Your resume is the most important tool you have for marketing yourself to prospective employers. Written and laid-out correctly, it gives you a chance to show off your skills and experience and make a great initial impression.
A badly-written resume, on the other hand, will be discarded immediately and send you back to square one in your job hunt. The factors which all come together to make a winning resume are relatively simple, but you would be surprised how many people neglect them when writing their own.
Here are some actionable measures you can take today to improve your chances of getting onto the shortlist with your next job application.
1. Include Keywords from Job Posting
Most resumes are never actually read by a pair of human eyes. Due to high numbers of applications received, human resource departments today use software which sifts through resumes looking for specific keywords mentioned in the job posting. Those resumes which do not contain these keywords will be discarded out of hand. When adapting your resume to apply for a job, identify the words and phrases which you think employers will have highlighted as keywords and include as many instances of them as you can in your document.
2. Use a Professional Font
Remember that employers will only review your resume for around 30 seconds. If it is hard to read, they are likely to put it down and move on to the next one in the pile. To make your resume as easy to read as possible, use a font like Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri and set the font size to 10 or 12.
3. Choose an Attractive Layout
Certain layouts and design are more suitable for different industries. Search the internet for a sample from your industry and copy the layout and style. You should aim to design your resume so that it is as easy to read as possible, cutting down wordy sentences and using clear headings and subheadings. Only include relevant information and place your most impressive achievements in clear view on the first page.
You would be surprised to see how many resumes are rejected out of hand due to typos and grammatical errors. Mistakes like these leave a bad impression and will leave the employer wondering if you will take a similarly thorough approach to your new job. After spending so much time applying for the job, there really is no excuse for not proofreading it carefully to make sure you there are no glaring errors.
It does not matter how good your interview skills are; if your resume does not get you onto the interview shortlist, the hours you spend filling out forms and writing your cover letter will have all been for nothing. If you follow the tips above, your resume will help you to stand out from the crowd and get you to the interview stage, at which point your personality, skills and experience should shine through.