13 tips to enhance your work resume

Career Advice
20 December 2017 | Career Advice | Guest Author

How many times have you heard someone preach the importance of having a good resume?

A lot of times I'm sure.

Your resume is usually the first impression that your potential employer will have of you and therefore you should aim to make it the best possible.

And since a typical recruiter spends only a few seconds skimming through each resume, it becomes imperative to have your resume grab his attention in those crucial few seconds and elaborate on those characteristics you want the recruiter to notice.

Ideally, a resume should contain relevant information that is tailored for a specific employer. In the sense that, you should never have a one-size-fits-all approach while writing your resume. For example, your experience as an Insurance Sales Executive won’t make much sense if you’re applying for the position of a Software Engineer.

Hence, it's always a good idea to customise your resume according to the job you’re applying for (you'll get the hang of it once you go through the useful tips given below).

A lot of candidates are baffled while writing their resume. Should I add an objective statement? What should be the font size? What do I add in the interests section?

The infographic below will give you a good idea about how a work resume should look like and what are the main points one should take care of.

To take this a further and help you out, we have compiled a list of 13 useful tips that’ll help you enhance your resume in 2017.


1) Have an effective layout

A typical recruiter has to go through hundreds of resumes everyday and in the span of few seconds has to decide whether to shortlist someone or not.

In the span of those few seconds, he skims through the entire resume looking for any relevant information that might make you look a good fit for the company.

Having a simple format which is easily skimmable will go a long way to increase one’s chances of getting shortlisted. Use bullet points and have proper subsections, big blocks of paragraphs are a strict no-no.

2) Font type and size

Arial is pretty much the go-to option when you want to write your resume. It looks clean and legible even when the font size is reduced. Besides Arial, you could also choose from Calibri, Garamond, Trebuchet MS, Georgia, and Helvetica for the same reasons.

When it comes to font size, the header should be sized between 20 and 22. The sub-headings should be between 12 and 14, while the main body can be between 10 and 12.

3) Add only professional contact details

Mention your phone number along with the country code and an email address on your resume. 

Refrain from including email address like CoolGuyAlbert@gmail.com in your resume. Instead make a professional email address that can be an alteration of your name. Something like AlbertHughes21@gmail.com would work fine.

Adding a link to your LinkedIn profile in resume is great, as long as your LinkedIn profile is up to date and helps the recruiter to learn more about you.

4) Leave out the objective statement

Let’s look at this objective statement.

'Results-driven application developer seeks opportunity to create innovative application development strategies that increase brand awareness, drive traffic, and monetize digital real estate.'

Does it tell you anything about the person’s strengths, skills or even past achievements?

Nope. Hence, it’s best to skip the objective statement. It tells the recruiter nothing about your skills & achievements and instead takes up valuable space that you could have used for adding relevant information. 

5) Mention only relevant work experience

Like discussed earlier, add only relevant work experience and refrain from crowding your resume with details that might not be important to the recruiter. Also, write down your experience in reverse chronological order with the most recent at the top.

For a person looking to make a career in Digital Marketing, it's best to leave out the job where you worked as a Bank Insurance Salesman. Instead, describe your recent and relevant work experience in a bit more detail by adding more bullet points to it. 

6) Quantify your bullet points

Adding numbers to quantify bullet points not only helps grab the recruiter's attention but also understand represented data better. 

Statement 1: Responsible for making a marketing plan for a new product and successfully launching it in the market.

Statement 2: Developed strategic marketing plan to introduce product into international and domestic markets, launch exceeded forecasts by 17%.

Both statements essentially mean the same thing. But Statement 2 tells a better story and represents data that the recruiter can relate to and skim easily.

7) Action words are important

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) process resumes submitted by applicants. When you submit your resume through an ATS, it stores your resume and an entry in the database. The recruiters then search for keywords for the particular job opening. If your resume contains the keywords the employer wants, then the ATS will rank you higher in the search results. The keyword searches by recruiters also include the skills and experiences specific to the particular job opening.

Action words are basically keywords that the recruiter is looking for while browsing through resumes. Imagine how boring it would be if all your bullet points start with 'Responsible for..'

Implementing words like 'Created, Developed, Evaluated, Audited, etc..' paints a better picture to the recruiter plus will help you rank higher on the ATS rankings.

For example,

Without action word: Responsible for inventory control and ordering products.

With action word: Optimized inventory by monitoring for product shortages and ensuring efficient service usage

8) Include educational achievements

Always list your educational qualifications after your work experience. Employers are more interested in the work that you have done than where you went to college. 

If you are a recent graduate, it's alright to list your education first followed by internships. 

Highlight achievements such as academic honors, club positions, etc which might be relevant to your future employer. If you got a scholarship or maybe done an online certification, be sure to mention that as well by adding bullet points.

9) Add only relevant skills

While it feels great to add all possible skills in the resume and let recruiter know that you know a lot of stuff, it usually backfires.

A recruiter is only looking for a specific set of skills and it’s usually mentioned in the job description. Go through the job description carefully, and include all those skills you possess, in your resume.

10) Interests, Volunteering, Awards

This is usually where many people go wrong.

Tailor your interests section according to your job profile. If your job requires you to be an outgoing and good team player, mentioning that you played Basketball at State level is a good option. Knitting, binge watching sitcoms, playing chess, etc is not.

Also, be sure to include any volunteering activities or awards (Workplace or otherwise) in your resume. Most companies look favourably upon employees who contribute in a positive way to the surrounding community and/or are overachievers.

For example, if you have received an award at work, it could look like this:

  • Awarded ‘Excellent at Innovation and Execution’ award for establishing large, high-performance IT teams; utilized available local resources & established cost savings worth 30%

11) Are you a polyglot?

Do you know more than 1 language? And what if you just know the basics? More importantly, should you include that in your resume?

The best way to include the languages you know, is by describing your level of proficiency in them. You can use 'native', 'basic', 'fluent' and 'intermediate' to describe how well you know the language.

For example: Spoken Languages: English (Native), Spanish (Fluent) & Hebrew (Basic) 

12) No grammatical errrors

Make sure your resume doesn’t contain any grammatical errors.

Some kinds of resume grammar mistakes are word choices, spelling errors, and punctuation errors. To make sure it doesn’t happen, have your resume proofread from another person.

Also, to craft a powerful resume, avoid passive language as much as possible. Write the resume using active voice.

For example:

Passive voice: Selected as interim supervisor for 12–15 employees. (i.e., Somebody else did the selecting)

Active voice: Managed 12–15 employees as summer interim supervisor. (i.e., The candidate did the managing)

Even though both sentences basically mean the same thing, the active voice statement makes the candidate look good.

13) Proof read!

The importance of getting your resume proofread can’t be stressed enough!

Go through your resume at least twice and look for any errors. Once satisfied, have your friends and family take a look it to ensure there are no errors that you might have missed in the first place.

Conclusion

With a typical recruiter spending only a few seconds going through your resume, the importance of a good resume cannot be debated.

Having a good resume is sure to create that good first impression on him or her and turn the odds in your favor.

Following these above-mentioned 14 tips to create the perfect resume will substantially increase your chances of getting closer to your dream job. 

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