So much of our communication is done in writing these days (texting, emailing, posting), yet it hasn’t improved our writing skills at all On the contrary, most people seem to dash off a missive and hit “send” with the attitude of, “Eh, it’s good enough, they get the idea.” I read texts and posts all the time that are total gibberish, and I wonder: doesn’t this person EVER proofread anything, if only to keep from looking like a fool?
The point I’m leading to is this: your resume is the last thing on earth that you should ever take the attitude of “it’s good enough.” The job market is tough, and every single hiring manager is looking for reasons to toss yours onto the “no thanks” pile, in order to lessen the pile of legitimate possibilities they have to weed through. So if your resume is not flawless, it is not good enough.
Use the following tips to polish yours up and keep it out of the “no thanks” pile.
- Forget the generic, one-resume-fits-all approach. I know it’s a huge pain to job hunt and when you’re trying to apply to as many jobs as possible, you can’t possibly create a separate resume to create the impression that each job is the perfect fit for you. However you should probably create a basic resume TEMPLATE, and then add in some keywords from the particular job posting you’re applying for. Otherwise, even though YOU may see how you’re a fit, the employer may not get the connection.
- Use bullet points. Plain and simple, people hate to encounter a page full of dense text. Use the bullet point format and you stand a chance of having one or more of your accomplishments catch someone’s eye.
- Leave off your hobbies and interests unless they pertain. If your hobby is writing, computer programming, or something else that could feasibly make you a more useful employee, mention it. If your hobby is mountain climbing or martial arts and you imagine that your chances will be improved just by letting them know what a cool and awesome person you are—you’re wrong.
- Opinions differ, but mine is, kill the “objective.” If you are on a very specific search for a particular position and you won’t consider anything else, OK. But if you’re just a regular Joe or Jane looking for a decent job to pay the bills, don’t waste anybody’s time with that whole dumb “Objective: to find a position where my skills will be utilized to the fullest” BS. It’s too obvious.
- Use the reverse chronological format. (List your last job first, and work backwards.) Some candidates create functional resumes that focus on specific skills rather than job history, but this bugs hiring managers so much that they may not even bother with you. The functional resume is so non-standard that it attracts negative attention and makes them wonder what employment gaps you’re trying to hide, and why. (Were you in prison or rehab, maybe?)
- Don’t spill your guts. Tell them enough to get them interested in you, but leave something to talk about during your interview.