We recently hired two new people at Wealthbuilders and Tricord Global, and because of that, resume writing has been on my mind. When you put out a job posting, you get flooded with responses. You have to be firm to get through them all! And one of the best ways to do that is to be aggressive in your resume reading. Here’s some tips I would give people turning in resumes.

  1. Keep it relevant. When you apply for a job and turn in your resume, think about the fact that they are going to give your resume maybe 15 seconds, maybe a minute. What do you want them to know in those 15 seconds? Organize your resume so that this information stands out. The employer doesn’t need to know about every volunteer activity you’ve had since you graduated high school. Instead, they’re interested in the items that are relevant to the job. If you’re new on the market, that’s another issue. You might not have relevant experience yet. If that’s the case, make sure you put down everything you can and describe ways in which your experience may apply. For example, if you worked as a waiter and are applying for a customer service job, then it’s fair to say that you have experience handling customer complaints.
  2. Keep it clean. Remember that this is the first impression that employer is getting of you. Your resume represents your level of interest in the job and your ability to do the job well. If you have typos or format issues, that tells the potential employer two things. One, you don’t care about the job enough to really put your best foot forward. Two, if you are sloppy in the beginning, maybe you’ll be a sloppy employee. Blatant errors will get your resume tossed out.
  3. Keep it concise. Your potential employer doesn’t want to read about the ten things you did for every job you’ve had since the 1980’s. They don’t want to know about every single volunteer organization you’ve been with. Part of keeping it relevant is keeping the whole resume concise. The interview is where they can dig deeper into particular aspects of your resume. Keep your resume at one or two pages. And if you have to go onto that second page, make it worth it! Don’t use only a third of the page. Instead, try using a lot more white space overall and sectioning off the two pages well. You should only use the second page, though, if you have a decent amount of relevant experience that isn’t all redundant. Prioritize. If you’ve worked the same exact job title at three different companies, choose the one that’s most recent or that at which you spent the most time.
  4. Make your resume visually scannable. Don’t be afraid to get a little bit creative with your resume. Experiment with some different fonts and try creating interesting sections. Experiment with different ways of creating boxes and white space. Make it so that each section of your resume stands out as a separate section. This helps the employer read through easily and get to the information they find most important. Make sure that when you, and more importantly your potential employer, look at this resume it’s not an overwhelming blob of text. Instead, keep it clean. Utilize text boxes, margins, indents, bold and italicized text, and maybe even subtle hints of deep colors to help your resume stand out.
  5. Write from the perspective of your potential employer. Remember, your resume is not for you. It’s for your employer. So instead of writing your resume from the viewpoint of “I want this job because it will help me…” write from their viewpoint. Switch those sentences to “I want this job because I can help you…” It’s a slight nuance, but a major one. Think carefully about your timeline. Your resume should cover the last four or five years. If you’ve only held one position in that time, then you can go back more than that. Or if you happen to have something really stellar in your past, then go ahead and include that. Be wary of large gaps of time and lots of hopping around. It doesn’t bode well for a new employer if you’ve been switching jobs every six months. This makes them wonder how long you’ll stick around with them. They’ll also wonder why you have a gap between 2012-2013. Try to get in that employer’s head and ask the questions they might ask when they see your resume.

I hope this helps you out in the job field. Remember, get inside that employer’s head and keep it relevant, clean and concise!

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