Summer is a notoriously bad time to look for a new job. While job seekers may still have a new role on their mind, recruiters and hiring managers may not. After all, since it's the time of year many people take vacations, gathering the necessary people together to conduct in-person interviews is often tough. For this reason, many employers delay filling open jobs until September comes.
With one month of summer to go, job seekers who are chomping at the bit to get a new job shouldn’t despair. August is the perfect time to get organized and prepare the best resume you can write. Rather than throwing together application materials in a frenzy, take this time to learn how to write a resume that will catch the eye of a recruiter.
There is no one-size-fits-all way to write a resume that will get you a job this fall. However, these resume tips can help you get your document into tip-top shape so you can hit the ground running post-Labor Day.
1. Choose the best resume format.
Your field and experience level should determine the format you choose. The most popular resume format is a chronological format, which lists your work experience in reverse order, starting with the most recent. For job seekers with limited or no work experience, choosing a functional or hybrid resume format, both of which emphasize skills over work history, might be a better option. And should you need a helping hand with getting your resume off the ground, format and all, consider a resume builder.
2. Keep design elements to a minimum.
Design your resume using elements that won’t confuse an applicant tracking system (ATS). This includes choosing an easy-to-read font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, and eliminating any images or graphics.
3. Use standard headings for your resume sections.
You may be tempted to get creative, but sticking to clear headers, such as Skills, Work Experience, and Education, will make it easy for an ATS to collect the necessary information about your background.
4. Study the job ad and personalize your resume.
Taking the time to tailor your resume to each role to which you're applying is one of the most important resume tips to follow. Study the resume keywords in the ad and echo the language it uses exactly. Taking this step will ensure that you are emphasizing the skills that an employer is looking for and will make it more likely that your resume makes it past the ATS, which is programmed to look for these keywords.
5. Avoid including buzzwords and cliché phrases.
Over-used words and phrases won’t distinguish you from similarly qualified candidates. Find interesting adjectives to describe your skills and traits, rather than relying on generic terms like ‘team player.’
6. Write your resume in the first person.
However, never use ‘I’ or ‘my.’ This is one of the more common resume tips that job seekers fail to follow. For your current role, write your entry in the present tense. Entries about past work experience should be written in the past tense.
7. Use powerful action words and try to avoid repetition.
Using words like “led,” “responsible for,” or “managed” are boring. More eye-catching choices would be words like “executed,” “oversaw,” and “directed.”
8. Use data to quantify your professional accomplishments.
Putting resulst front and center is critical to showing employers what you will bring to the table. Adding data such as sales number, page views, or revenue earned (or saved) will do more to showcase your skills than a boring list of job responsibilities.
9. Brevity is key.
Abide by the rule of thumb that your resume should be one page per every decade of work experience. To keep your resume tight and focused, leave off any irrelevant work experience.
10. Avoid unconscious bias.
Accomplish this by leaving out information on your marital status, religious affiliation, political affiliation, date of birth, or age. Also, omit graduation dates as these will give recruiters a clue to your age.
11. Avoid spelling or grammar errors.
This is the easiest and most critical of all of our resume tips. Typos and grammatical errors are the easiest way to have your resume tossed on the ‘no’ pile. Review your document several times, run it through an online spelling and grammar check, and then ask an eagle-eyed friend to review it again.
LiveCareer has been helping job seekers write persuasive cover letters, develop better interview skills, and create resumes via its free resume builder since 2005. Check out its collection of free, professionally written resume templates and resume examples, all of which are organized by industry and job title.
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