Résumé Tips From Hiring ManagersOctober 29, 2018
You need a new job or you need your first “real” job to start paying off those student loans. For most people that means you need a résumé. If you really want to get noticed, or simply not get rejected, you need a good résumé. We talked to hiring and talent acquisition managers, C-suite executives and other really smart people to bring you the best advice. We want to help you get that dream job.
This may sound cliché, but everyone told us proofing is the best thing you can do. Go over it with a fine-tooth comb and have others look at it, too. A grammar, spelling or formatting error on your résumé shows you don’t pay attention to detail. In addition to not paying attention to detail it could give the impression that you simply don’t care. Nothing is a bigger turnoff to a potential employer.
Objectives – out
If someone is looking at your résumé, they know you are looking for a job. You don’t need to tell them in an objective statement. Instead, start with a short summary statement. The summary statement could discuss why you’re the best candidate for this job. The summary should be supported by your previous work experience. Below is an example from Columbia University Center for Career Education:
Example- “Publishing executive with multi-faceted background encompassing international licensing and brand management. Developed specialties in editorial planning, global marketing strategy, and design. Managed multiple projects simultaneously and eﬃciently by overseeing the daily operations of 17 magazine titles worldwide. Proven ability to develop strong relationships across cultures and to provide decisive team leadership in a fast-paced environment.”
Tinder® Experience a Plus
Putting together a résumé can be a lot like putting together a dating profile. It’s a delicate balance of putting your best traits forward without overselling yourself. Getting too cute or creative can come off as cheesy or desperate. Never lie or misrepresent your role or accomplishments. Lying or misrepresentation might get you a date, but it won’t make for a successful relationship.
- Show the numbers. “Don’t just tell me you worked on something, tell me you improved something by 20%,” one person told us. Be specific and measurable if possible.
- Do the math; your current job may not track the results you want to include. It’s okay to do the math yourself to help tell your story. Just make sure it’s accurate.
- Problem, action, result. Bullet points should follow this format if possible. Be specific about what you did, not what your job is/was. (see example in next bullet)
- Avoid passive job functions like, “Oversaw workforce of 8 employees dedicated to customer service.” Instead go with something like “Mentored, trained and managed daily activities for 8 customer service representatives resulting in an 15% improvement in average likelihood to recommend score among customers.”
- Skip the basics. Oh, you’re proficient at MS Office? Everyone is, and even if you’re not it’s fairly expected. Include more specialized software or instances where you might be highly proficient. Like data modeling in excel for example. That’s okay.
- Only include personal interests or hobbies if they are relevant to the position.
- Don’t include social handles (other than LinkedIn®) if they aren’t relevant to the position.
Keywords and customization
- Always customize language in your résumé to fit the job description you’re applying for. If they use specific jargon, work it into your résumé because that’s what they’ll be looking for.
- Don’t overdo it with keywords. A lot of bigger companies use keyword scanning software, so it’s important to include them, but they’re also used to spot the overuse of these words as well.
- Make sure you’re speaking their language. It’s okay to translate titles. If you have a non-traditional job title like “customer success advocate” consider replacing that for industry standard language like “account manager” or whatever is appropriate.
We got conflicting advice on what to do with contact information. Some people told us you might want to leave off details like your city if you don’t live in that city because some employers might prefer a local candidate. Conversely, you might want to include it if you are local. Some say that phone number and email are important, while others say the trend is moving toward just including your LinkedIn® address. We like this last option because it can leave room for more important things, but we recognize this may be highly situational.
Design and formatting
Don’t make dumb mistakes that get your résumé thrown off the pile. A good design in the résumé world is not typically cutting edge. Yes, if it’s too plain it may get overlooked. The best résumés are usually form over function. The main purpose is to make it easy to read. People don’t typically spend a lot of time with a résumé, so if they have to work to read it, it will get tossed aside. It should look good on screen and on paper.
- Use a template. You can search for templates or you can use résumé building sites like uptowork.com. Certain industries may prefer certain styles. Do your research.
- Keep it simple. Choose one simple easy to read font. Never something goofy like Comic Sans. Yes, more than one person told us they got a résumé with Comic Sans.
- In general, it’s best not to go overboard with colors, symbols or lines.
- Stick to one page. Especially early in your career. Don’t overstuff it with irrelevant information. Save some for the interview.
- Make sure you’re using the proper tense. Past for old jobs and achievements. Present for current.
- Don’t include a picture. Unless you’re a model or your picture is relevant for some reason.
- Save it as a PDF file. Word files don’t always translate well. Especially if there’s a lot of special formatting. A PDF will be more consistent between computers.
- Make your filename [First Name/Last Name.résumé] (ie. John Smith.résumé.pdf) not Jonrésumé2019.pdf.
The résumé is only part of the equation.
The best résumé is only valuable when people see it. A lot of candidates are hired through referrals, relationship, and persistence. Work as hard or harder on getting your résumé in the right hands as you do on your actual résumé. Also, here’s a few more tips away from the résumé.
- Make sure you put as much thought into your LinkedIn® profile as you do your résumé. Make sure there are no mistakes and it reflects on you the same way your résumé does. One executive told us this is equally, if not more important than a résumé, especially for networking. They said, an email has a good chance of going unnoticed, but a message on LinkedIn® almost never does.
- Social Scrub. Take a serious look at your social channels, even if they are not listed. Employers often take a look when they get serious about a candidate. Many told us they have had social media tip the scales the wrong way for a prospective employee. Take down posts you think might be offensive or give the wrong impression.
You’re hired now what?!
Great, but don’t forget your résumé. Most of us don’t stay in the same job forever. Your next job often doesn’t come around when you expect it, so keep your résumé fresh. It’s a good idea to write down your accomplishments when they happen so when you need it, you’re ready.
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