How to Write a Resume That Will Get You Interviews
Despite the growing popularity of web-based job sites and networks such as LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed, and Glassdoor, the physical resume is still your main introduction when seeking a new job. Understanding what makes a resume stick out of the pile can save you hours of time and frustration when trying to land that new job. Here are some things to keep in mind while polishing up the old resume:
Use Power Words
A “power word” is a word that elicits a response in your reader. In the case of resume writing, power words should express actions and imply a skill set. Words like, “designed,” “collaborated,” “enriched,” “initiated,” and “maintained,” are all power words that imply action and appear to the reader as far more impressive than something more bland or generic.
Don’t Repeat Yourself
Do your best to only use a power word once in your resume. Repeated use of the same word will make it lose all meaning and power. Thankfully, an online thesaurus is only ever a google search away and there are many lists of resume power words available online.
Use Good Formatting
Good formatting is essential to bringing the most important aspects of what you have to offer available at a glance. Additionally, due to the sheer volume of resumes received, many large companies use machines to sort through resumes as opposed to actual employees. This means you will want to format your resume in such a way as to be machine-friendly and use keywords that will flag your resume for the “interview” pile and not the trash can.
Don’t be vague about your job role or accomplishments. Don’t use unnecessary words to describe your previous job roles. Keep things tight, synced, descriptive, and specific.
Have a Good Cover Letter
A good cover letter is an essential part of the resume. It is your first introduction to the employer. Do not be overly verbose, but politely and professionally introduce yourself, why you feel you are a good fit for the job, and how your assets can benefit the company. A well-written cover letter can result in the hiring manager looking on your resume with fresh, favorable eyes and make you stand out from the crowd.
Watch Your Spelling
You would be amazed at how many resumes are received by employers that contain glaring grammatical and spelling errors. While accidentally overlooking some things and making mistakes is human, be extra diligent when writing your resume and cover letter and have someone else proofread it before you send it off. Sometimes being overly familiar with a piece of writing we’ve been working on for a long time can make us blind to obvious errors.
Keep it Relevant
While it may be interesting that you can juggle 5 bottles of beer while belching “Jesus Loves Me,” it’s probably not going to be relevant to the position you’re applying for. (Unless it is, in which case please let me know if you got whatever job requires that skill.) Keep everything on your resume as relevant as possible to the position you are applying for.
Keep it Short
Hiring managers are less likely to read a resume that exceeds one page. If you’ve had a very long career it might be necessary extend it to two, but the relevant skills and experience you are bringing to the table should be summarized to fit nicely on one sheet of paper.
The first test many employers give potential employees is how well they follow the instructions for applying to the job. Many employers state the specific information they want and what format they want it in for your application. Disregarding these instructions is a bad move, as it proves straight out of the gate that you do not follow instructions or pay attention to details.
Do Not Use a Word Template
Microsoft Word is an incredible resource for many things, but a resume template is not one of them. A Word template is recognizable from a mile away and appears campy and unprofessional.
Include Digital Links
Since the vast majority of resumes sent are emailed in digital format, include links to your LinkedIn profile and portfolio (if applicable) in your resume. This will allow the employer to get even more specific details about you, your background, and your work samples without having to reach out to you again and wait for a response.