It’s time for that transition you’ve been waiting for! A new position opened up that you’ve been eyeing for months now. You’ve worked up the ranks, gained experience, and you’re ready to make the next move. So you click to apply…
“Please submit resume and cover letter”
Uh-oh. Resume? Cover letter? When was the last time you looked at those? 2005?
Well then, lets start fresh! You’ll find that there are various different ways to produce a solid resume, but no matter which you choose, there are 4 characteristics every resume should have.
If you really want that new position, your resume must be:
First things first, at the top of your resume you should place an objective. What goal are you trying to accomplish with your resume?
Your resume should be split up into sections so it is easy to navigate. Group like information together, have a column for work experience, one for awards, and one for education (or whatever you hope to include).
List items in chronological order, or in order of most relevance to the job you are applying.
When writing out all your information each block should follow the same format. For example :
Position held………………………………………………………………(Start-End Date)
Company at which employed
Description of job you held at place for so many years and were so great at, that now you’re applying to a new job. Or you hated it and you writing down all the dumb tasks you did and responsibilities you wish you wouldn’t have had.
In the example, emphasis is put on the position held and its duration. However, if you worked at the same company for many years you might want to write all jobs held there under one header. Whichever way you would like to organize your information, make sure it follows the same format so it is easily read. This leads to our 2nd characteristic….
Readable… isn’t it legible? Nope sorry, not the same thing. Hopefully you typed your resume, if that’s the case, legibility will be the least of your worries. Organization and readability go hand in hand. Quick tip: Splitting your text into columns allows your audience to have an enjoyable and easy reading experience. Why’d you think newspapers and magazines just don’t go straight across? It allows for speedy and more willing reading.
Font size, everyone’s worst nightmare. Here are words to live by: 14pt is too big, 8pt is too small, but 10pt is jusssttttt rightttt. Fun fact: Newspaper font is usually 9pt font, anything smaller than that, we’re going to need a magnifying glass to find out about you. We’re also not reading a tween novel here, your potential employer doesn’t want to see giant font on your resume. Much like font size, font style is important too. Pick something clean but still reflects you and the job you’re applying for. (Cambria, Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman) whether its serif (with the tails, Times New Roman) or sans serif (without the tails, Arial) pick a font that is most appropriate for your industry.
Brief but informative summaries. It’s true, your resume only needs to be one page long. So cut irrelevant positions, and extraneous information. Use this one page limit as a benefit to show the best side of you in the least amount of words.
Whelp, if you’ve been taking this advice thus far,your resume is already lookin’ pretty fancy! Organization, style consistency, and readability are all great tools to helping your resume get the updated facelift it needs. Printing on nice paper can also be a benefit during an in-person interview. Here’s a little secret, using paper with a watermark shows you went the extra mile to up your “fanciness”
Here are some extra tips:
If you’re sending your resume electronically send it as a PDF, NEVER A WORD DOCUMENT. If you do that…bam, garbage, done with you.
If you’ve been out of school for 10+ years, you might want to think about putting your education at the bottom of your resume, if its even going on it at all. That’s not your main selling point anymore, you have years of experience behind you, advertise that first. If your potential employer wants to know where you went to school or which degrees you have, they’ll find out.
Don’t use strange colors on your resume, stick to blacks and grays.
Finally, your cover letter should say what your resume can not. Don’t use it as a summary, use it as a chance for the employer to learn about you and how you can be asset to them. Your resume is that extra padding of facts, but your cover letter should sell you.