First impressions are vital due to the nature of only having one opportunity for them. Your resume serves as your first impression with a potential employer. It says a lot about you, and not merely in terms of the content listed on its page(s). The formats, fonts, spacing, and length all say something about you as candidate. While every candidate is unique and therefore each resume likewise is unique, there are some foundational guidelines one should follow when creating or updating their resume. There are also some mistakes that can be easily avoided. We outline some key items for consideration below.
Proofread – While this may seem obvious, you’d be amazed how many resumes submitted contain typographical, spelling, or grammatical errors. Spell check and have a third party proofread the resume prior to submission.
Use Keywords – Both in your cover letter and resume, be sure to maximize the number of keywords that match your experience and the job description. Make it clear that you have experience doing the work they’re looking to have done.
Use Bullets – A long resume with many paragraphs can be daunting to look at. Bullets force brevity and appear to be more manageable to get through.
Include Accomplishments – Especially for sales roles, including your tangible accomplishments in addition to your daily functions show that not only were you competent at daily tasks, but you also achieved success.
Show Promotions – If you held multiple roles at a company over time, be sure to delineate between the roles as opposed to combining them into a single entry.
Include Contact Information – You don’t need to include your street address, but the city in which you reside along with email, phone, and (potentially) website are all useful for the person getting in touch with you.
Format – In addition to optimal spacing, you should utilize bold, italics and potentially two different fonts in order to make sure things are highlighted where intentioned.
Lie or Embellish – Fake it until you make it is a slogan that will likely see you fired and your reputation several damaged.
Overdo the Design – A resume should be aesthetically appealing. However, this can quickly become overdone if not careful. The formatting should still be easily read (both bye human eyes and potential software that interprets the information on a resume)
Include hobbies – Unless it relates somehow to the role you’re applying for, the finite amount of space on your resume should be reserved for applicable skills and experiences
Use an unprofessional email – Make sure that the email address you have listed on your resume is one that you want someone to read. Your first and/or last name in some combination is the safest route to go.
Make It Too Long – Unless you’re applying for a senior role, one page is sufficient.