Your résumé is your introduction to prospective employers. A well-crafted résumé can grab the attention of recruiters and help you land that all-important first interview. On the other hand, a poorly put together résumé can squash your chances of moving forward in the selection process. That’s why it’s essential to create a résumé that sells your strengths in a polished, professional format. The tips below can help you draft a résumé that gets results.
Eliminate spelling and grammar errors. One quick way to get your résumé thrown in the trash is not editing it for typos and poor grammar. You should always proofread your résumé several times before sending it out. Look out for spelling errors that the computer may have missed such as words that sound the same but have a different meaning (Example: build vs. billed). Consider enlisting the help of a friend or family member to review your résumé as well – you might be surprised what a fresh pair of eyes can catch.
Don’t use first person (I, me, my, etc.) It’s your résumé, so employers know who you’re referring to when you mention accomplishments and work experience. Using first person pronouns makes your résumé sound amateurish, unpolished and even “you centered.” That’s why you would delete the words “I” and “my” in the following sentence: “I earned my associate’s degree in math.” Instead, just write: “Earned associate’s degree in math.”
Use action verbs. Strong verbs bring your accomplishments to life. Action verbs also hold the reader’s attention by making your résumé interesting. See for yourself – which of these two candidates do you find more appealing based on the way they described their past job duties?
Candidate A: Did filing, clean up, phone calls and clerical duties.
Candidate B: Cataloged department files for 15 employees on a weekly basis. Maintained clean office environment including dusting, sweeping and mopping. Answered over 200 phone calls each day using multi-line phone system.
Communicate results, not just a list of job duties. From the example above, you can see that if you were a hiring manager, you’re attention would most likely be drawn to Candidate B’s résumé over Candidate A’s. That’s because Candidate B’s résumé not only uses action verbs, but it also communicates more about the applicant’s actual accomplishments instead of just listing off a bunch of job duties.
Tailor your résumé to the job you’re applying for. If you’re applying for 10 different jobs, you can just send the same résumé to each company, right? Wrong. Unless the job descriptions for each position are identical, you’ll need to tweak your résumé for each one. Tailoring your résumé doesn’t have to take a lot of time though. Just make sure you’ve reviewed each job description and know a little about the company you’re applying with. Then, create a new version of your résumé using the key words you found in your research. For example, if you’re applying for a position as a legal assistant and the law firm needs someone with experience working on trial cases and you have it, make sure you describe that experience in the version of your résumé you send to them.
Your résumé is your first touch with a prospective employer, so make sure that your paper introduction makes as good a first impression as you would hope to make in person. You can do this by taking the time to create a professional-looking résumé that appeals to employers’ hiring needs.
What résumé questions do you have? Post them in the comments sections.