You only get one chance to make a first impression. When applying for jobs, that first impression is your resume. You could have solid skills and experience but having a rusty resume will give your application a one-way ticket to the resume graveyard better known as the recycle bin. R.I.P.
Luckily, you can avoid a premature career death by following these simple but effective resume writing tips.
Highlight your accomplishments, not your responsibilities
When talking about your work experience, it’s better to list what you achieved in your position, not a list of your daily tasks. “Improved methods for data collection” is far more powerful than, “created spreadsheets and graphs.” Show what you’re capable of, not just that you can do the minimum required. If you can, take if a step further and include the results of your efforts. “Improved methods for data collection that decreased production time by 20%.” This will highlight your abilities and show that you are results oriented.
Include the right keywords
When applying to a position, find and use the same key words used in the job description in your resume. For example, if the job description calls for a candidate with strong organizational skills, you should make sure strong organizational skills is listed in the skills section of your resume. Copy and paste is your friend here. This is especially important as more and more companies are using various forms of technology to help them with their hiring. Before your resume even reaches the hiring manager, it could be stopped in its tracks because an automated system has filtered it out for lack of specific key words that match the job description.
Think of each resume like the outfits in your closet. You chose and own each one. Each one says something about the person you are and your style. Each one has an appropriate time and place for wearing. Just like your outfits, there is no one-size-fits-all for your resume. You should be tailoring and optimizing your resume for each of the positions you’re applying for. This will ensure that your resume includes the right keywords, highlights relevant accomplishments, and showcases the appropriate skills.
Managers and recruiters are busy and often vetting several applicants while maintaining their usual workload. Provide all your contact options so they can reach out using the form of communication that’s most convenient for them. When providing your email, refrain from using your firstname.lastname@example.org you made in 6th grade. Google just hands them out for free, so spring for a new, more professional sounding email address. Don’t forget to include your street address, as well. If you’re applying with a company that has several locations, like Avenica, it helps your recruiter know which area and opportunity to match you up with. If you’re tech savvy and have your own personal website or online portfolio/resume, make sure to highlight that and organize it under your other points of contact. For added ease, use hyperlinks where applicable, as they’re likely viewing on their computer or mobile device.
Do you know the pain of spending hours crafting and polishing a resume that is perfectly fit for your dream job just to submit it and notice a spelling error immediately afterwards? This is “Rose floating around in the ocean on a door holding the freezing hand of Jack” heartbreaking. Proofread your resume multiple times and enlist the help of a friend/parent/colleague/teacher so this doesn’t happen. Any errors—minor or significant—can be an instant no from many hiring managers. Just remember, spellcheck is your friend, and there was absolutely plenty of room on that door for two people, Rose.
A good resume doesn’t guarantee you the job, but a bad resume could prevent you from even getting in the door.
For more than twenty years, Avenica has been the leading U.S. recruiting firm exclusively focused on placing college graduates into entry-level, career-track positions. Learn more about our process, or upload your resume to be considered for an open position with one of our amazing clients.