Resume Tips

Shankar Srinivasan

Posted on 5/29/2010

Having a solid and effective resume can greatly improve your chances of landing in your dream job.
How can you make sure that your resume is top notch and bullet proof?

We have compiled a list of tips from HR professionals, Search Firms and from a number of web sites. We wanted to put them all together for your benefit.

Know the purpose of your resume

Some people write a resume as if the purpose of the document was to get a job. As a result they end up with a really long and boring piece that makes them look like desperate job hunters. The objective of your resume is to ensure that the employer finds your resume suitable & call you for an interview, and the interview will get you the job.

Back up your qualities and strengths

Instead of creating a long (and boring) list with all your qualities (e.g., disciplined, creative, problem solver) try to connect them with real life and work experiences. In other words, you need to back these qualities and strengths up, else it will appear that you are just trying to inflate things.

Achievements instead of responsibilities

Resumes that include a long list of “responsibilities included…” are plain boring, and not efficient in selling yourself. Instead of listing responsibilities, therefore, describe your professional achievements.

Explain the benefits of your skills

Merely stating that you can do something will not catch the attention of the employer. If you manage to explain how it will benefit his company, and to connect it to tangible results, then you will greatly improve your chances.

Go with what you got

If you never had any real working experience, just include your summer jobs or volunteer work. If you don’t have a degree yet, mention the title and the estimated date for completion. As long as those points are relevant to the job in question, it does not matter if they are official or not.

Use action verbs

A very common advice to job seekers is to use action verbs. But what are they? Action verbs are basically verbs that will get noticed more easily, and that will clearly communicate what your experience or achievement were. Examples include managed, coached, enforced and planned. Here you can find a complete list of action verbs divided by skill category.

Lists all your positions

If you have worked a long time for the same company (over 10 years) it could be a good idea to list all the different positions and roles that you had during this time separately. You probably had different responsibilities and developed different skills on each role, so the employer will like to know it.

Make sure to use the right keywords

Most companies (even smaller ones) are already using digital databases to search for candidates. All companies using this Job site are surely using search queries to get your resume. This means that the HR department will run search queries based on specific keywords. Check the job description and related job ads for a clue on what the employer might be looking for.

Use effective titles

Like it or not, employers will usually make a judgment about your resume in 5 seconds. Under this time frame the most important aspect will be the titles that you listed on the resume, so make sure they grab the attention. Try to be as descriptive as possible, yet brief, giving the employer a good idea about the nature of your past work experiences. For example:

Bad title: Accounting
Good title: Management of Accounts Receivable and Record Keeping

Look and feel

Use bullet points: No employer will have the time (or patience) to read long paragraphs of text. Make sure, therefore, to use bullet points and short sentences to describe your experiences, educational background and professional objectives.

Professional and attractive fonts: First of all make sure that your fonts are of legible size. Try to avoid fonts smaller than 11 points for content. For titles try not to make it bigger than 18 font size. The ideal way to make attractive presentation is by giving 1 or 2 point variation between title and content.

Make the design flow with white space: Do not jam your resume with text. Sure we said that you should make your resume as short and concise as possible, but that refers to the overall amount of information and not to how much text you can pack in a single sheet of paper. White space between the words, lines and paragraphs can improve the legibility of your resume.

No fancy design details: Do not use a colored background, fancy fonts or images on your resume. Sure, you might think that the little flowers will cheer up the document, but other people might just throw it away at the sight.

One or two pages

The ideal length for a resume is a polemic subject. Most employers and recruiting specialists, however, say that it should contain one or two pages at maximum. Just keep in mind that, provided all the necessary information is there, the shorter your resume, the better.

Avoid the following:

Irrelevant information like political affiliation etc
Unwanted information like "reference will be produced on request"
Jargon or slang
pronouns like "I" or "me"
Never lie in your resume
Avoid negativity - it usually puts off the employer and make them feel you are negative

Don’t forget the basics

The first thing on your resume should be your name. It should be bold and with a larger font than the rest of the text. Make sure that your contact details are clearly listed. Secondly, both the name and contact details should be included on all the pages of the resume (if you have more than one).

And to finish Proofread it twice & Get someone else to review your resume.