Posted by Robert Half on Thursday, October 30, 2014 - 00:00 | Follow me
Are you one of the many people looking for a job? Whether you’re just starting out in your career or launching a search after many years on the job, chances are your resume could use some touching up. Here’s how to make it stand out.
Ten years ago, your best bet would’ve been to keep your resume to a single page, but that restriction is loosening up. Although executives and hiring managers prefer short-and-sweet resumes, they want enough information to assess a candidate’s qualifications.
Be honest with your resume writing, of course, and avoid filler. Hiring managers can spot filler in a second.
The three most common resume formats are reverse chronological, functional and hybrid. The difference among the three is the way the information is presented.
- Reverse chronological
Three out of four executives surveyed prefer a reverse chronological resume, which is also the one most used by job seekers. If you choose this resume writing format, list your most recent jobs first, followed by your education.
If you’re a recent grad or you lack work experience, you may want to choose a functional resume format. Begin with a summary of your skills, grouping them into categories (such as customer service experience, programming expertise or whatever is appropriate for the job), and then list your education and work history.
A hybrid or combination resume includes the best of the reverse chronological and functional formats. Begin with an executive summary that emphasizes your skills most relevant to the desired job. Then, list your jobs in reverse chronological order, followed by your education.
You feel good about the length and format of your resume. Now you need to choose the information you put on it. Keep these tips in mind for your resume writing:
- Stay away from fancy fonts, graphics and funny business. Make the hiring manager’s job easier by sending a plain, no-frills copy. An organization can get hundreds of applications for a job, so it will look for resumes that are straightforward and easy to read.
- Highlight key accomplishments. Hiring managers want to see results, such as how much time or money you saved a previous employer. Don’t simply list job duties.
- Use the exact terms in the job description if they apply. Firms often scan resumes for those key words.
- Summarize software expertise and other specialized skills.
- Devote extra space to describing work experience that’s most relevant to the job description.
- Don’t ignore the experience you have gained away from work. Include relevant skills you acquired from volunteering, working with professional organizations and other activities.
- If you have any employment gaps, briefly explain the reason in your cover letter. Hiring managers in today’s economy understand that qualified people may have been out of work for extended periods.
- Proofread. Don’t let a typo cost you a chance at a job.
- Keep salary requirements out of your resume unless the employer requests the information in the job posting.
- Leave out the reason for leaving your previous job. Hiring managers don’t expect you to explain why you left.
What are some questions you have about resume writing? Let us know in the comments section.