So, you’re looking for a job, and you want it to be a good one. Maybe you’re considering switching career paths, maybe a great opportunity just opened up and you’ve got your eye on the prize. Below are some tips for tailoring your resume to the job you want.
Keep only relevant information on your resume. You are more likely to get noticed for relevant accomplishments.
Your first impression is your most important investment. One of the most frequently repeated mistakes that job-seekers make is using the same version of their resume for every application.
Time after time, candidates update their resumes by packing on every piece of their employment history, and sending the same version out to every application. This leads to cluttered resumes that potential employers will most likely “file” it in the garbage bin. This is not to say that you should lie, falsify or omit necessary information. Moreso, you You need to skillfully highlight important details of your work history, based on the job that you want. This is an excellent way to “level-up” in your career.
Use a Professional Resume Format
The standard resume format has become a bit more flexible over the years. The necessary information, however, has not changed. These should always be organized and easily read. The following sections should always be included on your resume:
- Your contact information.
- Your objective (why are you applying for this job?)
- Education & Work History
With this in mind, stylized resumes are more popular than ever. This is a great way to get yourself noticed, and show that you care about how you present yourself. Just as you would dress your best for the interview, your resume should look just as polished. This should not take away from your professionalism.
- Make sure all fonts are legible and professional.
- Good Fonts: Times New Roman, Georgia (these are called “serifs”); Arial, Futura, Verdana, Helvetica (these are called “sans-serifs).
- Bad Fonts: anything swirly, scripts, cursive, or hand-written.
- Give each section a clear, legible header. Make it slightly larger, maybe in bold. You want your hiring manager / interviewer to be able to quickly glance at a section to reference information.
- Use no more than 2 fonts, ever. Do not mix how they are used. This method clearly distinguishes headers from body text, and makes information easier to find. And showing a little style with carefully chosen fonts is always a nice touch.
- One font for all of your headers.
- One font for your body and list text.
When writing your resume and cover letter, think of yourself as a product.
When selling a product, you want to highlight both the features, and the benefits. Your features are the experience (previous jobs, education), and your benefits are the skills you’ve acquired that would benefit the company that’s looking to hire you. For example, take a person with a lot of retail experience. In Minnesota, the average pay rate is $8-$10 per hour for retail and retail middle-management. Let’s pretend that this retail veteran has been interested in getting an administrative or receptionist job, where the hours are more regular and pay starts out a few notches higher. This person would want to highlight the features and benefits of their previous experience. From retail, they’ve learned:
- “Customer Service,”
- “Written & Verbal Communication,”
- “Cash and register balancing,”
- “Creative problem solving,”
- “Nightly paperwork and reports.”
These are concrete, relevant skills this person has learned in retail, that would transfer and be extremely beneficial to have in the reception field.
And most importantly…
Remember to proofread! It always helps to have a second set of eyes – so check, double-check, and then find a friend or colleague to scan over it once more before it hits your interviewer’s desk.