Writing a resume is one of the most important parts of the job application process. It’s the first chance you get to make an impression on a potential employer, and the first information they learn about you, so it has to be impressive. So what are the biggest do’s and dont’s when it comes to writing a resume? Let’s take a look.
Before you get into any technical points about what your resume should contain, it’s important that you get the basics right. For a start, your resume should be of a sensible length, which is usually between one or two pages. You should also make sure that all the spelling and grammar is correct, as a strict priority. Employers spend, on average, less than two minutes reading your resume, so all the important information should be easily accessible and relevant. If your resume is over two pages, it could mean that you’re overstuffing it, so cutting down the word count and including only the information most relevant to the job you’re applying for is probably a good idea.
Once you’ve got a resume that’s a sensible length and with good spelling and grammar, it’s time to make the finishing touches. It’s a sad fact of life that the first line of any company’s recruitment process will be automated, which means your resume is up against a robot. These computers are called applicant tracking systems, and they are now used by up to 98% of organisations as part of their applications process. The robot will scan your resume, pull out the key information that an employer is looking for, and determine whether or not you’re a good fit on that basis. As a result, your resume needs to be robot friendly so you don’t miss out by mistake. One way to do this is to make sure your layout style isn’t confusing, your font is clear, and that your jobs and personal information are separated into clear and coherent blocks that can be scanned easily by a machine. This also means it’s a good idea to leave out the graphics or charts, which might also confuse a computer.
Optimise your resume
A second factor that can help you stay on the right side of the computers is to make sure you use workplace and industry keywords that the robot might be looking for, so that these qualities stand out. A keyword can often be identified by pulling out recurring themes from the job description, which show what kind of skills they’re looking for. Other keywords will depend upon which job or industry you’re applying for, and you should already know some of the key concepts that matter to businesses in your line of work. There are also generic keywords that many employers look for, especially around hard skills such as relevant software knowledge or driving licenses. By thinking about these factors, you’ll ensure your resume doesn’t get tossed out unfairly.