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8 Tips for Designing a Better Resume

A resume is the most important document in your career. It’s the first thing potential employers see about you. If it’s not polished and flawless and doesn’t make you seem like the perfect candidate, chances are it’ll get tossed aside in favor of more competitive candidates. So how can you craft a solid resume that will get you noticed and help you stand out from the crowd?

Here are eight tips for designing a better resume.

Make it relevant

Get rid of skills and job experiences that aren’t related to the job you’re applying for. No one cares that you bussed tables unless you’re applying for a restaurant job. Maybe it was valuable life experience, but the soft skills you picked up from that job can be demonstrated in other ways. And don’t include anything from high school unless you’re new to the workforce or you did something really incredible during those years, like cured cancer or negotiated a peace treaty.

Polish it up

No typos, spelling errors or grammatical mistakes. Keep your fonts, spacing and margins consistent. Don’t try any clever or fancy formatting, this isn’t a wedding invitation—limit your fonts to Helvetica, Arial or Times New Roman. Your top and bottom margins can be 0.5” and your side margins no less than 0.75”. Remember, a lot of companies use applicant tracking systems that scan resumes digitally, so the cleaner, the better.

Change the file name

When you save it, label your resume “[First name] [Last Name] Resume” so it’s easy for hiring managers and recruiters to find in a pool of files. Save it as a PDF so the formatting doesn’t get messed up when it’s opened on a different computer.

Remove excessive items

Like your address. If recruiters see that, they might automatically omit you as a candidate for out-of-state jobs. You can also remove the line, “references available upon request.” Everyone knows that and it’s a waste of precious space. You can also delete your resume objective—that’s pretty obvious, too.

Improve your word choice

First, go through all of your verbs and change them out for more powerful action verbs that show off the valuable contributions you made at your previous company. Next, read over your adjectives and do the same. Instead of generic terms, use stronger ones that highlight your unique strengths.

Show off your accomplishments

Add numbers and percentages wherever you can that demonstrate the magnitude of your efforts. And use numerals instead of words—31% instead of thirty-one percent.

Include links

Add your LinkedIn profile and make any hyperlinks—either to your social media pages or personal blogs and websites—live.

Edit – a Lot

Read it out loud to yourself to catch any errors and awkward sentences. Then have a friend look it over. Bonus points if it’s a friend in your industry. They might offer some inspiration or wording you hadn’t thought of.

For more tips on crafting a resume, contact our team today.

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