I’ve got to be honest here: Sometimes going through resumes is a drag. Don’t get me wrong, HR is a great field to work in and it is incredibly rewarding, but there are things that we see in HR that cannot be unseen.
Sure the job market is tough right now, but, from my experience, people still aren’t putting the necessary effort into their resumes to ensure they are getting the attention the resumes deserve.
So how do you make sure your resume grabs the attention of your reader? Follow along for a few resume tips and insights to reevaluate the document you have now and get better results:
Forget about a fancy letterhead and swirly font types. When employers comes across a fancy resume, they see that the candidate doesn’t have enough confidence in his or her experience and abilities to just leave well enough alone. You don’t need to dress up success; success bleeds through the pages of your resume.
With that being said, if for some reason you feel you must dress up your resume, I implore you, please don’t include your picture. Your resume should describe who you are, your skills and accomplishments on paper. The interview is where potential employers can put a face with a name. And for you movie buffs, do not spray your resumes with a sweet scent (thank you, Legally Blonde). It is not a love letter and its smell, if any, will not help.
The only exception to this rule is if you are applying for a position working in the creative department of a company or you want to be a model or actress and pictures of yourself are necessary. Otherwise, just say no.
Eliminate any large paragraphs of text on your resume. Too much text can result in your resume receiving a quick skim through, and then being tossed back into the pile. Hiring managers can receive hundreds of resumes a day; they do not have the time or patience to read through masses of text. Just like in an elevator speech, you only have a short window of time to grab your reader’s attention. The text throughout your resume should be clear and concise.
If you have large amounts of text, break them down into bullet points, which are much easier to swallow for people. Bullet points force you to pull out only the main points of what you are trying to say, which will reduce the overall length of your resume.
Use a standard font, such as Arial or Times New Roman. Avoid using “fancy” fonts because different recipients may open your resume on different operating systems. Using nonstandard fonts poses the risk of wingdings replacing fonts after the resume is opened.
Use a chronological resume as opposed to a functional resume (Microsoft Word offers both templates).
Be sure to read through the job description in its entirety before sending off your resume. HR managers will look for the listed skills and responsibilities throughout your resume before selecting it for further review. This is especially important if you know that your application is going to initially be screened by a software program.
Most important, if you do not have the skill, do not put it on your resume!
You don’t need anything fancy for your resume to get noticed, just the basics. As the saying goes, sometimes less is more.