As a longtime recruiter who has worked with companies from 3 to 30,000 employees, I’ve filled hundreds of jobs and pored through thousands of resumes. I know what stands out and what gets tossed. As a career coach regularly rewriting resumes for clients and preparing them for their job search via networking, social media, cover letters, interview practice and more, my goal is to help them get that first interview.
Here are my top 10 tips to help you in the all-important first step of creating an effective resume…
1) Customize. This often gets misinterpreted. Don’t omit jobs. Instead, shrink or expand summaries to ensure relevant qualifications stand out. Let them quickly see you can do the job.
2) Incorporate technical skills. Listing software in a keyword search paragraph doesn’t tell me when (or how) it’s been used. For all I know, listing Raiser’s Edge could refer to an online tutorial taken five years ago. Note the applications you’ve used under each job listing.
3) Replace “Objective” with “Summary .” A customized summary acts as a mini-cover letter, condensing relevant qualifications. Mention industries you’ve worked in, especially when transitioning between non-profit and for-profit or highlighting your ability to work in diverse environments.
4) Stop talking about personality. Do you think we’re going to call because you said you’re a go-getter? Nope. Do you think we’ll take your word that you’re a visionary leader? Nada. Right now we’re looking at your work. Interviews tell us about you as a person.
5) Tell us what you DID. This is a marketing statement, not a regurgitated job description. Use active verbs rather than passive statements, and point out the important aspects rather than every task.
6) Spotlight your impact. Give examples of accomplishments, using metrics if appropriate. Think “what/how/WOW”. What you did, how you did it, and your results.
7) Be visually succinct. Clean formatting is important. Don’t go overboard with too much copy or a shopping list of bullet points. Use a standard font.
8) Explain employers. You’re in Oregon. Not everyone knows The Dolphin Dancers Foundation in Akron. Add a hyperlink to the name so we can easily click to learn more about them. This keeps it short, sweet AND informative.
9) List relevant volunteer work! Show us your passion for our mission by what you do in your off time. It also documents relevant experience if you’re light. Volunteering is often that valuable foot in the door, so don’t undervalue this experience. Don’t have any? There are a ton of opportunities out there. VolunteerMatch is a terrific resource.
10) Don’t trust spellcheck. Attention to detail is vital. Check spelling, grammar, dates and content. Read it aloud. Have a friend read it. Many employers toss poorly written resumes. Show us you are a thoughtful communicator through a strong, customized, accurate resume.
Any overall resume questions? Please comment below and I’ll be glad to respond! Or, introduce yourself to Aimee directly via LinkedIn.