Okay, since I haven’t done any PTN College Tips in a while and my part time position is mainly editing resumes for a staffing agency, I figured I’d put those two together and make a post about resumes!
Everyone wants their resume to stand out when they’re applying for a job. I mean, you kind of have to look different in some ways to catch the recruiters’ eyes and all. But some people take it a bit too far. I’ve been dealing with a lot of technical resumes, which can get pretty long and monotonous after a while. But here are my top tips for resumes.
Note: When you submit your resumes to a staffing company for a position, most likely they have a set format each resume has to follow. Meaning that anything you do to your resume to make it “stand out” doesn’t matter since they have to re-do it to make it look like every other resume their company submits. (aka, this is my job)
1. Colors are not something you should really be playing around with. I’ve come across resumes in navy blue, lavender, etc. They’re not going to make a difference. If anything, they’re a bit annoying. Especially if you’re submitting through a staffing agency. Also, if you’re submitting through an online form and you think that hiding key words in white will help you out, when the program goes through your resume it will highlight what’s written, meaning all of your hidden key words are no longer hidden, making it look a bit stupid.
2. Please, stick with one column. I don’t know why this has become a thing now, but I’ve come across far too many resumes that use two columns. I don’t get the appeal and it can even make the resume more complicated to understand. Seriously, simple is the best way to go.
3. Stick with basic fonts. Again, this is going along with the KISS method (keep it simple, stupid). If your resume isn’t being looked at by a human, it’s just getting thrown in some program and getting analyzed. Arial and Times New Roman are classics.
4. Don’t use tables. For the love of all things, don’t use tables. Especially if you’re submitting online. Most programs can’t read tables and just skip over it. So anything you put in the table may not even be read. The only way I can see tables being useful is if you’re converting your word document to PDF or you’re printing it out to hand in a physical copy.
5. Bullet points are your friend. It makes it easier to see all the information clearly. Paragraphs aren’t really necessary in a resume. Use a few sentences to describe a job position if necessary.
6. Don’t write in first person!! Your resume should be in third person. There shouldn’t be any ‘I’s or ‘my’s anywhere!
- Not every resume you hand in should be tailored to the specific info in the job description, but have a few different resumes for different types of jobs. For example, I have one for office positions and one for more media/journalistic positions. Each highlights the skills I have for the specific areas. But definitely consider tweaking some keywords if you really like a position and want a better shot of getting through to a person.
- You don’t need every job you’ve ever done ever. I’ve come across this more with the technical resumes. The average length of some of them is about 5-6 pages. I’ve had a few come in at 10-14 pages. If you’ve had the same type of position at a couple of different jobs, there’s no real reason to have them all down.
- On that note, you don’t need to put every single thing you’ve done at the job on your resume. The average resume for a college grad should be 1-2 pages. If you did a lot of different roles at a position, try and narrow it down to the core duties.
- Volunteer work isn’t really necessary. Unless you happen to have a steady volunteer position (I definitely add my MMM position to my resume) or you have a gap between employment.
- You don’t need to add everything you’ve ever accomplished. I was looking through a resume for an IT position and the guy had put down that he’s a certified umpire. That’s great, but really doesn’t do anything to help getting an IT job.
- GPAs aren’t really necessary either. If you graduated cum laude or the like, you can put that if you want, but most people tend to look for you having a degree, not if you were the top in your class. (Note: this totally changes job to job. If you’re in a field where GPAs are taken seriously, then by all means, but it down. It’s just for your basic entry-level position, they don’t really care too much.
Send your resume through spell check/ grammar check. There’s nothing worse than having a kick ass resume with grammatical errors
Have a friend look it over to make sure nothing seems out of place. You may have a preference for a way something looks but it just doesn’t sit right with others.
Make sure you save the document with your name in it. Whoever is looking at your resume needs a way to differentiate yours from the hundreds of others they’ve received.