7 Crucial Resume Tips for Beginners
Most applicants are familiar with what a resume is and how to create one, but for those who need to brush up their resume, or are just starting one, here’s a quick overview of what will seal the deal in resume writing. A resume is a document used to present a person’s background, skills and accomplishments in a single, succinct document. Resumes can be used for a variety of reasons but typically they’re written with an employer(s) in mind.
#1 Thing to Know About Resume Writing: First Impressions Matter
Remember that a resume is usually the first impression of you to a potential employer; it is critical to make a good first impression. “You have only a few seconds to snag the employer’s attention,” writes Seattle-based career coach Robin Ryan in Winning Resumes. “You must sell the employer within 15 seconds of looking at your resume, or you’ll lose the job.”
#2: You Have Options
Keep in mind there are different types of resume styles to choose from; the job you are applying for should dictate which style you use. There are three basic types of resumes: chronological, functional and combination.
- Chronological resumes primarily focus on work experience and are for people who have a long work history.
- Functional resumes concentrate more on skills.
- A combination style works well for first-time job seekers. You can point out professional experience, but also draw more attention to your skills, since your work experience is probably limited.
#3: If You Use a Cover Letter, Do It Well
Cover letters go hand-in-hand with resumes and will upgrade your professionalism and help you stand out. A word of caution from the pros: change the cover letter if you’re sending it to multiple employers. Make sure to rewrite the letter for the job for which you’re applying, otherwise you’ll stand out, but in a bad way.
#4: Less is More
Most employers or recruiters just want a standard, professional font, with simple language and bullet points to keep it clean and organized. Colors and designs can be used, but we don’t recommend it unless the job you’re applying for is creative content related. A plain, ordinary font and color is a safe bet to keep your cover letter out of the trash bin.
#5: Keep it Clean and Accurate
No matter the circumstances, always update your resume digitally – that is to say, don’t modify it with handwritten notes. Make sure your resume is always updated, with your most recent job on top. Your employment dates, job titles, and duties need to be as accurate as possible. Be certain to review each job carefully as you add it to your resume, as it’s common practice for prospective employers to call former supervisors and check references.
#6: Keep it Professional
On the topic of accuracy and truthfulness, be sure to stay professional in your presentation of yourself. Extra information about hobbies, pets, and activities that aren’t work-related aren’t relevant to the document. Keeping it short is also something to keep in mind. Yes, the potential employer needs to know what skills and experience you bring to the table, but they may be skimming through a whole stack of potential candidates. Make your resume skimmer-friendly, and keep it on one page if possible, and never more than two.
#7: Be Prepared
Also, always come prepared for questions and on-the-spot date checks. That means always bring a few copies of your resume to your job interview. It can’t hurt to have access to a digital copy as well, in case you do forget the physical copies, or they get misplaced. It’s always better to be overprepared than to show up empty handed!
Remember just how important your resume is. It is the first point of contact you make with a potential employer, so you want that first impression to be a strong, clear demonstration of just how awesome you are at what you do. That’s how you get an interview—and then once you show that you ARE the absolute right person, the job is yours!