Here are some great tips I put together for writing a resume and cover letter. Check this out, and follow the links provided.
Find a Resume Template – Make it easy on yourself. Most computer programs provide some sort of resume template, or resume writing instruction to assist you. Or come back and check out my next post that will provide YOU with 4 different resume samples you can use! Use a resume template as a starting point for creating your own resume. Add your information to the resume template, then tweak it and edit it to personalize your resume to what you want.
1. How to write particular resumes (requires login)
2. Images of actual resumes on how they look
3. Templates of resumes that are easy to copy from!
Use one font and one format — Make it easy on them. These people have hundreds of resumes to review. Make it easy. I remember changing my cousin’s resume. He had so much on his resume that had nothing to do with the job he was applying for and he had 3 different fonts. No wonder he wasn’t getting a call back. Then once I fixed it. Brought it down to one page, it literally took the hiring manager 30 seconds before calling him back to talk. Who has the time to look at a resume that is so bungled with information and crowded? Keep your resumes pretty basic. Make it easy for them to read. 12 point font, helvetica, times new roman or arial are the best chosen fonts. It just easier to read. If you bold a title or italicize something, make sure you are consistent throughout the resume. It’s a small thing, but nevertheless could be the tie breaker. It was for me when hiring people to fill a retail store. It gave me the impression that they were not as consistent as they stated, or had an eye for detail.
Use “trigger” words – Once you have an understanding of the specific job you are applying for, such as responsibilities, duties or overall expectations, be sure to include those specific key words or what I call “trigger” words that grab attention. I’m going to add a link to a .pdf file of my personal resume and you will see what I mean by trigger words. These are more descriptive. I see them as words that grab attention (trigger the eye), and words that proactively illustrate multiple thoughts. For instance, instead of writing “Ran cash register and front window, taking orders,” it would be better to write “provided front-line customer service through orders, cash management, and various customer issues.” There are more words here, but it describes four different jobs: order taker, cash manager, customer service representative and damage controller (problem-solver).
All and correct contact information — Make sure you have enough of your contact info. If you have two telephones (land-line and cell), be sure to provide both. If it is a cell, indicate it as such. If they know it’s a cell phone when you lose the signal, they might be willing to call back. If you have a primary email (keep it clean!), use that. Spell it out for them. You will see what I mean with my resume samples.
Resume Formats– There are several basic types of resumes used. Most go with the basic type with objective, education, work experience, activities, etc. The same list of categories. But did you know that you can make your resume based on chronology, function (targeting actual specific abilities and skills that you have). A targeted resume will specifically before that company, and the job in which you are applying. Some may require this where they ask for a resume listing specific qualifications and experience, including any certifications. This is where this type of resume comes into play. Take the time to customize your resume – it is well worth the effort.
Prioritize and Organize – Make it simple! You really don’t need to put all the information you have in your resume. Many people feel like they have to explain a lot, by adding a lot more than necessary. You should really only allow 2-3 lines of basic information, but use those trigger words that help to expedite the understanding of what you are trying to say. Like the example I gave above, one line tells a story. You might feel like you have to explain. Don’t. They know. Most likely, depending on the job you are applying for, they have seen it and done it. So keep the very important stuff on the resume. Make sure it specifically relates to the job or industry you’re applying into.
Make it creative –You can customize your resume, but it will take some time. When applying for most jobs, all you need is a somewhat conservative looking resume that makes it easy for the reader to read. I can’t tell you how many times I threw resumes away because they were too busy looking, had misspelled words, or just plain hard to understand. Why mess with them? I had hundreds more to look at. However, the more creative your job is, well your resume should be creative, but not busy. Make it an interview, or an audio message. Keep it interesting and creative to grab their attention.
The necessity of an Objective — I heard an objective doesn’t matter much anymore, but it helps you to give a one sentence explanation of why. Think about your values and what you want with this job, besides a job and to make money.
Apply, apply, apply — Not for everything, but do stay consistent and on top of things. Job selection decisions takes seconds to make. You want to make sure you are prepared and there when the selection is made. Go to monsterjobs.com and careerbuilder.com as a start. Create the best profile ever and spend some time on these sites. Before this job as a college recruiter when I didn’t have a job, it took me about one month to find an entirely new one. But I used both these sites and applied to hundreds of jobs at least 15-18 hours a day.
Now, collegeboard.com does a great job with resume writing tips and pointers on first time resume writers…check them out! Please let me know if I can be of further assistance to you! I’m good at looking over resumes, so please feel free to contact me.
Your Success is My Success,
Keith Lipke is a careers and college recruiter, coach, mentor and blogger at The Career Closet. His passion is to educate, inspire, and give hope to young people who need it upon their search for the right career and college.