Pro Tips: 5 Ways to Perfect Your Resume

By: Rebekah Sack

You’re getting ready to enter the professional world of business. Where do you want to work? What’s your dream job? Well, you aren’t going to get anywhere without a fantastic resume. Here are 5 quick tips to help you perfect your most precious professional asset.

1. Impress quickly

Studies show that employers get their first impressions of your resume in about 6 seconds. You read that right — within 6 seconds they know whether they want to keep reading or toss it in the can.

Make sure your resume is well-organized so that your future employer can quickly scan the page. Put your most impressive points at the top! For our journalists out there — keep the notable stuff “above the fold.”

2. Keep it short

It’s unlikely that an employer will be happy about a multiple-paged resume. Keep your resume under a page so that your employer gets what they need quickly. You shouldn’t need more than a page to explain your qualifications.

If your resume is over a page long, evaluate why. Is it because you have every job you’ve ever worked on there? Take a look at the jobs that don’t really matter to your next boss — will he care if you flipped burgers at the local burger joint? Unless you had managing experience, maybe not.

3. Have a master sheet

What does that mean, you ask? You’ll be applying for more than one job, so keep a master resume with every single detail about your life. Have a list of every job you’ve ever worked, every volunteer experience you have, every skill you posses — that way, you can tailor your resume to whichever job you’re applying for.

It’s also a life savor when our memories aren’t so great — what was the name of that conference I spoke at in high school? Whip out that master sheet and you’re good to go.

4. Keep it simple

Don’t use all these crazy colors and fonts on your resume. A simple black and white (and maybe an occasional splash of gray) is your best bet. It looks clean and simple and doesn’t distract.

Nothing will bother that recruiter more than unreadable font. Stick to traditional fonts like Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman, or Helvetica. If you can read it easily, it’s good to go. Definitely don’t use WingDings. Or WingDings 2. Or 3.

5. Use action verbs

Start every explanation with an action verb. Instead of “While at my previous job, I did a lot of managing and scheduling,” write, “Managing and scheduling were my primary responsibilities.”

Not only does this make scanning your resume easier, but it reads in a much more professional way. Use language to your advantage — that’s all you have to go on with this quick first impression.

Bonus tip: Are you completely clueless? Ask for help! Your college or university should have a career center or advisor to help you create the perfect resume. Have your friends, parents, coworkers, and employers take a look and give you feedback.

Happy resume-ing!

Check out our Survival Guide to Interviews to not only ace that resume, but to ace the first in-person meeting.

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