Do you remember the days when resumes were simple black and white typed out sheets that you handed out to prospective employers in person? Those days have certainly gone, but we still need to have a well-crafted resume to be able to stand out in the modern job market.
A good resume may still be quite dry – not exactly what you would call sexy – but we still need to have something that our potential employers will find interesting. OK, there are lots of resume templates available on the internet, some for free and some that come with a small charge, which are good to use as a base if you so wish, but to make them work properly you have to make them more appealing and biased towards those who are doing the hiring.
What to think about before creating your resume
Your resume is a reflection of you, so just like you it should be smart, confident, honest and open. You should be proud of your accomplishments so these should be well summarized without making you come across as self-absorbed.
You also want to be taken seriously by your prospective employer, so always remember to list a clear and professional looking contact email address rather than a silly personal one – there is nothing worse than a dreadful email address for creating the wrong first impression with your resume! Which prospective employer would be happy to email ‘Binkyboo.firstname.lastname@example.org’?
Be careful not to over-share
There are occasions where it is OK to bend the rules when drawing up your resume, but certainly not break them. If you have a good reason to bend the rules by including unrelated information on your resume because the position you are applying for needs a bit more personality than your average job, and you think your potential employer needs to know more about you as an individual, then include it. However, try not to go over the top with your information as you have to remember that your resume is only the first part of your job application. Your resume can open the door to an interview, but you will want to keep a little something back about yourself to impress them in person.
The importance of presentation
Try to steer clear of graphical resumes wherever possible. Including images and useless graphics can make your document particularly difficult to read, and you will end up sacrificing crucial content for pretty pictures that take up more space, and will be off putting to potential employers who are doing a first quick scan-through of your resume.
A good resume format to follow:
Here is a list of what you should consider including on your resume and why these are important to your potential employer reading it for the first time.
- Neat, well defined columns: Including columns in your resume will make it easier for your potential employer to skim through your information quickly and locate the key points or requirements for the job that they are looking for.
- Keep your information short and sweet: Most potential employers will only spend about 30 seconds skimming through your resume before deciding to place you in the ‘interview’ pile or the ‘reject’ pile. 30 seconds is far too short a time to be able to digest a whole page of wordy content, so this is why condensing your information down is a good idea. A resume that is too long can act to dilute the information you give. You can list the main points of your job experience or qualifications to get the message across, but leave the in-depth descriptions for your job interview when you will have time to go into more detail.
- Use bullet points: Bulleted information is far more pleasing than trying to read long blocks of texts. You really only have about 10 or 15 seconds to make a good impression and capture the attention of the reader, so remember that long blocks of text will not be read in the first instance and will be skipped passed by the reader in search of more condensed information.
- Remember to use appropriate fonts: First impressions count, so don’t confuse your potential employer by mixing fonts on your resume or choosing a font that may look artistic, but is in fact really hard to read. There is no harm in using bold, italics and headline fonts to help separate and organise your layout, and this can often make it easier for potential employers to navigate your resume.
Don’t forget the cover letter!
Crafting a well thought out and appealing resume is one thing, but remember to put in a little effort to include a cover letter. A well-written cover letter addressed to each potential employer that you contact is not only courteous, but you can use it to outline why you would be a good match for the job you are applying for.
Cover letters can also convey to an employer why you are qualified for the job and why you are worth considering if you are new to the job market and therefore may lack the years of experience that they are looking for in a candidate.
All in all, your resume should be short and sweet – a condensed history of you. Make it easy to read.
Featured photo credit: unsplash.com