Writing a resume can be a daunting task. You have to summarize your skills, achievements, and experiences in a way that showcases your value and potential to employers. You also have to tailor your resume to each job you apply for, using keywords and phrases that match the job description. And you have to do all this in a limited space, while avoiding common mistakes and pitfalls that can ruin your chances of getting an interview.
But don’t worry, we’re here to help. We’ve gathered some of the best resume tips and tricks from recruiters and hiring managers who know what they’re looking for in a candidate. Follow these resume hacks and you’ll be on your way to landing your dream job.
Use a Professional and Consistent Format
The first thing recruiters notice when they look at your resume is the format. A professional and consistent format will make your resume easy to read and scan, as well as demonstrate your attention to detail and professionalism. Here are some tips on how to format your resume:
- Use a clear and legible font, such as Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman, in size 10 to 12 points.
- Use margins of 1 inch on all sides and align your text to the left.
- Use bullet points to list your achievements and responsibilities under each section, rather than paragraphs.
- Use headings and subheadings to organize your information and highlight the most relevant sections, such as Summary, Education, Experience, Skills, etc.
- Use bold, italics, or underlining sparingly and only for emphasis or differentiation.
- Use colors sparingly and only for accents or highlights, such as your name or section titles.
- Avoid using graphics, images, logos, or symbols that may distract from your content or cause formatting issues.
- Save your resume as a PDF file to preserve the layout and avoid compatibility issues.
Customize Your Resume for Each Job
One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make is sending the same resume to every job they apply for. This is a surefire way to get rejected by the applicant tracking system (ATS), which is a software that scans resumes for keywords and filters out the ones that don’t match the job description.
To avoid this fate, you need to customize your resume for each job you apply for. This means using keywords and phrases that are relevant to the position and industry you’re targeting. You can find these keywords by reading the job description carefully and identifying the skills, qualifications, and requirements that are mentioned.
For example, if you’re applying for a marketing manager position, you may want to use keywords such as “digital marketing”, “SEO”, “social media”, “campaign management”, “analytics”, etc. You can also use synonyms or variations of these keywords, such as “online marketing”, “search engine optimization”, “social media platforms”, “marketing campaigns”, “data analysis”, etc.
You should also tailor your achievements and responsibilities to highlight how you meet or exceed the expectations of the employer. For example, instead of saying “Managed marketing projects from start to finish”, you could say “Planned, executed, and monitored digital marketing campaigns across multiple channels, resulting in a 25% increase in website traffic and conversions”.
By customizing your resume for each job, you’ll increase your chances of passing the ATS scan and getting noticed by recruiters.
Write a Powerful Summary Statement
A summary statement is a brief introduction that summarizes your main qualifications and value proposition. It’s usually placed at the top of your resume, under your name and contact information. A summary statement is optional, but it can be a great way to capture the attention of recruiters and convince them to read more.
A good summary statement should be concise, specific, and relevant. It should include:
- Your current or desired job title
- Your most relevant skills and achievements
- Your career goals or objectives
“Marketing Manager with over 5 years of experience in developing and implementing successful digital marketing strategies for various clients. Skilled in SEO, social media, content creation, analytics, and project management. Seeking to leverage my expertise and creativity to drive growth and innovation for ABC Company.”
A summary statement should not be confused with an objective statement, which is outdated and focuses on what you want from the employer rather than what you can offer them.
Highlight Your Accomplishments with Numbers
One of the best ways to make your resume stand out is to highlight your accomplishments with numbers. Numbers are concrete and measurable evidence of your impact and value. They also help recruiters quantify your skills and compare you with other candidates.
To use numbers effectively on your resume, you should:
- Use percentages, ratios, fractions, or decimals to show changes or improvements in performance, such as sales growth, cost reduction, customer satisfaction, etc.
- Use dollar amounts or ranges to show revenue generated, budget managed, money saved, etc.
- Use time frames or deadlines to show how fast or efficient you were in completing tasks or projects, such as hours, days, weeks, months, etc.
- Use rankings or ratings to show how well you performed or how you exceeded expectations, such as top 10%, 5-star rating, best seller, etc.
- Increased sales by 35% in six months by implementing a new SEO strategy and creating engaging content for the website and social media channels.
- Managed a $500,000 marketing budget and allocated resources effectively to achieve optimal results and ROI.
- Completed a complex market research project within two weeks and delivered a comprehensive report with actionable insights and recommendations.
- Ranked as the #1 marketing manager in the company for three consecutive quarters based on customer feedback and performance metrics.
By using numbers on your resume, you’ll showcase your achievements and demonstrate your value to potential employers.
Include Relevant Skills and Certifications
Another important section of your resume is the skills section. This is where you list the skills that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Skills can be divided into two categories: hard skills and soft skills.
Hard skills are technical or specialized skills that are specific to your field or industry. They can be learned through education, training, or experience. Examples of hard skills are:
- Programming languages
- Software applications
- Accounting principles
- Foreign languages
- Data analysis
Soft skills are interpersonal or transferable skills that are applicable to any job or situation. They can be developed through personal traits, habits, or behaviors. Examples of soft skills are:
To list your skills on your resume, you should:
- Choose the skills that are most relevant and in-demand for the job you’re applying for. You can find these skills by reading the job description and researching the employer’s expectations and preferences.
- Use keywords and phrases that match the job description and industry standards. For example, instead of saying “good at Excel”, you could say “proficient in Excel formulas, functions, and pivot tables”.
- Organize your skills into categories or subheadings, such as Technical Skills, Language Skills, etc. This will make your resume more readable and scannable.
- Provide examples or evidence of your skills whenever possible. For example, you could mention a project, task, or achievement that demonstrates how you used a certain skill.
- Experienced in using Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign
- Familiar with SEO tools and best practices
- Fluent in English and Spanish
- Intermediate level in French and German
- Presented marketing proposals and reports to clients and stakeholders
- Negotiated contracts and deals with vendors and partners
- Wrote engaging and informative blog posts and newsletters
Another way to enhance your resume is to include relevant certifications or licenses that show your expertise or qualifications in a certain area. Certifications are formal recognition of your knowledge or skills by an accredited organization or institution. They can be obtained through exams, courses, or programs. Examples of certifications are:
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ)
- Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)
To list your certifications on your resume, you should:
- Choose the certifications that are relevant and recognized for the job you’re applying for. You can find these certifications by researching the industry standards and requirements.
- Use the full name and acronym of the certification. For example, Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
- Include the date of completion or expiration of the certification. For example, Certified Public Accountant (CPA) – 2023.
- Include the name of the organization or institution that issued the certification. For example, Certified Public Accountant (CPA) – 2023 – American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
- Project Management Professional (PMP) – 2023 – Project Management Institute (PMI)
- Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) – 2022 – Google
- Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) – 2021 – Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches (PARW/CC)
By including relevant skills and certifications on your resume, you’ll showcase your abilities and credentials to potential employers.