A well-written resume can make or break your job search. A poorly-written resume will be difficult to understand and could end up costing you a job interview. This article is going to teach you the dos and don’ts of resume and cover letter writing, as well as provide you with some handy tips to improve your writing skills.
Tip #1: Know The Job You’re Applied For
The first and most crucial step towards landing your dream job is to know exactly what job you’re applying for. In most cases, the instructions will be contained within the job posting, but in some instances, you may have to contact the company directly for more information. It’s essential that you find out what specific duties and responsibilities you’ll be performing, and it’s also important to know what exactly you need to qualify for the position. In terms of the former, you should note that the more specific you can be, the better. For instance, if you’re applying for a financial analyst position, it would be beneficial to mention in your resume that you have extensive experience in analyzing and interpreting capital markets. In contrast, if you’re applying for a general office assistant position, it would be better to generalize your experience by mentioning that you’ve worked in a clerical capacity for several companies.
Tip #2: Resumes Should Be Short
As we’ve established, strong writing skills are important in both your resume and cover letter. However, when it comes to resumes, you should go for a clean short-format. This simply means that you should keep the information to a minimum, but make it relevant and interesting. Ideally, a resume should only contain 1-2 pages of information. If you have limited space, it’s best to pick out only the most crucial information and leave out the rest. Remember: they’re likely to scrutinize your resume closely so make sure that everything is packed efficiently.
Tip #3: Keep It Easy To Understand
To ensure that your resume is easy to understand, you must keep it short and sweet. At the same time, you must also ensure that each section is clearly labeled so that it’s easy to follow. As we’ve established, resumes are mainly used for prospective employers to get a better understanding of your abilities. Therefore, it’s essential that you keep the resume structure simple and easy to follow. Ideally, a resume should be arranged in a single, coherent document, with no more than 6 pages. In terms of the overall layout, you should keep to the usual 4-column format, with the applicant’s name appearing in the upper left corner and the objective in the upper right. In addition, it’s important that every entry is easy to scan; therefore, you must ensure that all information is formatted in a manner that’s easily readable. In some cases, this could mean using a different font style or color, or taking the time to line-edit your resume.
Tip #4: Tailor Your Resume For The Position You’re Applied For
Once you’ve landed on a potential employer’s radar, you’ve got a chance to shine. This is where you can really tailor your resume to be specific to the position you’re applying for. Take a look at your resume and see what skills and experience you have that relate to the position. Once you’ve identified these, tailor your resume to fit the job description, mentioning how you’ve implemented these skills in the past. For example, if you’re applying for a marketing role, you might want to mention that you’ve created advertisements for various companies or groups, or that you’ve designed graphics for a marketing campaign. In some instances, it might be beneficial to expand on a previous experience you’ve had in terms of applying or utilizing marketing theory or frameworks. In these instances, you can really highlight how you’ve used marketing to your advantage and applied what you’ve learned to real-world situations.
Tip #5: Use An Objective Statement
The objective statement is a quick summary of your resume’s contents, generally written at the beginning of your resume. This is also where you can provide some additional information about your skills and experience, which is useful for the employer if they’re not familiar with you. In most cases, an objective statement will accompany your resume, but in some instances, it might be sufficient to have an objective statement in your cover letter. As we’ve established, your objective statement should match the objective of the job you’re applying for and should be no more than a few sentences. In terms of content, you should keep the statement short and sweet, mentioning only your most relevant skills and experiences.
Tip #6: Proofread Your Resume
Even if you’ve gone over your resume multiple times and believe that it’s error-free, it’s essential that you proofread it once more before sending it off. In most cases, this is going to be your spellchecker’s worst nightmare, as you’re going to have a tough time finding all the errors on your own. As we’ve established, resumes are mainly used for prospective employers to get a better understanding of your abilities. Therefore, it’s essential that you take the time to proofread your resume carefully for any spelling errors, as well as ensure that each entry is properly punctuated. In terms of style, you should go through your resume and make sure that it’s free of any writing errors. Ideally, a resume should be free of any spelling errors or grammatical errors. This is mainly because most employers are going to be scanning the resume, looking for keywords and phrases that they can use to find relevant jobs. If you make any grammatical errors, it could potentially distract the employer and prevent you from securing the job you want.
Tip #7: Use Descriptive Words
To make your resume stand out, you must use descriptive words. This simply means that you should avoid using words such as “basic”, “ordinary”, and “standard” when describing your responsibilities, and instead use words such as “implement”, “manage”, and “monitor”. In most cases, a resume is going to be read closely so make sure that each entry is well-written and easy to understand. In some instances, it might be beneficial to add a short note at the end of your resume, briefly mentioning any areas you feel are significant accomplishments. In these cases, it’s best to keep the note concise and to the point.