If there’s one consolation anyone can take in a competitive job market, it’s the fact that most resumes are relegated to the dustbin with nary a glance. This means that job seekers who can learn proper resume writing skills can gain a massive advantage over other applicants. Writing the perfect resume takes time and practice but it’s worth it come interview day. The following tips will help anyone write a better resume.
Write a Targeted Resume
Next to spelling and grammatical errors, the reason most resumes are thrown out straight away is that they are generic. This happens for two reasons. First, employers just don’t have the time to carefully pore over a long, general resume to interpret an applicant’s skills and figure out whether they qualify. Second, a generic resume is the same as a form letter. It shows an applicant can’t be bothered to focus on a given position. If you don’t care, why should they?
Resume writers need to write a new resume for every job opening. The correct way to do this is to read the job announcement carefully and focus the resume on the specific areas of the job where the applicant has experience. A targeted resume tells the employer, “you need this and this, and this is what I can do to help you.” It takes more time, but writers of targeted resumes instantly gain an advantage over those who stick with boring, generic resumes.
List Accomplishments, Not Duties
Job hunters usually get hung up on telling their life’s story in resume form. They list every single job and every duty they’ve ever had with hopes that employers will pick and choose the impressive ones. The problem with this tactic is that it’s passive and doesn’t really say anything. The proper way to discuss past jobs in resume form is to list real accomplishments instead. Consider this example:
Duty: “Assistant Sales Manager”
Accomplishment: “Coordinated workload for local sales team to increase revenues 15% annually.”
Duties leave employers asking, “So what did you actually do?” Accomplishments come right out and tell them. It’s plain to see which is more effective.
Brevity and White Space
Resumes need to make their point and move on. Most employers won’t even read and entire resume (source). They might just scan the top half. Job seekers need to be aware of this and get their point across directly and briefly. All resume details need to be written in concise, bulleted lists with the most important details listed first. This will make the resume far easier to digest and the employer will retain the information better. Direct, short lists will also lead to a fair amount of white space. This is important, as white space is inviting while large blocks of text are intimidating. Job seekers need to write resumes employers actually want to read.