You have all the experience they want and this appears to be your dream job. You make sure everything you’ve ever done is on your resume and send it off.
They have to call you, right? It wouldn’t make any sense for them to hire someone else.
No matter how true that is, if your resume assaults the hiring manager’s eyes, you don’t stand a chance. Experience matters. It’s one of the most important parts of the interview process. But unless someone can make it through your resume and understand it, they can’t see how great a match you are.
Here are five big things to get right.
1. Typos (and grammatical mistakes)
This is number one because resumes are hard to write. And, ideally, you haven’t had to brush yours up in a little while. So some of the other tips—like organization—can be forgiven easier than a blatant typo. Don’t count on spell-check. And don’t count on yourself. Have a third person proof it for you. Someone you can trust to be honest, no matter how brutal that may be. A typo screams that you don’t care about the job enough to reread it. Grammar issues can say either you don’t care or you don’t know; neither is great for you.
There are a lot of ways to put together the pieces of your resume. You generally want your experience as close to the top of the page as possible. And list experience in reverse chronological order (most recent first). Essentially, you’re trying to make sure the most important part of your resume is read. Burying your current job on the second page greatly hurts your chances of getting a phone call. Make it easy for the hiring manager to know what you can do.
3. Blank pages and other white space
Adding blank lines between jobs and other sections makes your resume easier on the eyes which is a great thing. You want it to be easy to read. You don’t want to annoy your reader. But you should never have two lines at the top of the last page. Or worse, a completely blank page. Delete what you need to so you can avoid both of these. They make you look careless. I can’t believe there’s nothing that can be cut. And convert your resume to a pdf before sending it out. That prevents other people’s settings in Word from messing up your hard work.
4. You don’t give an ROI
Are you just listing responsibilities? In bullet points? With no demonstration of how well you perform those responsibilities? You don’t want to write a novel by any means. But you do want to show that you completed a project a month before your deadline or several thousand dollars under budget. Pick a couple great accomplishments and stick them in there. You don’t just want to show you can do the job. You want to show you can do it better than anyone else.
This is a big beast to tackle. Not everyone is a superstar in Word and not everyone needs to be. But there are things you can do (or not do) to help you make it to the top of the resume pile. The biggest is restraining yourself when it comes to font styles.
Bolding, underlining, and italicizing everything doesn’t make it stand out. It gives the hiring manager a headache. Bolding is great for your organization, such as bolding the name of your employer above your job description. It helps to segment things. Italicizing can be great to emphasize certain things within your job description, but use it sparingly. Underlining makes things really hard to read and should generally be avoided.
It’s okay to want certain things to stand out on your resume, but the more you emphasize, the less your reader will notice.