I’ve seen a ton of resumes over the years and a massive proportion of them suck. About 50% of the resumes I see get tossed for preventable reasons.
Some might say I’m highly critical. It’s true. I believe if you can’t dedicate the time and effort required to make a perfect resume – essentially a marketing document for yourself – why would I think you’ll put the effort into the job for which I’m hiring?
Below I’ll provide 10 quick tips to help you improve your resume as you look for a job:
- Spell your name correctly. Honestly, I once received a resume from a friend who spelled his name wrong. Beyond that, carefully look for spelling mistakes, grammar errors, typos, weird spacing, mis-alignment, and so on. You won’t believe the number of resumes I’ve seen on which the applicant states ‘attention to detail’ as a quality and then proceeds to make simple mistakes. It’s mind-boggling.
- Apply to the right job. It is obvious when applicants are using the ‘spray-and-pray’ method of job hunting. I receive resumes that have zero alignment to the position available. If your experience isn’t directly relevant, you need to make it relevant. I’m not going to figure out why someone who spent 5 years as a cashier at the GAP is a good candidate for a marketing coordinator position. Tell me in the intro. And if you must send a cover letter (p.s. I hate cover letters) please ensure you changed the intro from your last application.
- Keep it short. Unless you’ve worked 25 years doing research at NASA your resume should be 2 pages max. One is better. The resume is meant to get you an interview, not a job. So it only has to entice the reader to want to learn more. Stick to the highlights and elaborate during the interview.
- Experience is more important than education. Bury your education at the bottom of your email in case I care about your alma mater. Also, remove references to high school, unless that is where your education ended.
- I know references are available upon request. Don’t waste valuable real estate telling me that.
- Comic Sans, coloured paper and unnecessary use of gimmicky design gets your resume thrown in the circular file.
- Ensure any links on your resume (e.g. to your LinkedIn profile, email address, etc.) actually work.
- If your ‘objective’ isn’t specific, don’t include an objective. 75% of objectives are identical: “…a position where I can utilize my skills, develop my career, learn about the investments business, etc. etc.”. Just no. If you must write an objective, this is where you briefly explain how you plan to transition from GAP to marketing. And by the way, I’m not paying someone so I can help them learn the industry. First and foremost, I’m hiring someone to provide value to ME. So if you must use an objective, you better sell yourself in those one or two sentences.
- Resumes should be filled with outcomes, achievements and results. Keep the descriptions simple and focus on the results you generated for previous employers.
- Quantify. Numbers help make your achievements seem more real. Numbers also break up the copy and make your resume more digestible. Finally, it entices the reader to want to learn more. How did you manage to triple page views over 6 months? The only way for me to ask that question is to invite you for an interview.
Free Resume Review
If you want me to review your resume (no charge to you) subscribe below and respond to the confirmation email with a copy of your resume. I’ll be happy to provide feedback if you’d like.