Resume & CV Writing

Here’s some food for thought.

The time you spend at work will likely accumulate to around ten solid years. That’s ten years of sitting in an office, behind the wheel of a bus, or behind the counter of a supermarket checkout line.  Day in, day out. A decade is a long time to spend doing something you don’t like.  Okay, okay, so we don’t all get to have the luxury of doing work we love. Someone has to do the dirty work, but if you’re not convinced that YOU have to be the one doing work you don’t love, it might be time to change your job.

With that decision comes another daunting statistic. If you want to change your job, your resume will go up against an average of 250+ other resumes. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was something you could do to improve the chances of your resume making it out of “The Swamp of Similar Resumes” alive? Good news! There are several things you can do; and the best part is that they are quick fixes that take about five minutes to do instead of another ten years of your life.

Take a look at the infographic by Uptowork below to get the full list of tips:

Before You Start Writing Your Resume

The sheer number of resumes recruiters and hiring managers get means that they must resort to skimming to weed out irrelevant resumes.  There are a few things you can do to make your resume ‘un-skimmable’. First, follow the adage that beauty is symmetry. Keep one inch margins, align your content left, and make use of white space. Balancing your content with the blank space will make your resume more aesthetic. An aesthetic resume has more of a chance to get past a recruiter than a flat out ugly one.

Speaking of ugly…

Choosing a proper font is more important than you may think. Choose a font that is easy to read and socially acceptable. Comic Sans spends its days being ridiculed by half of the Internet. Do you really want to show up at the party with Comic Sans as your wingman? No. Try Arial, Helvetica, or Verdana.

Here’s What to Do While You’re Writing Your Resume

When a recruiter scans your resume, the top third is going to get the most attention. Think of it as the penthouse of your resume. So, you need to nail it in the first few lines. That’s why it’s a good idea to start off with a resume summary. Think of a it as your “elevator pitch.” Ideally, it should be two or three quick, snappy lines about yourself that tell a recruiter who you are, what you’re doing, and what you can do for them. The top third of your resume is also where you need to add keywords from the job description.

In fact, your entire resume should be tailored to match the job description. Because a job offer is like a recruiter’s Christmas wish list. Do you think they are going to be happy when they get an off-brand doll instead of Malibu Barbie? That’s a rhetorical question. Grab a highlighter and mark all of the required skills and experience listed in the job description. These are your keywords, and keywords are what recruiters want to see.

Once you’ve got your keywords, decide which reflect your strongest skills. Put these near the top in your resume summary and experience section. Now add numbers and achievements. It’s not enough to write that you’ve got mad skills. You’ve got to prove it.  They asked for a team leader? How about “Coordinated cost savings of 10% on projects through the efficient management of large groups of 15+ people.” Now you’re a winner, and the recruiter will say to herself, “I want someone who can save me 10% of my costs too.”

Last Minute Tricks to Try Before Sending

Proofread, proofread, proofread. First, try outsourcing the boring part to apps like Grammarly. Second, grab a real human being and make them read your resume. Bribe them if you must. To err is human, to err on your resume is fatal.

The bonus of having a proofreader is that you will also be able to get an objective opinion of how you are selling yourself.  Before you click send, you will also want to check to make sure that all of your information is current, and that all of your online information matches what you’ve written on your resume.  Most recruiters check out LinkedIn or other social media platforms, and discrepancies in dates or contact information make you look dubious.

Key Takeaway

If you spend the five minutes that it takes to implement most of these tricks, you could potentially save yourself a decade of misery. Not a bad investment. You are one tailored resume away from your dream job. So, what are you waiting for?

About the author: Natalie Severt is a writer for Uptowork, the resume builders.

Uptowork Infographic

Top image: Shutterstock


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