Writing a resume and keeping it updated can be a daunting and often frustrating task. From creating your first resume to updating it after 20 years in the workforce, it is not easy. However, it can make the difference between getting the job you want. Think of your resume as a marketing tool for you to showcase your different roles and related accomplishments. Hiring Managers and Recruiters will only spend 20-30 seconds scanning this document initially, so here are some help hints to create the most impactful resume that you can.
PROOFREAD YOUR RESUME. The biggest resume mistake anyone can make is having spelling and grammatical errors. Use spellcheck and in addition have a friend, colleague or family member proofread it. Another set of eyes is very helpful and highly recommended. Grammatical and spelling errors reflect on your attention to detail and ability to communicate. In many cases, resume errors can be a non-starter for job applicants.
USE A SIMPLE FORMAT. Keep the format of your resume neat, clean and concise. Avoid long paragraphs and detailed narrative. Use your cover letter for details and storytelling. Two pages is the maximum length that I recommend for any resume. If you have multiple years of work experience (20+), be sure to focus on the last 10 years and eliminate early jobs that do not add relevance to the current position(s) that you are pursuing. You can summarize those early positions in an interview. If you have less than 10 years of work experience, aim to keep your resume to one page.
USE BULLET POINTS STRATEGICALLY. Bullet points should be used to describe specific and measurable accomplishments. Avoid using bullet points to laundry list job responsibilities. Focus on specific business results that you achieved in each of your jobs. For example, what initiatives, programs and projects did you own and what were the results? Lazlo Bock, SVP People Operations at Google’s Bock shared his “personal formula for a winning resume” on LinkedIn and outlines this point in great detail.
EDIT YOUR RESUME TO BE RELEVANT. It is impossible to include every detail of every job, so make sure that the content you include on your resume is the most relevant to the specific position that you are applying. It will take extra time and effort to edit your resume for each position, but the pay off will be worth it. Make sure you take the time to edit and update your resume content often.
Remember, the first review of your resume will most likely be a quick scan, so make it impactful and relevant. Remember to think of your resume as your marketing tool. What does it say about you and how do you want to be perceived by potential employers? Take the time to write the most impactful resume that showcases your relevant abilities and accomplishments.