There are a lot of misconceptions about how professional resumes should be written and what is and isn’t acceptable. I have reviewed thousands of resumes as a recruiter in the technology and real estate industries, and, what I have found is that the biggest concern most job seekers have is that they keep their resume to one page, when in fact, assuming a certain tenure and that the experience is relevant, a two-page resume can be equally as effective. It’s simply not worth removing critical and beneficial information or making your font so tiny it’s unreadable, just to fit a resume on a single page.
As you go to create or refresh your resume and look to highlight your strengths and what makes you the right candidate for the job, here are some helpful tips based on common mistakes I often see. And remember, if done right, a pop of color or changing up the font just a little to emphasize your skills doesn’t hurt.
- One size doesn’t fit all: There is no one right way to format a resume and the style can differ depending on the industry you’re in. Are you a marketing and branding professional or designer? Then try creating a more graphics focused resume, using colors and less traditional fonts that showcase your creativity while highlighting your experience and hirable qualities. If you are in the real estate (or similar – law, medical, corporate business) industry, take more of a conservative and conventional approach. Focus on clean lines, content over aesthetic, and traditional fonts and formats.
- Bullets are best: When writing the responsibilities associated with each position, use statement bullet points, not full-sentence paragraphs. Hiring managers are looking at hundreds of resumes and don’t have the time to read through paragraphs to pull out important information. Each bullet should be a summary of a particular skillset, responsibility or task that you perform/performed at your position. These bullets should include “keywords” that will easily stand out to hiring managers and should align with the keywords in the job description associated with the job you are seeking. Quantifying the impact that your responsibilities had on the companies you work for will also allow your resume to resonate with the company you are applying to.
- Past versus present tense: If you are no longer in a current position, your bullet points should be in the past tense. The only bullets that should be present tense are those listed under your current position.
- How personal should you get? I do not recommend putting additional personal information on your resume (i.e. years you’ve been married, where you have traveled, that you enjoy scuba diving, etc). Let these topics come up in conversation during the interview. Keep your resume clean and focused so as not to detract from your skills and accomplishments.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to craft your resume or if you’re in need of a resume makeover, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org