4 Resume Writing Tips for Job Seekers

Resume Writing Tips

As a hiring manager and career coach, I have seen countless resumes throughout my career. Many job seekers tend to make the same costly mistakes that often result in their resumes being overlooked or immediately eliminated. While beautifully formatted resumes with flowery, superfluous words may be great for some professionals such as authors, they are generally not appropriate for the average worker.

What most job candidates don’t realize is that resumes often go through a tedious filtering process that may involve three or more steps before they even get to the hiring manager. It is a very common practice for human resource software program algorithms to sift through resumes before they ever make it to a human. Once a resume passes this stage, it is usually scanned by a human resource professional before it is then passed to the hiring department.

Once it reaches the hiring manager, the resume is generally thoroughly reviewed before it is shortlisted or handed over to a hiring committee for further evaluation. This process easily reduces the hiring pool to three to five job candidates out of hundreds of applicants.

This is why it is extremely important for job seekers to put forth their best efforts to make an excellent first impression! Below, you will find four tips to help you do just that.

Use a Template

Standardized templates are a sure fire way to help you be certain to include all the basic elements needed on your resume. While templates present a uniform guide for formatting resumes, they can easily be customized to help your resume stand out. But, where they shine is in their ability to capture the most important data elements in a way that immediately catches the reader’s attention.

All resume templates include basic criteria such as contact details, education, employment history, specialized skills, etc. Many templates format each of these elements using bold headings and subheadings with enlarged font that clearly define the most important aspects of the resume. Some templates even present an artistic, yet classy flare that can help resumes stand out even more.

Rather than reinventing the wheel and risk leaving out vital information from your resume, it is best to start your resume by using a template. There are many different styles of resume templates available in Microsoft Office and G Suite Marketplace, just to name a couple.

Keep it Short

Hiring managers truly appreciate well-written, well-formatted, and concise resumes. The standard length for a resume is one-page. It may not seem like a lot of space, but if used correctly it can say a lot about you as a candidate in many ways. Not only does a one-page resume give you the opportunity to showcase your knowledge, skills, and abilities, it also gives you an opportunity to showcase your sensibility.

Keep in mind that hiring managers generally have many tasks to accomplish on any given day. Chances are hiring duties are at the bottom of our priority list. So we appreciate it when candidates can present a professional, well-rounded picture of themselves in the fewest amount of words. In which case, a well formatted, one-page resume usually does the trick.

There are definitely cases where longer resumes or curriculum vitae are in order such as for professors, researchers, executives, and other highly skilled and experienced professionals. In fact, it is an expectation that these professionals present longer (usually 3-4 pages) curriculum vitae. However, these professionals should still be sensible and respectful of the hiring manager’s time.

As a hiring manager, I have tossed many long-winded resumes of highly qualified applicants because I knew that they would not be sensible or level-headed employees. If they couldn’t start the process off by showing me that they value my time during the job search, what was I to expect if I hired them? I wasn’t willing to take the chance to find out.

Only Include Sections You Need

This advice coincides with keeping your resume short. Resume templates present a general outline for the average job seeker – not all elements included on the template are applicable to everyone. If you don’t have any relevant information to put in a specific section, simply delete the section and move to the next one. Don’t make up things or state that you have nothing to put in that section (which I have seen candidates do by the way).

Additionally, don’t include sections that are simply not needed on a resume. For instance, I once had a candidate list all the professional development conferences that she had attended over the past 10 years or so on her resume. This not only increased the length of her resume by about two pages, it presented extraneous information that took me more time to read.

Hiring managers do not need this type of information. Generally, a copy of a professional license or certification will serve this purpose. Attendance at a conference tells me nothing about your skills and abilities. However, a professional license or certification, formal education, and relevant experience speaks volumes about your ability to perform.

So stick to the most important elements when writing your resume. The employer is most interested in the knowledge, skills, and abilities that you possess that directly correlate to the position which they are hiring for.

Don’t Include Redundant Information

Redundant information likewise increases the length and decreases the overall quality of a resume. There is no need to indicate that you will provide references upon request on a resume. This is a redundant statement that wastes space and adds nothing of value to the resume.

Objective statements are another pet peeve for many hiring managers. Most objective statements simply reiterate that the candidate is looking for a job which they are applying for. We already know you want the job once you submit your application or resume in response to the job advert. These types of statements add no substance to the resume and take up space that could be used to showcase valuable skill-sets.

If you have made any of these resume writing mistakes don’t fret, you can still revive your resume by implementing these tips. Or, you can contact us and we can help you format and write a winning resume that will definitely get you shortlisted.

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