An attractive résumé captures a prospective employer’s attention and is the key to getting that foot in the door before you get through the door to the interview. Not too wordy but just expressive enough, not too showy but just mildly complimentary, the mighty résumé can make or break your chance to get that call.
According to Candidate Manager at Eve Anderson Recruitment Limited, Christina Bahadoor-Hosein, many candidates that they come across “do not effectively present themselves on paper.”
“As an employer, I wouldn’t feel obligated to meet with them,” Bahadoor-Hosein says of the quality of some of the résumés she comes across on a fairly regular basis. “But,” she explained, “When you meet with them face-to-face, [many of them] are exceptional.”
While it’s lovely that you interview well, not having your résumé in order can be terribly detrimental to your chances, as that’s all there is at that primary stage.
Here are some tips on touching up that résumé of yours so that it reads well and gets you a step or two closer to that coveted interview:
According to author Mark Twain, “Anyone who can only think of one way to spell a word obviously lacks imagination.” And while imagination just might get you the position, there are no points for creativity where “alternative” spelling is concerned. It’s fine that using words mightn’t be everyone’s strong suit, but that doesn’t detract from how unprofessional it looks to present a résumé with incorrect spelling. If you have any doubts, consult a colleague or friend, or even a professional writing service. Make full use of the spell check features on your device; be sure to adjust the language settings to your region, once it’s adjusted to detect some standard form of your language.
Get in Formation
Being consistent in your formatting can be just as important as the content in your résumé. According to Amanda Augustine, head of consultancy, Amanda Augustine LLC, select a format that will allow your employer to scan with ease.
Think of yourself as an employer, scouting persons who know how to conduct themselves at the workplace. Nothing communicates the exact opposite of that like seeing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com at the head of the page. Everyone welcomes vibrant personalities at the office, but this is one way that your individuality won’t work in your favour.
Imagine having to go through a pile of résumés, squinting as you come across candidates’ eager attempts to stuff as much as they possibly could onto the page. That’s the ordeal that you put employers through when you jumble your words with improper spacing in an effort to get it all in there. J.T. O’Donnell, author of Careeralism: The Smart Approach to a Satisfying Career advises that as much white space as possible can be easier on the eyes.
It helps to use a telegraphic writing style, which champions directness and brevity. Omitting unnecessary uses of “a” and “an” are some of the characteristics of this style, which can save you some much-needed page space.
Me, Myself and I
Tina Nicolai, founder of Résumé Writers Ink dissuades candidates from writing their résumés in the first or third person. It’s perfectly understood that you’ve written about yourself, given that it’s your résumé, after all.
Much Ado About Nothing
Telling a prospective employer whom you haven’t yet met that you’re a “go-getter”, a “team player” or the “go-to person” for something or other is just as helpful as if you’d told them that you were a superhero or a human being. According to a 2013 CareerBuilder survey of over 2,000 employers, these expressions can be a somewhat of a turnoff. Instead, words such as “achieved”, “resolved”, “created”, “improved”, “influenced” and “volunteered” were found on the list of preferred words, as they tend to communicate character through action as opposed to static, self-complimentary attributes.
Way Back When
Christina Bahadoor-Hosein advises against using any previous experience that “does not add value to where you are currently or where you want to take yourself.” No employer wants to see what you were doing fifteen, or in some cases, even ten years ago. The exception to this would be if there are competencies in these positions that could serve you well in the here and now. According to Forbes contributing writer and head of the Human Workforce Movement, Liz Ryan, the question, “How far back should my résumé go?” should be answered, “As far back as the two-page limit will allow.”
Remembering that the majority of employers take no more than two minutes to look over your résumé, you’ll see the importance of formatting that’s easy on the eyes, brevity, humility and good spelling.