Your resume is often the first impression that a recruiter has of you. What does your resume say about you? Does it feel professional? Does it reflect your personal brand? Does it impress the reader? The following items are key guiding principles for crafting an exceptional, if not perfect resume.
The first item of content on your resume should be a headline that describes you and the type of role you’re seeking. The headline should be a few sentences in length and should describe what you’re seeking plus what you have to offer. It’s a quick blurb to grab the reader’s attention with traits that make you a truly desirable candidate.
As a former recruiter, understand that I reviewed hundreds of resumes in a given day. These recommendations may seem obvious, but many of these mistakes are far too common. A strong resume:
- Communicates why a recruiter should hire you instead of another candidate
- Highlights projects and relevant work competencies and experiences beyond just the skills that you’ve mastered. Yes, the content on each resume you share should be tailored specifically for the role that you’re applying for. A perfect resume for Google is not necessarily the perfect resume for Accenture. Understand the companies spin your story to align with their needs and interests.
- Clearly defines what you’ve accomplished. Remember that this is your chance to prove that you’re qualified for a potential job.
- 3 bullet points of accomplishments per role
- Strive to include the same words as those used in the job description when listing your accomplishments.
- Specific skills such as project management or budgeting
- Specific programming languages
- Industry-specific software that you are proficient with
- Start each listed accomplishment with a power word
- Quantify the business impacts you’ve affected. i.e. “Integrated buyer-targeted marketing strategy that improved website conversions by 32% within 6 months.“
- Illustrates examples when you exceeded expectations or achieved tangible success.
- Utilizes formatting that shows character & uniqueness
- Looks modern (since you’re likely going after modern roles)
- Utilizes legible typography (no cursive or handwriting fonts. Appropriately spaced and sized. Font color should be well contrasted against the paper you choose.
- Is only one page in length unless the applicant has many years of relevant experience in multiple careers that are related to the role being applied for.
- Lists the online URL for your LinkedIn profile at the top of the resume. If you haven’t already done so, create a custom URL for your LinkedIn profile such as “linkedin.com/JaneSmith”