I know, I know…Resume Writing can be a daunting task and Dream Job…perhaps you do not dream of labor!
I, for one, have many, many dreams and goals that have nothing to do with trading my time and expertise for money. But, alas – this is the system within which we we find ourselves…
And quite frankly, the dubious ethics of capitalism aside, using our expertise and experience to advance toward meaningful goals is critically important to our mental health as human beings.
It gives us purpose, it helps us learn and grow… and well, jobs also give us money, and we’re not trying to struggle here!
The trick is finding the right work, the right goals and the right environment within which to do all of this human striving. Which often means finding the right job.
This right job can feel like a magical unicorn, I know. But good, meaningful, fulfilling work does exist – if you need help figuring out what that work looks like for you, read our upcoming post on career change.
So while out on your job search if you do happen to find that magical unicorn – or the job that looks like it could potentially, maybe be something close to that magical unicorn – you need to make sure that your resume is doing the work of making sure you get noticed and representing you as the magical unicorn that YOU are!
Table of Contents
- Stand out from the Crowd
- 7 Tips for Resume Writing
Stand out from the Crowd
As a hiring manager, I have reviewed literally hundreds of resumes. The rumors are true – you have about 7 seconds to catch a recruiters eye before they move on the next resume.
These are the things that catch my attention when doing a quick scan of a resume:
It does not have to be fancy but any graphic design element – done well – will always catch my attention.
In the absence of any design elements, make sure your resume is easy to look at, not too busy, well spaced out, has enough white space, and in general just easy on the eyes to scan over and find key information.
Whatever your resume format, just try to make it nice to look at.
A well organized resume that is easy to scan is more likely to catch my eye and keep my interest as a hiring manager than super detailed job descriptions in perfect chronological resume format.
Unless you are going to put some serious time and thought into your cover letter, just skip it. A cover letter only helps if it believable and authentic.
An impersonal, template cover letter is just a waste of your time, and a waste of my time as a hiring manager – just a waste of everybody’s time!
AND for Pete’s sake – do NOT leave in the cover letter from the last job you applied to! I see a cover letter with the wrong job title on it and I think “SLOPPY!” and move right along to the next resume.
Consider foregoing a cover letter and instead include a resume objective statement instead.
Experience and Qualifications
Make sure the basic qualifications are easy to find!
If you need certain experience and/or education for a job – make sure that is easily identifiable and not buried in other text.
Don’t make a hiring manager search for your employment history, professional experience or education section
7 Tips for Resume Writing
Once you make it past the quick scan stage, you need to make sure your resume includes the content and quality the hiring manager is looking for.
Whether you are writing a simple resume, detailed CV, or combination resume, the following resume writing tips will help you get to the interview phase where you and the employer can really determine if a match has been made!
Using these strategies will help you write professional resume that is both well-organized and irresistible.
1) Keep Resume Writing Relevant
One of the most important things to remember when writing your resume is to keep it relevant to the job you are applying for.
Your resume should be tailored to the position you are applying for, and showcase your relevant skills and experience related to this role.
If you don’t think you have relevant job experience, pull out the transferable skills from the job experience you do have – think conflict resolution, customer service skills, people management, ability to lead self, organisational skills, accountability, creativity, etc., etc.
Hard skills can be learned, many soft skills are harder to learn. Show off your soft skills and emphasize your ability to quickly learn hard, or technical skills.
Read the job description and write a resume that highlights clearly for hiring managers how your skills are matched to the job.
2) Make It Readable
Your resume is your first chance to make a great impression on a potential employer, so use a functional resume format that is organized and write a resume that is readable.
Here are a few tips to help you write a resume that is easy to read:
Use simple, easy-to-read fonts like Arial or Times New Roman
Stick to one or two fonts at most
Use bullet points to list your skills and experience
Keep your paragraphs short and concise
Use clear, easy-to-understand language
3) Use Keywords in Your Resume Writing
One of the best ways to make your resume stand out is to use keywords.
Recruiters often use software to scan through resumes for specific keywords as part of their applicant tracking systems.
Job seekers that include the right keywords throughout their resume – in describing your job titles, hard and soft skills, and qualifications, are more likely to get an interview.
Again – read the posting and use their words to describe your skills and experience on your resume.
4) Highlight What You’ve Accomplished
When you’re writing your resume, it’s important to remember to highlight your accomplishments, rather than simply listing your job duties.
After all, your potential employer wants to know what you’ve done that’s made you successful in the past.
Think about the skills and qualities that are most important to the job you’re applying for and focus on highlighting examples of how you’ve demonstrated these traits in past roles.
For example, if teamwork is one of the key criteria for the position, highlight a time when you led a team project and achieved successful results. Examples – even small ones – are very good!
If you can show that you’re a good fit for the role and demonstrate that you have what it takes to succeed, you’ll be well on your way to landing your dream job!
5) Use Numbers to Quantify
One of the best tips for writing a resume that will stand out is to use numbers to quantify your achievements.
For example, instead of saying “I increased sales by 20%,” say “I increased sales by 20% over the course of the year.”
This will help your potential employer to see exactly what you achieved, and it makes your accomplishments seem more impressive. Most job seekers miss this step – so this can really set you apart.
6) Use Action Verbs
One of the best ways to make your resume stand out is to use action verbs in your skills section and/or accomplishments section.
These are words that show what you’ve done, rather than what you are doing. They help to convey your skills and accomplishments in a clear and concise way.
Some great action verbs to use on your resume include:
I led a team of… I led the development of… I led the the organization of
I managed a group of… a managed an office of… I managed the files for
Created / Developed
I created a process… I created a system… I developed relationships with…
I designed a campaign… I designed a template… I designed a strategy…
I produced results…. I produced new leads…
By using strong verbs like these, you’ll be able to show potential employers what you’re capable of. So make sure to add a few to your resume and see the difference it makes!
7) Tailor Your Resume Writing to the Job
One of the most important things for job seekers to remember when writing a resume is to tailor it to the job you’re applying for. After all, you want to show the employer that you’re the perfect candidate for the role!
This is similar to ensuring the skills you highlight are relevant but goes further in ensuring the hiring manager sees that you want THIS job.
Consider adding an objective to the beginning of your resume and include mention of the companies values or mission.
Example objective: To gain experience with (job area) working for a company that prioritizes optimal customer experience/making a meaningful difference in the lives of (insert company values or mission).
These small additions can highlight whether you are a good ‘fit’ to the culture and company goals. If you feel icky and dishonest writing this objective statement – well, this might not be the right job for you.
Remember, the employer is looking for someone who is a perfect fit for the job, but ideally you are also looking for a job that is a perfect fit for you!
Bonus Tip – Get Help with Your Resume Writing!
You don’t have to go this alone.
Resume Writing Services
There are many resume writing services available. I have used a number of services to help me get unstuck and enlist help in viewing my skills and experience in different ways. Just sit back, relax, and sip on that cup of coffee while an experienced resume writer gives you a hand.
There are countless resume writers for hire on Fiverr.
I also offer a limited number of resume writing spots through Fiverr.
Resume Writing Books
Knock Em Dead Resumes walks you through creating a personal brand through your resume.
How to Write the Perfect Resume will walk you step by step through creating a resume that will get you the interview!