Hello, friends! Hope everyone had a great weekend. Mike and I went to see ALTerEGO at The Forum, thanks to Kroger and Simple Truth products. It was the best time – we hadn’t been out on a date in so long! Sometimes we get so lost in the details, we forget to pause and refocus on what matters. We get lost in the STUFF, and it clouds what’s important.
Today, I want to apply that same idea to your resume. You honestly never know when you’re going to whip that baby out – I recently interviewed for a writing job (doesn’t typically require a resume), and at the end of the interview, they asked me for my CV. I was TOTALLY caught off guard – I hadn’t updated that baby in years. I don’t want you to be caught in the same situation, so I’m challenging you to take 30 minutes this week, dust it off, and review it.
I’ve been a the go-to resume editor for my friends and community for years now, and today, I’m sharing five tips and tricks to make yours shine – PLUS stick around to the end, and I’m giving you a FREE RESUME TEMPLATE to download!!
1. list your jobs in chronological order, starting with the most recent
I’ve been on the hiring end multiple times, and I’m never as curious as to what people did four years ago as I am what they’ve been doing just prior to coming to see me. Spend the most time on the job description of your most recent job – think about it: your most recent job speaks to your most recently used muscle and skill set. Take time to make the descriptions accurate and captivating.
2. three bullet points per job, one line per bullet point
As someone who reads and writes resumes, I can tell you that the thing that bothers me the most is when job description bullet points spill over into two and three lines. There’s beauty in concision – getting your point across in a very short and sweet way. Think about it like this: your hiring manager is likely pouring over dozens of resumes in an effort to quickly fill a vacancy. There is no time for novel reading. We want a very brief, short story description of your job responsibilities. Three bullet points per job – one line per bullet point.
3. bolster your bullet points with a bit of bragging
Every bullet point on your resume needs to answer two questions:
- WHAT did you do?
- WHY was it life-changing for your company?
Here’s an example from an older draft of my resume:
- Curated exhaustive list of contacts and current events to streamline and simplify guest booking process
- WHAT: Curated exhaustive list of contacts and current events
- WHY: To streamline and simplify guest booking process
It’s not enough to say what you did – you have to explain to a potential employer WHY or HOW this impacted your company for the better. If you have facts and figures (i.e. “to increase sales by 17%) even better. Make sure every bullet point includes WHAT you did and HOW you made a difference in your workplace – it’s okay to brag!
4. pack a punch in one page
I’m sure people have varied opinions about this, but mine remains that your resume should be one page. This belief stems from a combination of points one and two:
- Your hiring manager is more interested in the skill set you’ve used in the last 3-5 years than ten years ago
- Concision is key
If you’ve been in the workforce for a while and racked up a laundry list of credentials, pick the most interesting positions you’ve held with the best practical applications to the job for which you’re applying – or the industry in which you work – and scrap the rest. Stack the most compelling jobs at the top of the page (still in chronological order) and eliminate unrelated jobs. A sales job at Express, for instance, might serve you well if you’re pursuing another sales job or fashion-related position. If you worked at Express during your summer breaks in college and now work in investment management, you might want to drop the Express position in favor of a single page resume. Pick relevant experience and keep your resume to one page.
5. check for any grammatical errors and inconsistencies
I was chatting with Mike about this blog post, and he’s also been on the hiring end of the table. I asked him what he looks for in resumes he reviews, and he immediately said grammatical errors and formatting inconsistencies – whether it be spacing, bolding, underlining, etc. This is actually so important. Your resume, in its entirety is a reflection of you. When someone hires you, you are a reflection of them. If your resume is full of spelling errors and sloppy formatting, your hiring manager may become concerned by the level of pride you take in your work. If you’re not spending an extra five minutes to make sure that your resume is accurate and well constructed, it suggests a lack of attention and care. Put your best foot forward and make sure that your resume is reflective of an organized, detail-oriented individual.