Hiring managers spend just a few seconds getting a first impression of your resume. If you are using an objective, you’re already putting yourself at a disadvantage. The first few sentences of your resume should be a Summary of
Qualifications. This should grab the hiring manager’s attention and highlight what you bring to the table. The Summary is a branding statement that is supported by other evidence relevant to the role.
Paragraphs of text that cram in details can be overwhelming. You want to use clear, concise sentences and incorporate bullet points to set apart accomplishments. A hiring manager should be able to easily scan your resume and not feel put off by blocks of text.
Many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to do a preliminary scan of resumes—therefore, keywords are essential. Your core competencies section should follow the Summary of Qualifications section and comprise of 12-15 key skills that define who you are as a professional. However, remember that these keywords are not one size fits all. You should change these keywords for different job descriptions.
Five of the worst fonts to use are: Comic Sans, Courier, Impact, Arial, and anything based in calligraphy or script styling. Five of the best to use are: Calibri, Cambria, Garamond, Helvetica, and Constantia. Times New Roman is an old standby—but it is often overused.
A one-page resume is usually sufficient for an entry-level job seeker—with a page and a half being the ultimate max unless you have significant internship experience, volunteering qualifications, or other research experience. Many hiring managers ultimately believe you are making things up or padding your resume if your document is overly lengthy when you just got out of college or are starting out in your career.
Start each sentence with a powerful action verb. Readers naturally move from left to right, so this is where it will catch their eye instead of being buried later on in the sentence.
Yes, this seems overly simplistic, but people mess it up! Make sure your address, email information, and phone number are all correct. A transposed number or typo could be the difference between scoring interviews or being passed over!
Don’t start multiple bullet points with the same word and when you are proofreading, make sure you read aloud so you can catch repetition within each of your sentences. Remember, redundant language is boring to read—and hiring managers are more likely to overlook you if they zone out while reading!
Pay attention to verb tense on your resume. Use past tense when detailing experiences or accomplishments that are complete or no longer active. Use present tense when outlining current work experiences.
It is implied that if a potential employer asks for references you will provide them. You don’t even have to waste a line on your resume with “References Available Upon Request.” It’s unnecessary.
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Dr. Rick Goodman
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