Writing your resume is one of the most stressful and difficult things you can do when you’re looking for a job. It’s difficult to write about yourself, and even more difficult to read employers’ minds about what they’re looking for. Here are a few tips that may help.
Make it easy to read.
One of the biggest complaints from HR reps is that resumes are difficult to read because the font is small or light. This is not the place for fancy script fonts or blue letters. Keep it black and at least 12 point. Good fonts include Arial and Verdana.
Be sure to include space in between paragraphs whenever possible. If the person reading your resume perceives the page as too busy, he or she will toss your hard work into the trash. Ask your partner or a neighbor if your resume is easy to read.
Don’t use the same old objective for every company you send a resume to. Make it fit the job you’re looking for. If you used the requested skills two jobs ago, see about using a functional resume instead of a chronological one.
Every job posting has keywords the company wants to see on resumes. Many employers will scan the resume for keywords, and if they don’t see any, guess where your resume lands. Use the keywords in the cover letter, the objective, and throughout the body of the resume.
Quantify everything, and use action verbs.
It’s no longer enough to say, “Supervised several employees in agile projects.” You need to be much more specific. Something like “Supervised 15 employees through 25 XP iterations for one year for a medical device manufacturer” puts numbers to your words and gives the resume reviewer a better idea of your qualifications.
Never, ever say “Responsible for,” as that is weak. Use an action verb, such as developed, supervised, and sold.
Pay attention to the small stuff.
Use spell check. Have at least two people read your resume for errors and flow. Make sure the action verbs for your current job are present tense and those for previous jobs are past tense. Don’t use anything cutesy at all. No fun paper, no abbreviations no matter how widespread, no decals, nothing but professional writing and paper.
What suggestions do you have for writing an effective resume?