in four years.

Use the word “I” in your resume. You are the subject of your resume! Tell your story. Tell us what you do well and what you like to do. That’s how your competence, intelligence and confidence will come across on the page! Go through your resume and highlight all the traditional verbiage you find. Then, work your way through your resume replacing this boring made-up language with normal human speech. Don’t list your tasks and duties from previous jobs. Tell us what you left in your wake in each job, instead!

Hiring managers want to see a living, breathing person in a resume — not a thicket of boring robot language that brands you as a boring robot person.  You are anything but that! Come out from behind that robotic persona and be yourself in your resume.

Not every hiring manager will appreciate it, but so what? You only need one hiring manager to get you — and therefore deserve you on their team.

What to put in your Resume in 2019

1. Don’t Put Everything on There

Your resume should not have every work experience you’ve ever had listed on it. Think of your resume not as a comprehensive list of your career history, but as a marketing document selling you as the perfect person for the job. For each resume you send out, you’ll want to highlight only the accomplishments and skills that are most relevant to the job at hand (even if that means you don’t include all of your experience).

2. But Keep a Master List of All Jobs

Since you’ll want to be swapping different information in and out depending on the job you’re applying to, keep a resume master list on your computer where you keep any information you’ve ever included on a resume: old positions, bullet points tailored for different applications, special projects that only sometimes make sense to include. Then, when you’re crafting each resume, it’s just a matter of cutting and pasting relevant information together. Think of this as your brag file.

3. Put the Best Stuff “Above the Fold”

In marketing speak, “above the fold” refers to what you see on the front half of a folded newspaper (or, in the digital age, before you scroll down on a website), but basically it’s your first impression of a document. In resume speak, it means you should make sure your best experiences and accomplishments are visible on the top third of your resume. This top section is what the hiring manager is going to see first—and what will serve as a hook for someone to keep on reading. So focus on putting your best, most relevant experiences first—and then check out these five other marketing tricks to get your resume noticed.

Resume Do’s and Don’ts

When you haven’t updated your resume in a while, it can be hard to know where to start. What experiences and accomplishments should you include for the jobs you’ve got your eye on? What new resume rules and trends should you be following? And seriously, one page or two?

Don’t Put Everything on There

Your resume should not have every work experience you’ve ever had listed on it. Think of your resume not as a comprehensive list of your career history, but as a marketing document selling you as the perfect person for the job. For each resume you send out, you’ll want to highlight only the accomplishments and skills that are most relevant to the job at hand (even if that means you don’t include all of your experience).

But Keep a Master List of All Jobs

Since you’ll want to be swapping different information in and out depending on the job you’re applying to, keep a resume master list on your computer where you keep any information you’ve ever included on a resume: old positions, bullet points tailored for different applications, special projects that only sometimes make sense to include. Then, when you’re crafting each resume, it’s just a matter of cutting and pasting relevant information together

Put the Best Stuff “Above the Fold”

In marketing speak, “above the fold” refers to what you see on the front half of a folded newspaper (or, in the digital age, before you scroll down on a website), but basically it’s your first impression of a document. In resume speak, it means you should make sure your best experiences and accomplishments are visible on the top third of your resume. This top section is what the hiring manager is going to see first—and what will serve as a hook for someone to keep on reading. So focus on putting your best, most relevant experiences first.