Your resume could end up on a fast track into the trashcan if you don’t follow six simple rules for effective resumes.
1: Keep it short and easy to read
A two-page resume has enough space for all your information. Senior professionals may run to a third page, but hiring managers need something quick and easy to read. Use a simple font, stick with a consistent structure, and only bold or italics where necessary. Don’t waste space including references, or even state references available on request – when needed, they will be asked for.
2: Experience and successes are plain to see
All good resumes should have details of you work experience. Start with your latest or current job and work back. State when you worked there, the job title, and no more than one line of job description, followed by three to five bulleted key achievements.
Production Manager, ACME Products Inc. April 2006 – May 2012. Lead a team of 24 operatives in 2 factories.
- Increased production from 240,000 units in 2006 to 1 million in 2012
- Improved customer satisfaction levels from 85% in 2006 to 97% in 2012
- Developed 8 new recruits to meet all performance targets within 6 months of hire
- Managed pilot of new household product lines in 2010, providing customer feedback and product knowledge to HQ development team
3: Make qualifications and education count
Include degrees and professional credentials, such as Project Management Professional (PMP), or other relevant college courses and certifications. Do not include anything with no immediate relevance to the position.
As a rule of thumb, start with academic achievements, followed by professional credentials, and then anyother relevant history.
4: Include professional volunteer achievements
If you give your time to a cause, professional organization, or non-profit – include it! Leading volunteers or providing free consulting services to a good cause makes your resume shine. It also shows a bit of humanity and humility to a potential employer, letting them know they are hiring an engineer and not a robot.
5: Keep it honest
It’s easy to fall into the trap of embellishing resume content. It won’t work. Experience hiring managers spot lies very easily – no matter how well you think it’s concealed. Saying you are an excellent customer service agent is great, but don’t say you were the best in your company for 5 years straight – unless there’s evidence to prove it. In the age of the internet, so many things are easy to verify.
6: Keep it flexible
Make sure your resume is easy to update. Each job you apply for should have its own resume – it may be 95% identical to the template, but each variant should be adjusted to directly address the needs of the position and the company’s culture.
Before your next application, review your resume with these six rules in mind. The goal of a good resume is to secure an interview with the target company — make sure you’re putting the best possible face on your professional history and qualifications.
Featured Image Credit: Neil