Tips For Successful Resume Writing
Tips For Successful Resume Writing
The AkronWorks Summer Job Fair is only 2 days away! We will be joined by 55+ employers who are all hiring for multiple positions. Prepare yourself for this event by sprucing up your resume!
Our friend Kiersten Troutman, who is the Owner and Executive Writer of Second Glance Resumes, was kind enough to share some tips for successful resumé writing to help you.
It might be said that anyone can write a resumé these days, given the fact that the internet is inundated with resumé templates that practically write themselves. So what is wrong with that? My response to this is “nothing”, but the final product will be weak. Weak resumés are unsuccessful resumés.
Consider the 800 number you have to call to report a problem with your phone for example. The automated voice asks you to “fill in the blank” with your name and account number, among other things. The ever-annoying “voice” then asks you to choose a prompt when all you want to do is yell through the line, “Give me a human!” You want to speak to a human, because there is more to the story that the automated voice will never understand.
The same is true with resume templates. There is more to your story than what a template can offer. I like to remind clients that they are not cookie cut-outs, so avoid the cookie-cutter templates. This is not the place to blend in with the crowd. Stand out! Resumé writing is a craft, and as such, must be practiced to achieve strength—and ultimately power. With that power, a resumé can speak with boldness while others get tossed aside.
Here are some inside tips to boost the strength of a resumé before sending it off to a recruiter or employer:
- Avoid common mistakes
- Grammatical errors- Recruiters cite this as the number one mistake they see.
- Small fonts- Stick to standard fonts such as Times New Roman or Arial, and a point size no smaller than 11.
- Too “busy”- Be detailed, but concise. You want to leave some white space left around the edges.
- The “skeleton” resumé- The polar opposite of the “busy” resumé is the skeletal one. Put some “meat” in your list of work functions.
“Resumé writing is a craft, and as such, must be practiced to achieve strength—and ultimately power.
With that power, a resumé can speak with boldness while others get tossed aside.”
Example: Write “Answered five-line phone system, responding to 75 calls daily”, as opposed to simply, “Answered phones.”
- Boring- This is where successful resumé writing separates itself from template resumés. Use bold “power” verbs.
- Clichéd Objectives
- Ten years ago, it was standard to write an objective. They often went something like this: “Professional seeking full-time employment with a company that will utilize my skill set, with the opportunity for advancement.” This is cliché. Everyone wants their skills to be used with the opportunity to be promoted. No need to state the obvious.
- Instead, perhaps include a Career Summary that very briefly describes your achievements in a nutshell. You can elaborate further down in the body of the resumé.
- Keep the past in the past
- Watch tense throughout a resumé. If employment occurred in the past, be sure to keep verbs in past tense. For present employment, keep in present tense.
- Employment history
- What matters is employment in this century, more accurately, in the past ten years. If possible, do not include employment beyond that mark unless you have been with the same employer beyond that time.
- Proofread. Everything. Period. This is when you will reflect back on your 3rd grade English teacher with respect, and instantly feel bad that you had made fun of her glasses hanging on the tip of her nose.
- Only include dates on employment history. None needed for education. The goal is to present a resumé of unbiased fashion with regards to age, etc.
- So you’re good at basket weaving…The resumé is not the place to sport those mad skills…unless they pertain to the position in which you are applying.
- List on a separate sheet
- Include mostly professional references if possible
- Do not write, “References available upon request” anywhere on the resumé. This is expected at the interview. Be ready to furnish a copy. Always.
I have often described the resumé itself as hot real estate. With that being said, only
the hottest property (words) should go on it in order for it to sell. Omit anything else. Bearing this in mind will help in the revision process.
A polished resumé takes a careful eye for editing. Don’t just write a resumé; write a successful one. Invest the time and it will pay off. If writing is not your strong suit, invest in a professional writer.
Believe me when I say writers get giddy about projects such as this. They are the ones who delight in receiving refrigerator poetry magnet kits at Christmas. Words have power, and they know how to unlock the right ones.
Bottom line: You have one chance to get the second glance from employers. Make it count!
Kiersten Troutman, Owner and Executive Writer for Second Glance Resumés, has a B.A. in English from Kent State University and is near completion with her Masters in Composition from The University of Akron. She has been writing for over 15 years and promises herself a novel will perhaps one day emerge when her children get older. For now, she thrives on ambition and good coffee.
Second Glance Resumes. All Rights Reserved. 2014.