Bridge Insights

Best Practices for Writing Your Resume

Oct 12, 2020

Are you one of the millions of Americans who have found themselves opening up a job search this year? Whether this is your first dip in the talent pool, or if you’ve been away from the job search world for a while, making resume revisions is most likely pretty high on your priority list.

If you haven’t searched for a job in a while, getting your work history “resume ready” can seem like a daunting task. Below I have compiled a list of 5 best practices to help you get your resume in top shape and set your job search up for success!

[blockquotes color=”highlight” logo=”yes”] Having a resume that highlights your professional strengths and quickly and clearly demonstrates why you are a top candidate for a job will help increase your odds of getting to the next step in the hiring process. [/blockquotes]

1. Have a Clear and Concise Layout

Most hiring managers will spend, at most, 10 seconds looking at your resume. You need to catch their attention and catch it fast! A clear and concise layout can help a hiring manager learn as much information as possible about you in that short window.

As a job seeker, it can be tempting to cram all your work history onto one page, but this can create data overload and make your resume look unappealing before anyone has had a chance to read any of the words on the page.

2. Keep it to a Single Page

This is important: If managers are only spending 6- 10 seconds reading your resume, they will most likely not even get to the bottom of the first page –let alone the second. Remember, the purpose of your resume is to showcase your background, skills, and experience; it’s not to give a play-by-play of everything you have ever done professionally.

3. Grammar, Spelling, and Tenses

We cannot stress this enough: Check 👏 Your 👏Spelling👏! Communication and writing skills are essential to virtually every job that’s out there. The second a hiring manager sees a spelling or grammar error, they will throw out your resume. The same thing goes with verb tenses and subject/verb agreement. If the role was in your past, then it should be written in the past tense.  Grammar and spelling can be easy things to miss, so always have a second (or third) set of eyes proofreading your resume.

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4. File Names Matter

One component of resume writing that job seekers often forget is how their information will be received. Most people will save their resume with a generic file name like “Resume- Final draft”. If you want to get lost in the sea of resumes reviews, save your CV this way.

Remember, the goal is to leave the best impression possible with the person reviewing your resume. The candidates that stand out, stand out because they do everything in their power to make the hiring manager’s job easier.

Put yourself in their shoes; would you be willing to go back to search for a needle in a haystack, or would you think John Smith knows his stuff because he knew how to title his resume in a way that made it easy for you to search and find him?

If you’re not sure how to do this, the rule of thumb is saving resumes with the nomenclature of FirstName_LastName_Resume.  Be sure to also send over a .pdf; if you send it any other way, there is a chance the formatting could look different on the reader’s end, and this puts all the hard work you have done formatting your resume at risk.

5. Your Resume Should Tell Your Story

Many of the tips that I have mentioned all point to the idea that your resume should tell a clear and concise story.  Help make the hiring manager’s decision easier by showing them why you are the best candidate for the job.  Your resume should look like a timeline of your work history; it doesn’t have to detail every mile traveled, but it should mention where you have been and the important stops along the way.

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Bringing It All Together

A strong resume can streamline your job search process and help you find your dream job faster. Having a resume that highlights your professional strengths and quickly and clearly demonstrates why you are a top candidate for a job will help increase your odds of getting to the next step in the hiring process. With some work upfront and by following these best practices, you can take your resume from a required job search document to one of your strongest professional assets.