TOP 5 TIPS TO WRITING A RESUME FROM A RESUME WRITER
By: Nate Pedronan - Partner | Senior Resume Writing Consultant
Let's face it, writing a resume is hard. Asking to take someone's experience for the last 10 years (or even just 2 years) and boil it down to 1-page can sometimes be unrealistic and oftentimes impossible. On top of that, there's always uncertainty around what recruiters are actually looking for in a candidate.
On average, recruiters spend 6-8 seconds reviewing a resume. So, how can you really catch their attention? As a professional recruiter, sourcer, and resume writer, I’ve put together my top 5 Resume Writing Tips.
1) Title your resume
Flashback to high-school and imagine your teacher telling everyone to read 150 pages of a textbook for a pop quiz in 10 minutes. What would you do? Most likely skim through as much content as possible while paying attention to titles to get a sense of the topics covered. Many recruiters face a similar issue when reading hundreds of resumes for a job opening that needs to be filled ASAP.
By including a clear and concise headline to your resume, it helps recruiters quickly understand your profession/skill set and if you qualify for the role they’re filling. Play with the title; it can be your industry, professional level or specialty.
Examples: Director of Accounting & Finance, Sales Manager, IT Operations
2) Research job descriptions
The job description is the key to the castle. When recruiters conduct job “intake meetings” - which is essentially where the recruiter and hiring manager discuss what type of professional they want to hire - recruiters pick up on keywords/phrases and translate that into the job description for job seekers to see. Sounds simple right?
The problem is many professionals write generic resumes that perfectly describe what their daily duties are but not their projects, key accomplishments or experiences that separate them from other experts in the field. If you are a financial analyst, we know you do 'financial modeling', but did you collaborate with executive stakeholders? Create reports overseeing Multi-Million dollar budgets? Lead projects across interdisciplinary departments/teams? Don't sell yourself short in this area.
It’s useful to carefully read through every job description and take a highlighter to keywords, phrases, skills, software and main responsibilities. If you can include these phrases or terms in your own resume - INCLUDE IT! It is far more powerful to use a job description to write a resume than writing a resume that perfectly describes your experience.
Remember, recruiters utilize Boolean Search Logic to find candidates. One time, I was working on a job description that listed “video games” as a preferred interest, but my candidate failed to list that this was a passion of theirs in their resume under an “Interests” section. Without listing keywords, how will recruiters know if you’re fit for the job? However, for a different job description this may not be appropriate.
3) Research The competition
When it comes to writing the bulk of your resume, there’s no point in playing the guessing game. Among the best of the best in the market, you’ll find everything you need to curate an unrivaled version of your resume. Start with sites that offer free access to resumes of other professionals, such as LinkedIn and Indeed. Then, try searching for candidates with your similar title or from your company.
Even better, if you’re applying for a position at a specific company, research the employees holding those roles within that company. Chances are, if your resume includes similar bullet points, you may be chosen too! Don’t copy word for word, but this strategy will give you ideas of what to include in your own resume.
4) Let others proofread
Resumes are very personal documents. They tell our life story and many candidates I work with are apprehensive about having family/friends read through it. And that’s okay. But, it is always a good idea to get a second pair of eyes on a resume.
I suggest picking someone you trust to give you honest feedback, one who will tell you what sounds good/looks good or what is over the top. Don’t have anyone? You can always work with a resume writing service to provide that strategic insight you need.
5) Formatting is your friend
Keep the resume to 1 page if possible, 1 ½ pages at most. To get there, there are a few tricks if you play with formatting. Make line spaces between paragraphs smaller font. Make sure your margins are 0.5 inches.
When possible, condense your bullet points to take up only 1 line. The quicker a recruiter can get through your resume, the more time they spend reading the parts of your experience that will get you the job. Also, in the titles, company names, and differentiating sections of your resume, you can be creative. Use font size, bolds, italics, and underlines to your advantage.
For more tips on Resume formatting, feel free to download this Free Resume Writing Guide.
All in all, there is a lot more that goes into writing an effective resume. But, if you follow these steps you’ll already be above the competition. If you need further assistance or have questions about resumes, there are other resources out there including resume writing services, LinkedIn, examples on free resume boards like indeed.com and many more. Whatever you decide, just promise me your resume won’t only be based off of a Google image search of “resume templates” ever again.