Resume writing Tips

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Resumes or CVs can be pretty tedious to write, but they don’t have to be. The purpose of a resume is to get you interviewed, nothing more. Many candidates feel compelled to include everything on their resume and anticipate hiring managers to make a decision based on just the resume alone. The reality is that most hiring managers only spend about 30 seconds reviewing resumes, for entry level roles the time is even shorter. Increasingly, organizations also take advantage of ATS (Applicant Tracking Software) which parce out information on resumes and search for keywords.

So, here are my five tips for an effective resume:

  1. Simple formatting and no more than 2 pages

Readability is the most underrated yet important feature of a resume. Use a good-sized font, bullet points and bolded keywords (sparingly). Anything that makes it easy for an algorithm or a person to get a lot of information from a quick glance. The first half of the first page is the most important part of your resume, so make sure it contains the information most pertinent for deciding to interview you. ATS algorithms have a hard time reading information in blocks or graphics, so opt for simple word formatting over visually appealing documents. Do not include your picture.

  1. Real, verifiable, and authentic

Everyone gets tempted to inflate job titles or responsibilities to better reflect their skills or experience, but it rarely works in your favor. Use real job titles and be honest about the work you did at your job. If you do not feel that your job title accurately reflects your responsibilities, you may add something more descriptive in bracket. During background checks or advanced interview stages many hiring managers want to ensure authenticity, so ensure that your resume matches your experiences on LinkedIn for example. If there is a discrepancy, it raises a red flag and it may delay or jeopardize a potential job offer.

  1. Use active verbs

Nothing irritates hiring managers more than reading a resume which reads like a job description. It simply tells you nothing about the candidate. Avoid copying and pasting the responsibilities section of your job description. Instead, try using active verbs (i.e. manage, coordinate, oversee, develop) and pair them with a desired result or accomplishments.

  1. List your accomplishments

If your role had any measurable metrics such as funds raised or weekly meetings, be sure to include them. Numbers on a resume grab attention and communicate accomplishments beyond duties and responsibilities. Soft metrics or feedback is also useful, particularly if you led a well-known project or initiative, for example.

  1. Customize the top section every time

Just for fun, clock yourself reading your resume out loud for 30 seconds and see how far into it you can get. Chances are you will not be able to finish the first page. It is important that you focus the top section of your resume with a few customizable bullet points (Profile or Overview section) to tweak every time to reflect the desired requirements that are true to you. This will help the reader match what they are looking for with what they are reading so they can invite you for an interview.

As mentioned earlier a resume is only meant to get you an interview. If you are getting interviews consistently, it is likely that your resumes is working for you. Don’t agonize over it – it is only one part of job seeking, along with networking, social media presence and much more.

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