There’s no worst first impression than a bad resume. Recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds looking at your resume before forming an opinion of you. So open up that word document and make sure you’re following these 23 tips to put your best “foot” forward.
1. Switch up your font: USA Today recommends switching the font of your resume to Helvetica, Arial, or Times New Roman—in other words, a font that’s easy to read.
2. Get rid of “References Available Upon Request.” Most employers assume you have references, and that you’ll provide them if asked. Save this space for something else.
3. Remove made up words. You’re not Shakespeare. Making your own words like “stratergy” will get you noticed, but not in a good way says recruiter Ellen Bird.
4. Save it as a PDF. They’re easy to open and insure your formatting won’t get all wonky.
5. Skip the objective. They’ve become a little dated and take up valuable space you could be filling with stats and skills.
6. Read it out loud. Steal this copywriter trick: Reading your resume out loud helps you catch any spelling mistakes or misused words. “If you find yourself tripping over a sentence as you read it, chances are there’s a problem with your grammar or syntax,” says ResumeTarget founder Amos Tayts.
7. Include social media links. There’s no need for your address anymore, but don’t forget to include your professional social handles. Are you an amazing UI designer that tweets daily tips and tricks? Pop on your @handle by your website and email.
8. Edit for length. As a rule, says The Muse, “you should only show the most recent 10-15 years of your career history and only include the experience relevant to the positions to which you are applying.”
9. Include numbers. Statistics speak volumes and including numbers helps make sections of your resume pop.
10. Add volunteer work. Spent a large amount of time freelance writing or donating your professional skills to a charity or non-profit? Absolutely list these in the body of your resume as their own “jobs.”
11. Make hyperlinks live. Chances are your resume will be read on a computer, so making things like your Linked In profile clickable, makes it easier for the recruiter to learn more about you.
12. Remove your graduation year. If you’re more than a couple years out of college, there’s no need to list a graduation date. Recruiters usually just want to know that you have a degree.
13. Reduce your margins. Need more space without shrinking your font? Try reducing your top and bottom margins to 0.5″ and your side margins to 0.75″.
14. Update your skills section. Recently take a class in Photoshop? Don’t forget to add it to your list of skills.
15. Skip the visuals. Unless you are a designer or are submitting a carefully crafted creative resume, remove any photos or visual elements says USA Today. On a more traditional resume, they distract from the information at hand.
16. Mix it up. If every bullet point starts with “Responsible for…” whoever is reading your resume will get bored. Break out a thesaurus and find some different words.
17. Don’t overuse buzzwords. Speaking of words, skip overused ones like “detail-oriented” and “people person” they’re vague and chronically overused. Find a better word to describe how amazing you are.
18. Add awards. Did you win a Clio like Don Draper? Add a section for awards and include it. “You’d be surprised how many creative professionals fail to include these” says Monster.com.
19. Mac or PC? If you only have skills in one platform or can work in both, it’s important to include that so the recruiter doesn’t pass you over.
20. Include your portfolio. Make sure to include a link to your online portfolio or at the very least your Linked In profile where someone can see examples of your past work.
21. List languages. There are lots of jobs for bilingual professionals. Make sure to list other languages you speak even if it doesn’t seem relevant. You never know when a recruiter might be looking for a Spanish speaking Presentation Specialist or FED.
22. Save it with your name. Ready to attach your resume and send it into the world? Save it as “Regina Falange Resume” instead of just “Resume” to help the hiring manager out.
23. Write towards the future. Tell the reader what you accomplished in your position, not just your daily tasks. Levo.com says “Too often, resumes are a conglomerate of CliffNotes of prior job descriptions. A job description tells me what you were hired to do, not if you actually did it—and beyond that, if you did it well.”
Need more help crafting the perfect resume?
Contact one of our Artisan Talent recruiters today, or check out these other resume focused posts: