A resume is one of the most important tools you can use to land a job. It’s your opportunity to sell your skills and experience, so it needs to be perfect!
In this blog post, we will discuss how to create the perfect resume for any position. We will cover everything from formatting, content, facts about resumes, and even mistakes people often make when putting together their resumes.
Start with a strong introduction.
A strong introduction should be short and to the point. This section aims not to list all your qualifications but rather to show precisely how you are uniquely qualified for the position you are applying for.
Your potential employer needs to know right away why they should continue reading your resume!
To create a fantastic intro paragraph, think about what skills/qualifications could set you apart from other applicants. You may want to mention some previous work or experiences that make you stand out as a candidate. Also, don’t forget to include any certifications or awards if applicable!
Here’s an example:
“Meticulous and detail-oriented individual seeking a challenging position in which to utilize my skills as an experienced editor. Possessing excellent written communication, editing, proofreading, and website management skills as well as the ability to work quickly under pressure while maintaining accuracy.”
This intro paragraph is short and concise yet tells you everything you need to know about this candidate! This person clearly has experience writing/editing content, so they would be perfect for working with documents or websites.
They also have extraordinary organizational abilities since they can manage their time well when it comes to working quickly but accurately. Even without reading further into the resume, we know that this candidate is very qualified for any job requiring those specific experiences!
Now let’s look at an example of a lousy introduction:
“I am an experienced editor looking to utilize my skills in a challenging position.”
This introduction is much too vague. It doesn’t tell you anything about this candidate or why they could be qualified for the job they are applying for! They also didn’t include any specific qualifications or past experiences that set them apart from other applicants.
This intro paragraph does not help sell their candidacy whatsoever, and it will most likely make employers skip over this resume altogether.
Another big mistake people often make when writing their intros is including unrelated information such as hobbies or preference of work hours. Including those things in your intro paragraph will only distract the employer from their interest in how you can benefit their company!
Even if you are just starting your career or don’t have much experience yet, there is always something about yourself worth mentioning on your resume!
“Highly motivated individual with exceptional customer service abilities who enjoys working with people of all ages.”
You may not think it’s impressive at first, but it shows someone hiring that you have excellent interpersonal skills and enjoy being around others. This could be the deciding factor when it comes to hiring between two similar candidates.
As you can see, using a good intro paragraph is vital for any resume! If your introduction isn’t doing its job, then the rest of your resume will not be able to shine through or even be read!
Other examples of good intros:
“I am a highly motivated sales associate with years of experience selling different products within the retail industry. During this time, I learned how important it was to provide excellent customer service that exceeded expectations by creating lasting relationships built on trust and respect between all parties involved.”
“An experienced customer service representative who can handle tough situations with ease while maintaining a positive attitude. Experienced in utilizing my time management skills and multi-tasking abilities to effectively collaborate with high volumes of employees.”
“A dedicated student ready to learn new things, develop my already acquired abilities, and contribute positively towards a company.”
Some other tips to keep in mind when writing your intro paragraph:
- Remember to be clear and concise. If you can’t take out a sentence or phrase without changing the meaning, it needs to go! Keeping things simple will help draw attention to all of your qualifications instead of just one or two.
- Use action verbs that show what kind of experience you have (e.g., “accomplished,” “consistently exceeded expectations, achieved goals set forth by the management team). This is good for making sentences more exciting and shows that you are confident about yourself and what skills/qualities you bring to an employer’s company!
- Keep everything relevant! Your introduction should highlight why exactly this job is the best fit for you. If it’s not, then why are they reading this?
- Don’t include any hobbies or interests in your introduction! It will only make employers think less of you if they find out that either:
- You have nothing important to talk about on your resume besides your hobbies.
- Your hobby might conflict with how much time you would be willing to put into the job.
- The two don’t even go together!!
So just save everyone some trouble and leave them off entirely.
Last but certainly not least, make sure that your introduction is personalized to each employer you are applying for!
Include all relevant job experience and education.
Here you should provide a brief overview of your work experience and education.
To get this section right, it’s best not to go overboard. Including too many things will only distract employers from their interest in how you can benefit their company!
Keep all information relevant so that, hopefully, by the end of reading just these few sentences, an employer has a clear idea of where you would fit into their daily operations and why exactly they need someone like yourself on board immediately.
To do this, you need to be selective about what information is put in your resume.
- List all relevant jobs/internships chronologically (start with the most recent) and include titles, any notable achievements or responsibilities within each role, and dates (if there is a range, put the start year and end year).
- Do not list high school experience unless it was part of an extensive extracurricular activity that continued into college! For example, being captain of your varsity soccer team all four years in addition to working towards getting accepted into Harvard University’s pre-med program, then, by all means, go ahead and list it.
- Include all relevant educational institutions, degrees earned (and the date graduated) if applicable, GPAs from those years attended, any other notable achievements such as scholarships won or awards received while attending each school, and any clubs or organizations you participated in.
- Include any unique pieces of training, certifications, or licenses that can further benefit your professional career (e.g., CPA certification).
- Keep it short! There is no need to include every single thing on a resume as if someone will magically be interested in you if all your details are laid out there.
- Do not list any hobbies or interests in this section! Employers don’t care about what you like doing in your free time. It won’t be relevant unless it somehow relates to the job you are applying for or shows exceptional drive and ambition.
- Make sure that all information listed here can be backed up with evidence or proof from an outside source if necessary (e.g., college transcripts).
Some of these things may seem unimportant to include, but it’s the little things that can make a big difference.
The employer’s attention span will only last so long before their eyes start glazing over, so remember, less is more when writing your resume.
Use keywords to describe your skills, knowledge, and qualifications.
Don’t be generic
Use action words that show what you can do for the company.
For example, instead of saying, “I am an experienced customer service professional,” say, “Expertly resolves client complaints by following up with them to ensure satisfaction.”
Using keywords that employers are looking for will increase your chances of standing out from other candidates.
Tailor your resume to fit the position you’re applying for. Include skills that match what they are looking for in a candidate, but don’t go overboard and have irrelevant information just because it’s something you think an employer might want to see on every job application.
Keywords are crucial for online applications where you don’t have the opportunity to state why you’re qualified for a position in person during an interview.
Use metrics whenever possible to illustrate how well you performed at previous jobs—numbers are hard evidence that makes it easier for recruiters to make quick judgments about your skill level without having to overthink what they read on paper.
For example, if you increased sales revenue by 15% over one year at a company, recruiters know immediately that this is something worth taking another look at when evaluating your application.
Numbers make it easier for recruiters to see how skilled or knowledgeable you are compared to other candidates without having them read through every single line on your resume – make sure they stand out!
However, it’s important to remember that recruiters are people too.
Often, they have an “I’ll know it when I see it” approach when reviewing applications, so numbers might not always be necessary for them to find what they’re looking for in a candidate.
For example, if you were in charge of writing content for marketing campaigns, including keywords like SEO and analytics would help your resume stand out even though those words don’t necessarily describe your job responsibilities at previous positions.
Remember: keywords aren’t just limited to job descriptions and responsibilities. You should include words related to personality traits like “friendly” or “outgoing” in your resume to help employers understand that you’re the right fit for the company culture.
Don’t forget about keywords related to education and professional development, too! Include words like “certificate,” “degree,” or “graduate program” if they are applicable.
Researching company culture can go a long way in deciding what information to include on your resume.
For example, if you’re applying for an engineering position at Google and find out that they encourage their employees to take courses related to machine learning or artificial intelligence, including those keywords will make it more likely that recruiters will notice your application right away.
Be specific about the projects you’ve worked on throughout your career—this is one area where people tend to lean too heavily towards using generalities instead of specifics, making them stand out even less than before!
People generally don’t want to work with someone who has done nothing but “consulting” throughout their entire career so try not to use words like this unless necessary.
Instead, it’s much better to highlight specific projects that you’ve worked on throughout your career. This way, recruiters know exactly what they’re getting themselves into when they hire you without having to ask numerous follow-up questions later down the line.
Be honest – don’t lie about your credentials or experience.
It’s one thing to highlight your skills and knowledge on paper—it’s another thing entirely to lie about what you’re capable of.
Lying on a resume is a quick way to get yourself blacklisted by employers who find out the truth later down the road.
This means that even if they like your qualifications at first glance, it doesn’t mean much about getting hired for a position because there will always be concerns over whether or not you can do the required work based on false credentials.
A lot of time, recruiters don’t have enough information from applications alone. Lying only makes their job harder since they’ll need more time spent interviewing candidates until they can figure out what’s going on with someone who seems underqualified for a position compared to what’s stated on their resume.
Not only is lying about your experience an extremely risky move—but it’s also unnecessary in most cases since recruiters are looking for people who have the right qualifications and skills that fit into what they’re hiring for.
Use a consistent format to organize all your information.
Having an unorganized and inconsistent resume makes it difficult for recruiters to find specific information about you, which means they may miss important details like your contact information or education history, depending on where those sections are located within the document!
This decreases your chances of getting hired because employers need as much help as possible to find the correct information about you. It also decreases your chances of getting hired because employers cannot find out as much information about you, which reduces their interest in pursuing ways to contact and talk with you further.
Using a consistent format throughout your resume is one of the best things that can happen for people looking to get hired quickly. Recruiters will easily follow all relevant details without having to flip through pages or spend an excessive amount of time trying to track down necessary pieces of data.
One thing you should avoid is using unprofessional font types or color schemes.
This makes it difficult for recruiters to find specific information about you and lowers your chances of getting hired.
Employers will be less likely to contact you if your resume doesn’t match up with what’s considered normal in terms of formatting.
Use just one font type and only a couple of different colors and font sizes throughout your resume to keep everything organized without making it ugly or difficult for people to read.
The file format you choose to save your resume in also matters. By default, most resumes are saved as either .doc or .pdf files; both work just fine.
Proofread carefully before submitting it to an employer
When submitting a resume to an employer, one of the most common mistakes job seekers do is not checking it completely before sending it.
This causes many problems since employers will be receiving resumes with typos, grammatical errors, and formatting issues which makes them think poorly of the person submitting it since they couldn’t even take the time to format their resume correctly.
It’s important to remember that employers are looking for reasons to eliminate you from the pool of potential employees. One way they do this is by looking for any errors in your resume that make it clear you don’t pay attention to detail or lack basic skills.
One way to make sure your resume is perfect before submitting it to an employer is by proofreading it over multiple times yourself and then having a few other people you know go through it as well.
This will help catch mistakes that you might miss since many of us tend to read what we expect to see rather than what’s actually on the page.
Additionally, you can use spell check and auto-correct tools in your word processing platform to catch mistakes that may have slipped by you or other people proofreading it.
Although these aren’t perfect, they help a lot when it comes to catching errors, so double-checking everything is necessary before submitting it to an employer.
For a more thorough process, you can use apps like Grammarly that can help with your overall proofreading by catching things like grammar errors and making sure everything is in the proper tense.
Make sure your contact information is correctly displayed on the resume.
Putting your contact information on your resume is important since it lets employers know how to contact you if they’re interested in finding out more about you or scheduling an interview.
That being said, job seekers need to make sure that the way their address and phone number are displayed makes sense for current standards of practice.
Don’t list more than the basics of contact information, including your name, email address, phone number, and city.
Many job seekers make mistakes like including their social media accounts, complete address, birth date, and even their marital status, which employers don’t want to see on a resume.
This is because they can be used as legal forms of discrimination when hiring, so most companies will simply remove this information before ever looking at the rest of your resume.
A picture of yourself can also be a bad idea since it allows employers to discriminate against you based on your appearance, which is also illegal.
While including a picture of yourself might seem like a good idea, this can backfire big time since hiring managers are looking for reasons to eliminate candidates from consideration, so they’ll use any excuse to do so.
Make sure you have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile with solid recommendations from former supervisors or colleagues.
Although LinkedIn isn’t the only place where you can find jobs, it’s a good idea to ensure that your profile is complete and up-to-date since employers use this as an initial screening process when looking through resumes.
Suppose they come across someone with incomplete or poor quality information on their account. In that case, chances are they’re going to move on to another candidate who has more thorough documentation of experience.
It’s a good idea to make sure that your profile has strong recommendations from former supervisors or colleagues since this will help employers understand how you interact with management and clients, giving them a better picture of who you are as an employee.
Additionally, these kinds of comments show actual words coming directly from other people in the industry, so they’re much more powerful than generic statements made by someone without any background on what happened during your work history.
Not only can they help your chances of getting an interview with a potential employer, but it’s also going to make the process go much smoother once you land an offer.
Remember that employers want someone who will fit in well within their environment, so recommendations from past co-workers or supervisors are some of the best indicators for future performance and overall compatibility of working on a team.
Asking for a recommendation can be tricky since you don’t want to come off as pushy or demanding, but this is ultimately up to the person you’re asking, so try your best not to take it personally if they say no.
Additionally, make sure that any links in your LinkedIn profile are active and working correctly because outdated links will send an employer elsewhere, which could cause them to miss out on important information about who you are as a professional. If necessary, update these links with new ones instead of deleting old profiles altogether.
Making updates like this might seem like something small at first glance, but it says a lot about how much attention to detail job seekers pay throughout their own job search.
Create a professional email address that matches your name
It’s a good idea to make sure that you have a professional email address since this will be the first thing employers see when they look through candidates for an open position.
The last thing you want is for something like “email@example.com” or “firstname.lastname@example.org” to be the first thing they see when searching through their inbox, so it’s a good idea to keep this as professional as possible.
This goes back to what we said earlier about hiring managers looking for excuses to eliminate candidates from consideration. Having an email with something like “email@example.com” is going to make you appear less serious than someone who has a more formal-sounding address that matches their name.
Separate personal and business accounts.
In addition, it never hurts to have both a personal and business account that can help separate these two aspects of your life. Employers can easily see that you take your career seriously without questioning why the two are somehow linked.
It’s also a good idea to use your full name as the email address to match up with their official documentation, which makes you look more professional and organized.
You can go a step further and create a website to link to, which can be an excellent place for potential employers and recruiters to find out more about you since there’s no limit here on what kind of information is available.
If you want, consider using this website as the primary source for your resume or portfolio, at the very least, which will make it even more accessible to anyone who decides to take a look.
Just remember that this is another opportunity for you to show off what makes you stand out from other candidates, so just be sure not to go overboard with anything here since an employer’s time is limited. They don’t have all day long after sifting through dozens of resumes already.
Common mistakes that can keep you from getting hired
It’s a good idea to avoid making any major mistakes when building your resume since these can be deal breakers for many employers.
Some of the most common things that will automatically eliminate you from consideration include typos, grammar errors, not matching formality with the position itself, and making sure all contact information is up-to-date if necessary before sending anything off.
Additionally, don’t forget about formatting either, which means having appropriate spacing between sections or titles to keep everything organized without overwhelming an employer or recruiter right away. This includes maintaining headers short and concise instead of something long like “My Passionate Career as a Talented and Eager Individual.”
In addition, you might want to consider keeping your resume to one page if possible since this is the standard for most hiring managers.
If you have more than 15 years of work experience, for example, consider cutting out any jobs that are not relevant to the position you’re applying for. Trying to squeeze every single job on your resume will only make it look cluttered and busy with unnecessary information.
In some cases is ok to use two pages for your resume if you have a lot of relevant information to share, but it’s good practice to keep things concise and organized as much as possible.
Another common mistake is to neglect your cover letter!
You might be tempted to send off your resume without including a cover letter which is usually the first thing employers see. Don’t forget that this is your opportunity to sell yourself and explain why you’re a perfect fit for the job.
In addition, even if it’s just one page long like your resume should be, keep in mind that it can make or break whether an employer looks at your application after sifting through dozens of other submissions already.
A well-written and thoughtful cover letter can set you apart from other candidates instantly, especially if it’s customized to fit a specific position or company.
Finally, make sure to proofread your cover letter before sending it off, too, since typos can make a wrong impression.
In conclusion, your resume is an integral part of applying for jobs, so make sure you put in the time and effort to create one that works!
The formatting can set you apart from other candidates by giving it a polished look that employers will notice right away.
Be aware that there are several common mistakes when creating a resume, which should be avoided whenever possible to give yourself the best shot at getting hired instead.
Keep these things in mind while putting yours together, and before long, hopefully, land whatever job sounds most interesting or relevant for where you’re trying to go.
That’s it for now! I hope you enjoyed the guide and found it helpful in some way or another. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment down below, and I’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as possible! Thanks again!
Gabrielle J. Smith is a Human Resources professional, writer, blogger, and mother of three. One of her hobbies is educating herself (and others) about job hunting and resume writing. She has helped many people through her career and continues to share knowledge with the masses in order to help them gain meaningful employment. One of Gabrielle’s favorite subjects is what she has coined “resume tricks,” and she says there are many of them. She has been blogging for the last four years, and her advice has been featured on many important sites in order to help job seekers in their searches. Gabrielle’s advice is always sound and to the point, and she shows no sign of slowing down.