Writing a good resume is an art. And with any art, it takes time to develop and will go through several iterations along the way to completion. It is not only a snapshot of your work history and experience but also it exhibits your ability to clearly and concisely convey your background. As a recruiter, I have seen thousands of resumes, both good and bad. I’ve compiled this list of resume tips based on some of the common errors that I have observed.
1. Resumes for most people should be one page in length. There are some exceptions to this rule (e.g. you have more than 12 years applicable experience). If you think you fit an exception, get a 2nd opinion first.
2. Do not use a template from MS Word. You want your resume to stand-out, so don’t use a template that millions of people have access to.
3. Use a professional font but not Times New Roman. Three safe options are Garamond, Calibri and Helvetica, but these are not the only ones.
4. Always tailor your resume to the specific job for which you are applying.
5. Keep it clean and clutter free. Make sure there is some white space on your resume. Maintain at least ½ inch margins and double space between sections and headings.
6. Use bullet points to list only your relevant duties and accomplishments at each job.
7. Do not include your age, birthday, marital, or familial status or your self-portrait on your resume.
8. Be consistent with tense, punctuation, and voice.
9. Don’t lie, ever. It’s okay to omit information or be vague, but don’t claim to have a degree if you don’t, or inflate your GPA, sales figures, or length of employment, etc. The best policy is to stick with the truth or just leave it out.
10. Proofread, proofread, and then have someone else proofread. Typos on a resume can be fatal!