At this point in my resume-writing career, I have written over 2,000 resumes for people in a variety of fields. Executives, marketing consultants, accountants, teachers, sales professionals, truck drivers, plumbers, pharmaceutical representatives—and almost everything in-between. While all of those professions are unique, one thing remains the same with each of these resumes. The main focus should be the information. Don’t get fancy with your resume—get TO-THE-POINT.
Your information does need to stand out. But, it shouldn’t be at the mercy of adding key words, focusing on your accomplishments, and ensuring all information is easy-to-understand and focused on that particular job opportunity. The reasoning and tips below will help to verify that YOUR resume is going in the right direction.
#1 – Don’t add graphics or clip art. While most people don’t do this, it’s still important to say. At one point, I worked with someone that add a rainbow and some clouds in the upper corners of her resume. She was in a field where relaxation and serenity was important, but the graphics only detracted from the pertinent information. If you are a graphic designer or are in a visual field, then share a link to your online portfolio on the resume.
#2 – Eliminate the use of tables and graphs. As with graphics, these detract from the information and clog-up the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) – software scanning programs that many companies utilize when hiring new talent. In fact, these types of images and formatting may force your resume out of an ATS, thereby eliminating your opportunity for an interview altogether.
#3 – Hiring managers are BUSY. They don’t have time to ‘weed through’ extra materials and information at this point in the hiring process. In fact, some statistics have shown that a recruiter or hiring professional only reviews a resume for approximately five to seven seconds on a first pass-through. If that’s the case, then you want them to get to the ‘meat’ of the material immediately.
#4 – Focus on accomplishments and achievements. Did you know that there are probably a lot of people that have a similar job description as you? That’s right. So…don’t just copy-and-paste your job description. It gets boring and they have seen it all before. Instead, think about your achievements at your past positions. Did you increase sales by 40% within 18 months? Were you the supervisor of 50 team members? And, how did that impact the company? By focusing on the effect of your efforts, you made, you will allow yourself to stand apart from other applicants.
#5 – Simple is best. Trying to ‘out-fancy’ someone else will not lead to a new job opportunity. Focusing on your successes and your unique competencies will move you away from the crowd. Use a simple font such as Calibri, don’t use numerous colors, eliminate graphics, and putting an emphasis on relevant skills and job experience will lead to a better chance for an interview.
If you would like additional resume tips, check out our Top 5 Resume Tips to GET THE INTERVIEW. And, if you are a seasoned employee – check out our NEW Top 10 Resume Tips for Job Seekers Over the Age of 40.