Whether you’ve just completed your education, have hit a wall where you started and seek career growth in another organization, or simply want to test the waters of opportunity, one of the first things you will want to get into place and up-to-date, will be your résumé.
You don't want to miss a beat when it comes to building a refined and professional résumé that will be your key to success and open those doors in a competitive job market.
There are several right (and wrong) ways to be noticed by a hiring manager and potential employer. Here are 9 key tips to help give you that extra edge and stick out in the workforce.
1. Font: Before you even begin to type all of the amazing things you’ve accomplished, you need to decide upon a clean, smart font that makes you unique, yet is not distracting or hard on the eyes. You could always go with Times New Roman, by why go with the status quo when you could have a slick, modern font that lets HR know you mean business. Consider fonts such as Helvetica, Didot, Arial, Calibri or Garamond. Stay far away from fonts such as Courier, Zapfino, Comic Sans and of course Wingdings - now that’s just ridiculous.
2. Whitespace: As you continue on, remember to have an astute eye on the design and layout. Keep it legible by using bullet points to keep it clean and uncluttered. Use the whitespace to your advantage to keep the reader’s eyes working through without a struggle and keep all of your text relevant and to the point.
3. Keywords: Keywords are very important to add throughout your resume. Larger firms use robots to scan resumes and narrow down large hiring pools. Think of things that are relevant to the position you are applying to. Did you work on a standout project with this particular company in the past? Did you collaborate with a known guru in your field? Did you help a team accomplish a public success? Include these things!
4. Focus on Your Successes: When writing out your professional experience, focus on your successes and think of the structure as telling a story. Lead them through your work experience in the form of a journey. You will want to wow them from the beginning so don't put that groundbreaking feat at the bottom of the last page. But also don't write a novel. Think in smart plugs or phrases that get to the point and keep the reader moving along.
5. Technical Skills: Technology is continually adapting. You should too. Always include current technical abilities that you know and try to stay up-to-date with the current trends and needed skills that employers use, and obtain those necessary certifications that will make your resume rise to the top of the stack.
6. Education: Remember to include your education, but keep it at the end. Employers are looking to see what you’ve been doing since school and are focused on what you’ve used from your education to grow in your field. If you are just out of school, you will obviously have much less experience. So, think in terms of including internships, and other things you have worked on that lend to helping you get the position to which you are applying.
7. Stay Current and Be Job Specific: Think of your resume as a work in progress. You are constantly growing, adding skills and accomplishing goals - keep your résumé current. When you apply to a particular job, present your experience that is in-line with the company or organization you are applying to. Let them see similarities that also compliment their needs in the position, and leave off transitional jobs that have no relevance to your future.
8. Doc vs. PDF: How you send your résumé off is also something important to consider. If it’s a cut and paste situation, or if you are applying through a third party such as LinkedIn, this is a moot point. However, if they are asking you to upload a file, consider uploading a word doc or in rich text format. This goes back to that whole keyword thing I mentioned previously. Robots can’t read those keywords in a PDF. Don’t get thrown into the trash before a human has even seen it!
9. Get an Extra Eye: Before you send it off into the abyss and pace around frantically waiting for that call, reread it several times to try and find any spelling or grammatical errors that could set you back. One way to help catch those easily missed errors is to have a friend or colleague give it view. Sometimes we miss simple mistakes because we are too close and our minds fix the errors as we read over them. Don’t let that happen to you. Ask for help!
Now that you have some quick tips to sharpen up your résumé, get out there and start applying for that next big opportunity. Also, remember to breathe. Patience is key and that perfect job will be presented to you at the right time.
You will learn more tips like this from working professionals if you are enrolled in one of our many course offerings. Visit nycda.com for more information on how we can help you!