22 Résumé Tips And Best Practices -Writing resumes is a stressful experience for anyone, with so
much seeming to hang on the line of one simple piece of paper. Writing a good, professional resume, however, is a fairly easy task, once one puts one’s mind to it.
Your resume is most important portion of your job application. It is the first document that potential employers see, and if they are not impressed, chances are they won’t look at the rest of your job application.
A good quality resume could be the deciding factor in your job search success. In such cases, you cannot afford to show potential employers a poorly-formatted and visually unappealing advertisement of your experience and skills.
Start with these résumé tips and best practices:
22 Résumé Tips And Best Practices
1. Organize your resume properly
Your resume must be clearly organized. Separate out your resume into sections
and list out items in each section in a chronological order.
A typical chronological resume should have the following sections –
• Contact Details
• Professional Summary
• Work experience
2. Use adequate whitespace
Make sure that your resume is legible and appropriately spaced. A resume with a lot of words jammed together is almost impossible to read. Likewise, a resume with lots of empty space and too few words looks flimsy and unimportant. Your goal should be to have an adequate mix of white space and words.
3. Use consistent line spacing
Be consistent in your use of line spacing. It is recommended that you use a double line spacing between headings and the body of text and a single space within sub-headings.
4. Use consistent vertical alignment
The 4th Résumé Tips is about alignment. When indenting text, make sure that your vertical alignment is consistent. Use either tabs or spaces. Having a mix of tab stops or spaces in different sections can ruin the appearance of a well-written resume.
5. Choose the right keywords
Many companies use a automated resume filtering software that looks for specific keywords in a resume. It is crucial that your resume has the keywords that the HR department is looking for. Read the job description carefully and include the details that the recruiter wants to hear from you.
6. Use full pages
Make each page a full page. A partial page suggests deficiency and gives an impression that information has spilled over onto the second page. In such a case, try to compress your resume in one page. If the second page has considerable amount of information, try to use the full page.
7. Use a serif font
Serif fonts (fonts with small line extending from the top and bottom) are much
easier to read on a computer screen. Use serif fonts if possible. Here is a list of
some common serif fonts –
• Century Schoolbook
• Times New Roman
If possible, refrain from using monospaced fonts like Courier as these fonts are difficult to read.
8. Never use all uppercase letters
Never use all-caps (all uppercase letters) in your resume. It makes your resume almost impossible to read.
9. Use italics and boldfacing to add emphasis
Use italics and boldfacing moderately to make certain sections more evident. Refrain from underlining text as it makes your resume lose some visual clarity.
10. Make your resume clear, concise and to the point
HR managers spend less than 20 seconds scanning a resume and they might discard your resume if they find it too vague. Make sure that your resume is concise and pertinent. Avoid including irrelevant information. Arrange your information in such a way that the most important points are easily visible.
11. Use effective job titles
Since you get less than 20 seconds to showcase your qualifications and accomplishments to your potential employer, make sure that your titles stand out. Try to make them as descriptive and attention-grabbing as possible.
12. Write a Focussed Profile Section
Include an effective and focussed Profile section. This section should be such that it grabs the readers attention. Use this section to indicate what you hope to do for the company. Using a bulleted list is preferred.
13. Proofread it at least twice
It is hard to overstate the importance of proofreading your resume. Read your resume twice and look out for common spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. Also get help from a friend if possible.
14. Showcase accomplishments instead of responsibilities
In the Experience section, highlight your achievements and accomplishments instead of listing out your duties and responsibilities. Also, whenever possible, present your work experience as challenges or problems solved. A recruiter would already know the responsibilities of the job but would be more interested in what you have done for your previous company.
15. Consider quantifying your achievements
Wherever possible, use numbers to quantify your achievements. Statements like – “Increased the revenue by 20%” add more credibility to your resume.
16. Use Bulleted Lists
No recruiter has the time (and the patience) to read large paragraphs of text describing your work profile. Instead, make use of bulleted list that describe your scholastic accomplishments, your work experiences and objectives in short sentences.
17. Include a professional profile
Including professional goals can help you by giving employers an idea of where you are going, and how you want to arrive there. You don’t need to have a special section devoted to your professional objectives, but overall the resume must communicate it.
The question of whether or not to highlight your career objectives on the resume is a polemic one among HR managers, so go with your feeling. If you decide to list them, make sure they are not generic.
18. Prioritize your resume content
When ordering your resume sections and the items inside each section, make sure that the important section is presented first. Also prioritize your statements by the order of their importance, relevance and impressiveness.
19. Use appropriate font sizes
Make sure that that your fonts are big enough and are clearly readable. Preferably use 12pt – 14pt font for the body and 24pt – 30pt font for headings.
20. Avoid extraneous information
Information such as ethnicity, marital status and religious beliefs should not be included in your resume. Avoid fluffy statements like – “I am well organized and detail oriented”. Also refrain from using statements like “References available upon request.
21. Only include relevant skills
Only include those skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for. Merely stating all your skills will not catch the attention of a recruiter, also make sure to explain how your skills make you a good match for the job.
22. Do not include picture/photo
The last Résumé Tips is about an image. A potential employer is more interested in your scholastic accomplishments and your work experience than looking at your pictur e. Avoid attaching a photo/picture with your resume unless the recruiter has specifically asked for it.