During the “12 Days of Kforce” series, we offer twelve days of job seeker advice from twelve different Kforce associates to help kickstart your job search or career in the New Year. From working with your recruiter to writing your resume, we hope to prepare you with the tools you need to excel in 2013 (scroll down to see entire series)!
On the ’12 Days of Kforce’,
From our staffing company,
Twelve resume-writing tips.
Your resume is the first opportunity to introduce yourself to a hiring manager. The resume you write is meant to land an interview, not the job. If you take the time to write a successful resume you will have more time in the interview to expand on your experiences to get the job you desire. Brian Dodd, Kforce Recruiting Director, offers a list of 12 helpful tips to help write a better resume.
1. Use a “chronological” resume
Determining what type of resume format to use is situational, but in most cases, a chronological resume works best. Relate your experience from most to recent to least recent, always listing your education last (even if you recently received your Master’s degree).
2. Include bullet points
You have limited time and space on your resume to get your point across as quickly and efficiently as possible! The only true sentence should appear in the beginning as a summary statement; following that, stick to bullet points. A recruiter’s eyes may only spend a few seconds on each line.
3. Do not use pronouns
As long as your name and contact information are clearly written at the top of your resume, a hiring manager knows its yours so it’s important to avoid using pronouns such as “I” or “me”. Instead, list the task or project, for example, “Assisted in the development of an internal database build”.
4. Start your bullet points with “power verbs”
To help avoid starting bullet points out with pronouns, use “power verbs” that vividly explain what you accomplished. Your resume should be specific, with quantifiable results. Don’t simply list your tasks and skills, but explain the result using numerical results when possible.
Some “power verbs” to include:
5. Target your audience/company
Tailoring is important! Your resume may be going to several hiring managers, but they should not all be reading the same exact one. Review the job description and requirements and identify those that are specific to each.
6. Use the right key words
Keywords are the specific job requirements, skills, software, and certifications that can be found in the job description. If you are truly qualified for a position, your resume should include several of these based on your experience at your former employer. Be cautious though, you shouldn’t flood your resume with these words simply to get it passed a resume-scanning machine, because at one point or another, your resume will be in front of the employer’s eyes. Stick to the terminology found in the job description and use your keywords carefully and honestly.
7. Organization is key!
List the tasks you completed, revenue gained, budget saved, and/or the technology you worked with all under the company for which you were employed during that time.
8. Pay attention to all types of grammar
Grammar may seem like common sense, but spelling, punctuation, and capitalization mistakes may be what removes your resume from the pile of hopefuls. You may also be familiar with acronyms that are commonly used within your current employer, but a new employer may not use the same ones. While it may be habit, avoid using these and spell out words or phrases in-full.
9. Take a look at your layout
Look at your resume with a keen eye. Your layout should be consistent and the information should flow. Make sure bullet points are aligned and you are using one font. Avoid overcompensating a lack of experience with bold or large font – recruiters have seen all the tricks!
10. Limit your resume to two pages or less
Using bullet points should help limit the length of your resume, but ensure it does not exceed two pages. Even the most experienced CEO should be able to condense their skills and experience. If you find your resume running over two pages, consider removing irrelevant details, such as high school experience or phrases like “references available upon request”.
11. Eliminate irrelevant info
Your resume is not the time to get personal, hiring managers should only be able to get a feel for you professionally. Refrain from including your date of birth, marital status, gender or any hobbies unrelated to the position you are applying for. These irrelevant factors do not play a part in the hiring process.
12. Have at least two other eyes review your resume before submitting
Your resume is the professional story of your life and should be very familiar to you. Therefore, it may be easy for you to skip over some detail or errors. Have at least two other objective eyes review your resume before submitting, they may bring to light the same questions hiring managers have that you didn’t consider.
There is an art to resume-writing, and while it isn’t always fun, it must be given due time and attention. At the end of the day, that very piece of paper is arguably the most important aspect of your job search. Convey your professional story in an enticing manner and hiring managers may open up their doors to you.
We hope you enjoyed our '12 Days of Kforce' series. Check out the previous articles you may have missed:
ELEVEN Ways to Exceed Expectations at Work
TEN Personal Branding Tips
NINE Popular Interview Questions
EIGHT LinkedIn Job Search Tricks
SEVEN Things to Leave Off your Resume
SIX Job Search Steps for New Grads
FIVE Ways to Work with your Recruiter
FOUR Must-Join LinkedIn Groups
THREE Cover Letter Clues
TWO Interview Follow-up Tips
The ONE Thing Employers Want to See