9 Unbeatable Steps Great Resumes Use to Grab Employers

January 14th, 2015 | Articles, Resume | No Comments »

Writing a Great Resume

What keeps your resume from passing the 6 second review? The answer is easy enough: hiring managers aren’t enticed.

Hundreds of emails clog their inboxes per position. Many have all the flavor and originality of a freeze-dried, fast food patty. Want to stand out? A great resume brings together these 9 ingredients and leaves the hiring manager craving more.

1.) Design a Simple and Clean Resume

The design is the first thing that registers in anyone’s mind. Resume templates suggest assembly line mass production. A great resume looks like a customized Cadillac in comparison. That’s why design needs to be given consideration.

Lindon Leader, the commercial designer behind the FedEx logo, says that great design is born of two things: simplicity and clarity. A great resume isn’t any different.

  • The font is simple and elegant (i.e. sans-serif, clean fonts).
  • All the main points of interest (Name, Contact Info, Titles, Employers, Education, and Technical Skills) are in plain sight.
  • No unnecessary accolades or experiences are given the spotlight.

2.) Increase Flow with White Space

Your resume needs some breathing room. At first, it may seem counterintuitive. You want to include every detail that’ll entice the hiring manager but ask any graphic designer: an equitable amount of open space adds value to what’s there.

Stick with standard margins with a 1 in. border on all sides. Trimming them down or bulking them up always looks suspect.

More than that, you need space between paragraphs. Otherwise, your resume can look ugly or cluttered.

3.) Hyperlink to Your Portfolio or LinkedIn

Feel confined in your one or two page resume? Linking back to a portfolio or LinkedIn profile can achieve things that words alone cannot.

Client testimonials, technical blogs, and visual representations of work can all be included with a handful of links that don’t otherwise clutter the page. It’s a huge payoff for only a little work.

4.) Create a Narrative

Compelling stories are told in great resumes. They may not win any Pulitzers, but your career story implies your career was planned, not a happy accident. That’s where the executive statement is effective.

In a great resume, your executive statement is your elevator pitch. It quickly and cleanly summarizes your career, your personal brand, and what makes you worthy of hiring. Additionally, an executive statement references your best achievements in the jobs listed below it.

Employers don’t always read it first, but when they read it, a vivid impression lasts.

5.) Be Energetic with Strong Action Verbs

You don’t have to apply for a copywriter job for word choice to matter. Some words are used so often, they’re threadbare. Led, made, produced, used, and helped are functional, but they aren’t enticing. Orchestrated, devised, fabricated, deployed, and cooperated all command greater attention.

You can still get an interview with these weak verbs, but it’s a strike against your resume that you don’t need. Grab a thesaurus or check out General Employment’s strong verb list before you get down to the heart of writing your resume.

6.) Fit Keywords in Smart Places

Don’t be too stingy or liberal with your use of keywords. A great resume in the information technology field includes keywords in two places: in the body of each individual job and a central “technical skills” section.

This achieves two things: it makes your resume more SEO friendly and shows your skills in action. Often, bad resumes just include technical skills without any context.

7.) Pick Achievements Over Responsibilities

Daily duties don’t show the sum of all your hard work. At most, they suggest you are a loyal clerk who puts in time day in and day out. But what about the results?

Writing a great resume requires that you reflect on your proudest moments.

Did your code work earn $150,000 in additional revenue? Did your diligent infrastructure support ensure a 95% client retention rate?

Talk about it. No one else will be your advocate.

8.) Remove Outdated or Irrelevant Skills

A great resume isn’t an autobiography. You don’t need to include every little detail (the length of your resume would be painfully long).

Instead, only include skills that are relevant for the position.

Antique technologies can make you look like a relic. Don’t give anyone any reason to disqualify you.

9.) Proofread

Reread every word you’ve written. To make a resume great, you need to be a clinical proofreader.

Any grammatical error, misspelling, or incorrect numerical value looks as bad as mismatched, neon socks or a stained shirt or blouse in the interview.

Reread your work every time you make a change. It catches minor mistakes

Reverse the order you reread your resume (last sentence to the first). It allows your brain to take the sentence out of its context and catch mistakes.

Request a friend or family member read it. A second pair of eyes comes with its own point of view.

Mixing Them All Together

Alone, these 9 resume tips are great practices, but it’s when they’re put together that they’re fuel for your great resume. Each time you follow these steps, you’ll get yourself closer and closer to landing a new job.

by James Walsh

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