“Whenever I get a stack of resumes, I throw half of them in the trash. I sure don’t want unlucky people on my team,” said no hiring manager ever…but sometimes it can feel that way when you’re hunting for jobs.
Since the advent of online job applications, candidates have experienced the resume black hole: You spend hours submitting your resume to hundreds of positions only to maybe hear back from a couple. Whether you’re a student applying to internships, a recent grad looking for entry-level jobs, or have been forced to find a new position due to the pandemic, this guide is here to help!
A well-written resume is the most important tool job seekers have in standing out to recruiters and building a network. With the job market flooded by candidates recently laid off due to the pandemic, catching a recruiter’s eye with an effective resume is now more important than ever.
How to Format Your Resume?
The first item anyone should see on your resume is your name, and the font size should reflect that. Your name should not take up a quarter of the page but a moderately larger bolded font will serve nicely in helping recruiters remember you. After your name a contact section including an email, phone number, and LinkedIn link are necessities.
Sometimes a different version of Word will show a resume formatted differently. If your resume is in the wrong format, your chances of hearing back are low. Avoid this by only sending in your resume as a PDF file. This ensures that the recruiter will receive the resume formatted as you like it and will help any HR software, they’re using to scan your resume easily.
Your resume should be no longer than one page. A recent graduate with two to five years of experience should not require more than a one-page resume. A great strategy used by candidates today is to have your fully fleshed out LinkedIn profile link included, which can show off a greater depth of experiences and info. Most recruiters will receive your resume electronically and if they are interested in you, they can easily click the LinkedIn profile for more information.
How to Describe Your Experience?
The name of the game when describing your experience is to summarize not list. For each role, present the concrete contributions you made to your past teams, using measurable metrics if possible.
“Drove $5000 in new business while remaining under budget”
Anything else that you feel is important for recruiters to know—but doesn’t fit into fewer than five bullets—should be relegated to your trusty LinkedIn profile.
The XYZ formula is a great way to display your experiences. Phrasing bullet points as such: Accomplished X as measured by Y, by doing Z. This helps keep your bullets concise and full of valuable information.
Another important step in any applicant’s process should be to review the job description and do whatever possible to highlight the most relevant experience or skills you have. Having a running document of your recent experiences can be helpful in choosing which fit most with the position. Remember not to list your experience, but to summarize your accomplishments.
In A Rush? Don’t Make Sloppy Mistakes
If you are a recent graduate looking for your first entry-level role or one of the many individuals who lost their job due to the pandemic, then you’re probably quickly applying to a lot of companies. The most important advice for ensuring a good resume, and the advice most often forgotten is to check for spelling and grammar mistakes.
Recent graduates and candidates eager for a new opportunity can allow their excitement for a new role to cloud their attention to detail. Before you share your resume with recruiters, have a friend or family member read it over. It might be the only thing separating you from being the perfect candidate!