Build a resumé that will get you hired

Building a resumé that attracts the right attention from recruiters or hiring managers is the first step to securing your dream job.

If you are having a hard time getting a call back on your application for a position you believe you’re qualified for, it might be due to problems with your resumé. The following resumé tips will help you evaluate your current resumé for common issues and learn some ways to make yourself stand out from other candidates.

Resumé tip #1: Make it personal and personable

One of the biggest mistakes that job seekers can make is not putting effort into making their resumé personalized. Using templates is fine and can make sure your resumé is in a format that is legible for hiring managers, but a resumé that looks just like everyone else’s can easily get lost in the shuffle.

A great example of this is the automatically generated resumés on job search sites like Indeed or LinkedIn. While it can be tempting to input your job data and generate a resumé automatically, it’s obvious to hiring managers when you make that choice. That choice could make your generic resumé less attractive than a highly personalized one submitted by another person.

When you’re building your resumé, start with a template but then make it your own by changing the style to match your favorite colors or include a cool, modern typeface.

Also, don’t be afraid to let your personality show in your resumé. Boring copy can kill even the most qualified candidate. Let a little of your personality shine through and don’t take yourself too seriously!  

Resumé tip #2: But don’t go crazy

While personalizing your resumé is a great idea, don’t go off the rails. Poorly designed resumés with too many competing colors, fonts and formats are more than likely going to turn off the hiring manager.

Some good rules of thumb are:

  • 1-2 fonts total: one for headlines and one for copy, make sure they are legible
  • 1-2 colors total: subdued colors are better, use bright colors as an accent
  • Tasteful, modern design elements: simple shapes are better

Have multiple people look over your resumé to make sure it’s not too busy or hard to read. Always send your resumé in easy to use file types like Word documents and PDFs. In fact, including a copy in both formats can make sure your resumé is accessible to everyone.

Resume tip #3: Don’t sacrifice substance

Of course, a beautiful resumé won’t get you the job on its own. Your copy needs to convey the essential information succinctly and prioritize what makes you an outstanding candidate. Eliminate extraneous details and focus on the skills and experience that are most relevant to the position you are applying for. Your retail position from ten years ago isn’t applicable to an engineering job, so leave it out.

Using keywords is also essential. Hiring managers often must read stacks of resumés for each open position. Read the job description for the position you’re applying for and make sure you have relevant keywords in the top third of your resumé. When someone skims your previous experience, skills and education, they should see keywords that they can easily recognize as relevant to the open job.

Including concrete examples of measurable success will also put your over the edge. Include numbers where possible. For example: “Implemented a marketing strategy that helped grow the company’s digital presence” is essentially meaningless. It’s full of keywords, but it doesn’t give any measure of success.

Instead try something like: “Increased organic traffic to the company website by 15% in 12 months by implementing a cohesive marketing strategy.” This shows you made a real impact and is backed up by data.

Building a better resumé is key to standing out in a job market with a lot of competition. Spend time on your resumé and follow these tips to increase your chances of getting an interview next time you apply for a job.

Got an employment gap that’s jeopardizing your job search? Click here to see how to address it.

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