1. Showcase the impact you have made (demonstrate qualities and strengths).
Instead of creating a long (and boring) list with all your qualities (e.g., disciplined, creative, problem solver) try to show or demonstrate by hard data the impact you have made in your job. For example, you grew your region by a certain % or your division grew by so many millions of dollars. Numbers are your friends here. Also, make sure to describe professional achievements.
2. Put the most important information first.
This point is valid both to the overall order of your resume, as well as to the individual sections. Most of the times your previous work experience will be the most important part of the resume, so put it at the top. When describing your experiences or skills, list the most important ones first. In most cases, education should be listed towards the end of your resume.
3. Lists all your positions held within a company.
If you have worked a long time for the same company (over 10 years) it could be a good idea to list all the different positions and roles that you had during this time separately. You probably had different responsibilities and developed different skills on each role, so the employer will like to know it. Employers also will be impressed if you have had a number of promotions during your tenure with a company.
4. Use bullet points.
No employer will have the time (or patience) to read long paragraphs of text. Make sure, therefore, to use bullet points and short sentences to describe your experiences, educational background and professional objectives.
5. Make sure to use the right keywords.
Most companies (even smaller ones) use digital databases to search for candidates. This means that queries are run based on specific keywords. Guess what, if your resume doesn’t have the keywords related to the job you are applying for, you will be out even before the game starts.
6. Attention to font size and typography.
First of all make sure that your fonts are big enough. The smaller you should go is 11 points, but 12 is probably safer. Do not use capital letters all over the place, remember that your goal is to communicate a message as fast and as clearly as possible. Arial and Times are good choices.
7. Company details.
Not everyone knows that the Phelps Dodge is a Fortune 500 mining company founded in 1834. Let employers know the size and brief description of the companies you have worked for.
8. Use effective titles.
Like it or not, employers will usually make a judgment about your resume in 5-10 seconds. Under this time frame the most important aspect will be the titles that you listed on the resume, so make sure they grab the attention. Try to be as descriptive as possible, giving the employer a good idea about the nature of your past work experiences. For example:
Bad title: Accounting
Good title: Management of A/R and A/P
9. Avoid negativity.
Do not include information that might sound negative in the eyes of the employer. This is valid both to your resume and to interviews. You don’t need to include, for instance, things that you hated about your last company.
10. You don’t need to list all your work experiences.
If you have job experiences that you are not proud of, or that are not relevant to the current opportunity, you should just omit them. Mentioning that you used to sell hamburgers when you were 17 is probably not going to help you land that executive position.
11. One or two pages.
The ideal length for a resume is a debated subject. Most employers and recruiting specialists, however, say that it should contain one or two pages (three at maximum. Just keep in mind that, provided all the necessary information is there, the shorter your resume, the better.
12. Use action verbs.
A very common advice to job seekers is to use action verbs. But what are they? Action verbs are basically verbs that will get noticed more easily, and that will clearly communicate what your experience or achievement were. Examples include managed, coached, enforced and planned.
13. Brief list of interests.
Many employers want to hire someone that they can “go to lunch with.” They will hire someone that shares some common ground. Do not go overboard in this area, but mentioning a few achievements, like running a marathon or being nominated as a President of an organization, is a plus.
14. Update your resume regularly.
It is a good idea to update your resume on a regular basis. Add all the new information that you think is relevant, as well as courses, training programs and other academic qualifications that you might receive along the way. This is the best way to keep track of everything and to make sure that you will not end up sending an obsolete document to an employer.
15. Mention who you worked with.
If you have reported or worked with someone that is well known in your industry, it could be a good idea to mention it on the resume. The same thing applies to presidents and CEOs. If you reported to or worked directly with highly ranked executives, add it to the resume.
16. No scattered information.
Your resume must have a clear focus. If would cause a negative impression if you mentioned that one year you were studying drama, and the next you were working as an accountant. Make sure that all the information you will include will work towards a unified image. Employers like decided people.
17. Make the design flow with white space.
Do not jam your resume with text. Sure we said that you should make your resume as short and concise as possible, but that refers to the overall amount of information and not to how much text you can pack in a single sheet of paper. White space between the words, lines and paragraphs can improve the legibility of your resume.
18. Do not include “no kidding” information.
There are many people that like to include statements like “Available for interview” or “References available upon request.” If you are sending a resume to a company, it should be a given that you are available for an interview and that you will provide references if requested. Just avoid items that will make the employer think “no kidding!”
19. Don’t forget the basics.
The first thing on your resume should be your name. It should be bold and with a larger font than the rest of the text. Make sure that your contact details are clearly listed. Secondly, both the name and contact details should be included on all the pages of the resume (if you have more than one).
20. Proofread it twice (or more).
It would be difficult to emphasize the importance of proofreading your resume. One small typo and your chances of getting hired could slip big time. Proofreading it once is not enough, so do it twice, three times or as many as necessary. If you don’t know how to proofread effectively, find a friend.