In this post, let us discuss six aspects of resume design – and provide tips accordingly:
- What is the purpose of a resume?
A resume should attract the attention of a prospective employer and interest the prospective employer to invite the applicant to an interview. A resume is NOT the vehicle for a person to present his/her life story. It IS the vehicle to provide the relevant and distinctive background of the applicant.
- Should there be an opening summary at the top of the resume?
For two reasons, the answer to this question is yes. One, this immediately lets the prospective employer recognize the type of job for which the applicant is applying. Two, an opening summary enables the applicant to create his/her self brand and highlight what makes that individual unique.
To learn more about the value of self branding, read here.
- How should you decide what content to include on the resume?
Although it is essential to include one’s education, work experience, and special skills on a resume, it is also vital not to overwhelm the prospective employer with too much information. The reader will most likely skim the resume and find a densely-worded resume not worth the effort. In addition, by having too much content, the reader is not guided to the most important information.
Here a few specific tips: (1) Ask yourself this question and address it through your resume — What the are the five to ten top reasons why a potential employer should hire me instead of another applicant (your competitive advantages)? (2) Highlight your accomplishments — not just your past job functions. (3) Do NOT place as much emphasis on a job you had five years ago as the one you had most recently. [I am continuously amazed by how many resumes I review for my students and alumni that have as many bullet points for an internship they had as their full-time jobs!!]
- How long should your resume be?
Over the years, I have reviewed thousands of resumes. I still firmly believe that one page is sufficient for an applicant at any level of experience. But some others differ and think a slightly longer resume is acceptable IF one is looking for a senior-level position. The following is a very good rule to keep in mind, as provided by Careers Plus Resumes for Careerealism:
“A resume will first receive a very brief scan, often 10-20 seconds, to determine if the candidate appears to meet the major requirements. While the entire resume may be quickly scanned, utilizing a summary of qualifications with keywords and phrases based upon one’s career goal and job target is advantageous. A resume that passes the initial scan will then receive greater scrutiny to determine if a candidate qualifies for an interview. Here, relevant depth and detail in the history is best since the candidate’s experience, skills, and strengths – as they apply to the position – will be more thoroughly assessed.”
- Is it OK to use one version of a resume for all possible jobs?
NO! NO! NO! In this era of easy-to-adapt Word files, it is inexcusable to use the same resume for all jobs. You want the potential employer to be interested in you. So, show you are interested in them. Tailor your resume to the specific job opening and potential employer. One size does NOT fit all.
Consider these observations from Dawn Rasmussen, writing for Careerealism:
“As we go through our careers, our background evolves into probably at least three or more different thematic areas. In my lifetime, I’ve been a meeting planner, television producer, tourism manager, educator, and resume writer, to name a few. Can I pull all of these areas under one roof/one resume? Not a chance. No one could possibly digest it all – there is too much stuff ‘muddying’ the waters. The trick to hitting a moving target is to get grounded first.”
- Does the “look” of the resume matter?
[As Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodgers general manager who signed Jackie Robinson to be the first African-American to play Major League Baseball, once said: “Luck is the residue of hard work and design.”]
12 Replies to “Resume Tips You Can Use”
I have asked many employers how they want a resume to look and these facts are the same as what they say. Some prefer one aspect over another, or look at certain things more often than another employer. However, all want the same thing. Easy to read, organized, free of errors, and last of all shows who you are in a matter of 10 seconds. My boyfriend had to make a resume for the first time and he asked for my help. He wanted to add his high school achievements but I had told him that at this point in his life anything from high school is irrelevant. He had to focus more on what he did in college, even if his grades weren’t as high as high school. He had to learn how to market himself in a different way to show employers that he is worth their time and that he is a hard worker.
As somebody obsessed with editing her resume, I found that this article correctly highlighted everything essential in the resume-making process! One-page length and keeping all information as condensed as possible seem to be the best way to format nowadays. I am always on the fence, however, about an opening statement; I have always heard mixed feedback about how necessary it really is.
In terms of resume tips, most of these do serve as common sense reminders (don’t have spelling/grammar mistakes, don’t use an inappropriate font, don’t print on an unusual colored paper, etc..), but the tidbit I found most interesting about this article is about having the opening summary for the resume, which apparently was lacking in many of my friend’s resumes when I reviewed them.
When I suggested for one friend to add on an opening summary, he coincidentally received a job offer a few weeks later, using the new resume. Coincidence? I think not.
Another quick thing I would like to add that this article didn’t mention is that if a potential employer doesn’t ask for a resume, in all likelihood, you should bail from that job interview asap. I received an excellent job offer, too good to be true, and after this red flag, I delved deeper into the company. It turned out to be a multi level marketing scam.
The six aspects included in this post of what a Resume should include is plausible. I would’ve expected to see something like this in the Career Center but I’m happy I was able to see it here. I put a lot of thought into my Resume and constantly google, “What should my Resume look like?” There are many answers to this question, but far too many solutions are not credible. The strategy presented in this post does appear to be credible and should be shared more with nervous college students who are trying to stand out from the crowd.
This is so helpful. Everyone will tell you that you resume is super important, but then no one ever really goes into details about what exactly is the most important. For me, making my resume has definitely been a source of anxiety. What do I put on it? How much detail? Do I include my high school? It’s like there are so many questions and not that many answers. To summarize, your advice is to keep it short and simple, but fit it specifically for each place you send it out to. I think every college student should have to take a mandatory course on the art of creating the perfect resume.
Michaela Cody; MKT 101 section 1
I had to say this blog is very useful for me. As an international student who will graduate at May, a well-prepared resume likes a stepping-stone to success. I go through several articles and talk to HRs, and try to find out what the resume is. Overall, the resume is an introduction for myself, and I need to use it to attract HRs. Also, the resume must be checked in details and carefully. In the end, this blog mentions a lot of useful tips or I call them tricks.
I guess it’s not difficult at all for a college student to write a 10 pages paper, however, it is way more difficult to write a one page resume. A good resume has to be comprehensive and concise at the same time, and it should be adjusted for different occasion. This article gives a good guide for those who needs a resume.
I don’t know it’s just me or what. Every time when I shopping online and I’m not sure about some product’s quality, I always ignore those “5 stars” ratings and check the worst comment that could possibly be, so that I get an idea about how bad it can be and then decide whether to buy it or not. Well, it’s really important to deal with angry customers from this point of view.