Your resume is one of the most important documents you will ever write in your life. It could land you a big raise or decide where you work for the next ten years. You should invest plenty of time and effort into writing a resume, and you should proofread it thoroughly before taking it to market.
We all know that we need to check for spelling mistakes and typos, but what about the bigger picture? Here are three questions to ask — and answer — before sending your resume out to the world:
1. Is It Easy to Read?
Recruiters and hiring managers are busy people with deadlines to meet and hundreds of resumes to sort. The last thing you want to do is make life difficult for them by sending a resume that’s tough to read.
Is your resume written in a tiny, elaborate font? Does it contain huge paragraphs that will cause readers headaches? If so, you need to rethink your structure and formatting.
Your resume needs to be easy to navigate. Recruiters and hiring managers won’t hunt for the information they need. If they can’t find it right away, your resume will get placed in the reject pile.
Ideally, your resume should be divided into clear sections with bold headings and sufficient spacing. Break text up using short paragraphs and bullet points to ensure your message can be easily digested. This will make it easy for people to skim your resume and quickly locate important details.
2. Does It Hold People’s Attention Right From the Start?
The first few seconds of a recruiter’s or hiring manger’s time with your resume are crucial. They have plenty of resumes on hand already. If one doesn’t capture their attention immediately, they’ll simply move on to the next.
To stop this from happening, you must begin your resume with an engaging profile. Your profile should be brief, containing a high-level overview of your skills, experience, and knowledge.
Think of your profile as your elevator pitch. Your goal is to sell yourself by explaining the unique benefits you can deliver to an employer. Avoid resume clichés like “hard-working team player who thinks outside the box.” Instead, stick to the facts and highlight your specific, relevant skills. Always tailor your profile so that it speaks directly to the particular role for which you are applying.
3. Does It Prove Your Value?
Many job seekers use their resumes to explain what they do, but they fail to showcase the results of their actions at work. You may have worked extremely hard producing reports, analyzing data, and delivering presentations, but if none of it made any impact on your employer, what was the point?
It’s important to detail your input, but it is your output that completes the story and shows employers you can make a difference.
“Made outbound sales calls to potential clients.”
“Made outbound sales calls to generate leads for the senior team, resulting in 10 appointments per week and $15,000 in sales closed in 3 months.”
By adding quantified results, you show readers the true value you bring to potential employers, which will make you a much more attractive candidate.
Your resume should be easy to read, it should hold recruiters’ and hiring managers’ attention, and it should prove how your work benefits employers. If your resume meets these three criteria, you’ll be more likely to land interviews — and, eventually, the job of your dreams.
Andrew Fennell is the founder of the resume-writing advice website StandOut CV.