Writing your résumé for the first time – or for the first time in a long time – can be a daunting task for anyone. How you write up your credentials can make or break your chance to get your foot in the door for an interview, so it’s important to have your résumé nearly perfect every time you apply for a job. Here are five big things to do every time you sit down to update your résumé.
Tailor it. The best way to write a perfect résumé is tailoring it to a specific job description. Clearly list each skill you possess that the position requires. If you’re a perfect match for the job, a tailored résumé will help potential employers see at a glance how your skills and talents match the position perfectly.
List unique skills. After you review a job description, you may notice that a skill you possess wasn’t included in the posting. If that skill relates to the job and would benefit your employer, include this skill on your résumé. Employers will take notice when you list unique skills, which can put you ahead of your competition, especially if no one else possesses those skills. If you have a skill that doesn’t relate to the job, don’t include it on your résumé. For example, if you’re applying for a data processing job, don’t list your cooking skills.
Practice. Writing a perfect résumé doesn’t happen in an instance, and if you’re learning new skills and gaining new experiences, what you can put on your résumé will constantly grow. The more practice you have writing your résumé, the better you’ll be at tailoring it to each job description and including just what employers are looking for. Try drafting your résumé in different formats, such as chronological and functional formats. This will help you figure out which style works best for each of the positions you’re applying for.
Proofread. When you make careless mistakes and they end up in a potential employer’s hands, your chances of landing an interview may disappear. So, carefully read and reread your résumé, checking for misspelled words, incorrect grammar, and misuse of similar sounding words that have a different meaning. Ask a friend or family member to proofread your résumé, too. They’re more likely to catch a mistake that you’ve overlooked. Taking the time to make sure your résumé is error-free keeps you from missing out on an opportunity because of an easily avoidable mistake.
Keep it short. Most hiring managers receive many résumés and cover letters for every job opening they post and don’t have time to read every résumé word for word. So, limit your résumé to two pages or less. This provides enough space to detail your education, skills, and talents to employers without overwhelming them with too much information. And because they’re often in a hurry when looking through a stack of résumés, use bulleted lists to facilitate quick and easy reading instead of writing in long paragraphs. It’s great to highlight your achievements and include your work history, but only describe your more current employment.
Résumés play a big role in whether or not you’ll land an interview, so take your time putting yours together before you apply for each job. You can write a stand-out résumé by practicing, proofreading, and tailoring it to each position. A near-perfect résumé will help your accomplishments stand out and sell you as a great candidate for the job.