Ah, the fine art of resume perfection. Whether you like it or not, that piece of paper is worth its weight in gold. You can be the most impressive interviewer in the world, but if your resume is not correctly telling your story, you will never make it through the door. Here are a few basics to consider:
- Spelling. “Of course!” you say, but it is the absolute quickest and easiest way possible to lose your dream job.
- Grammar. Same as above. Using the wrong version of “your” or “their” is an automatic disqualification. Care enough not to make basic mistakes.
- Font. You are not a machine, so don’t send a resume that looks like it was created by one. Pick a font that is clear and easy for the eye to follow and matches your industry. What is acceptable for a graphic designer is not the same for a CPA.
- Layout. Bullets and spacing are part of design, and issues with them trumps even a spelling or grammar mistake. Check and triple check the layout of your resume, down to each and every bullet point. Keep things consistent from the format in which your dates are written to your line spacing. Make it a work of art. Then save it as a PDF. If not, you have no idea what it will look like on any other computer!
- Length. A resume is either one page or two. Nothing in between. Nothing more. If you have enough for two then make it count and fill it with good solid legitimate resume stuff. If you are making it up and working to push it to two pages, then stick to one. Stick to an 11-ish pt. font.
- The Story. Are you communicating to the employer clearly and effectively why you are the right person for the job? If you have been a pizza delivery person and you are now applying for a job as an environmental scientist, be ready to explain to the employer how your previous experience makes you the right candidate for the job.
The bottom line is that your resume needs to be excellent to get you to the interview. Anyone you would consider as a reference should be able to give you feedback on your resume. Don’t simply rely on family – they already love you. Last but NOT least – include your email address and LinkedIn profile on your resume – just be sure your email address is professional. Keep it simple with a variation of firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t rely on your school email if you are a student or recent grad – using a temporary email address could cause hassle down the road.
For more resume tips, check out these two great resources: