Creating your resume is hard work if you want to do it right. Having the best resume you can have will up your chances for landing interviews and eventually jobs, and with the way jobs are becoming harder to find, especially as a new graduate or in entry-level positions. According to a study on EPI.com,
In March 2015, the overall unemployment rate was 5.5 percent, and the unemployment rate of workers under age 25, at 12.3 percent, was 2.2 times as high…the Class of 2015 will join a sizable backlog of unemployed college graduates from the last six graduating classes (the classes of 2009–2014) in a difficult job market.
That’s not good no matter which way you look at it, and with so many other people competing for jobs, you’re going to need to have a top notch resume to help you along.
Here are my tips to remember when creating your resume:
Disclaimer: These tips help with more traditional roles and do not necessarily work for more creative roles that require resumes to be more unique and stand out.
KISS Method: Keep It Simple (Stupid)
This method can apply to anything, and it definitely helps with resumes. Using simple, basic fonts like Arial or Times New Roman make your resume look more put together and professional. Using unique or crazy fonts can make things harder to read and can make the resume look more cluttered than need be.
Keep things Black and White
Don’t go adding any funky colors to your resume unless it’s something you believe your industry would appreciate. I might be a bit old fashioned, but I recommend having at least one resume that’s in black and white. It’s simple (going with point #1) and clean. What more would a hiring manager want when looking at a resume?
Create a Skills Section, and Leave It Near the Top
I think this is the most important part of a resume, though I do primarily deal with IT resumes which usually have a large amount of programs, software, hardware, etc. But having a list in either a paragraph or bullets is a quick way you can showcase what you know in your respective fields.
Also, don’t be afraid to add some that may not exactly apply to the exact job description. You never know what skills a hiring manager could find useful. The hiring manager that hired me was interested in my photography skills even though I applied to a job to format resumes.
Stay Away from Tables, Text Boxes, Content Controls and the Drawing Tool
This is a personal pet peeve of mine. I format IT resumes at my work and it’s such a pain in the ass trying to fix a resume when there’s so many things causing trouble! Adding things like a table or text boxes might seem like great ways to have more control over your resume and where you put your information, but you can do most of what you want without them.
AND if you’re submitting your resume to a larger company that’s getting hundreds of resumes per day, they’re most likely using a program to sort through. Things like tables, text boxes and the like prevent them from reading what’s inside them. So if you have your entire resume is in a table, it may not be able to read anything at all.
Related: How to Deal with Unemployment: Take Back Millennial
Don’t Add Pictures
I’ve come across quite a few resumes where people will include head shots, company logos, and even a picture of their college degree… To go along with sorting programs inability to read through text boxes, the definitely can’t read pictures. And they just don’t look very good.
Related: 5 Stages of Underemployment
Don’t Add Unnecessary Information
While the fact that you were a coach for your son’s little league team may be heartwarming and adorable, it’s most likely not going to help you land a Software Engineering position. Go through your resume and make sure everything on your resume absolutely shows that you are qualified for the job you’re applying to.
I’m not a big fan of adding most extra curricular activities to resumes unless you’re recently graduated, held a position within the organization, or it’s directly related to the industry you’re applying to. The only reason I can see adding these when you’re not a recent grad is because you have a gap in your resume and need to show you’ve done something with your time.
Utilize White Space
White space is a HUGE thing for me. If there’s very little white space within a resume, it’s going to look squished which can turn people off from reading it in general. Want to know why writers and bloggers tend to write in short paragraphs and lists instead of long ass paragraphs? It’s intimidating and doesn’t make anyone want to read it.
According to Redstar Resume a hiring manager will spend about 20-30 seconds looking at your resume before making the decision if they want to put you in the “interview” pile or just throw it in the bin. I feel that’s a generous average, but it all depends on the person, how many other resumes they have to go through, etc. If it’s a giant block of text, you can be sure that it’s getting thrown in the bin.
This goes along with point #6, but use bullet points in your job description. You can choose to add a small summary under the job, but when you want to get specific use bullets to break up all the important tasks you’ve done. This makes it easier for a hiring manager to glance over and easily see if you’re qualified.
Have any other suggestions? Have a story about a resume you want to share? Let me know in the comments!