If you’re reading this blog, chances are that you’re interested in crafting the perfect resume. Lucky you! Once you read this, you’ll be super prepared.
Google lists 62,200,000 results for the search “resume tips,” yet I don’t believe that everyone knows exactly what hiring managers, recruiters, and HR professionals are looking for. I look at hundreds of resumes, and, surprisingly, many of them do not follow standard conventions.
Some may think my tips are common sense, but the evidence I’ve seen from Perfect Search job and internship applications prove that not everyone is familiar with them. Plus, the more often you’re exposed to something, the better you’ll remember it. Basically, everyone should read this. Let’s begin!
1) Your resume must fit on a single page
8.5”x11” is the size of a standard sheet of paper. That’s 93 square inches. That’s all you get, and that’s all you need. I promise that anything longer is too much.
A mock resume created for Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo, has been circulating. Guess how long it was? That’s right, one page. I understand that a CV or high-security job might have different requirements, but most companies do not.
All of your bullet points (i.e. no paragraphs or lists that go on for lines) should be clear and concise, so there is no need to go over your allotted space.
Keep it simple, stupid. Unless you’re an amazing designer and your resume is going to look like a work of art (on every computer screen, document reader, and sheet of paper), err on the side of making your resume look professional rather than creative.
After all, what happens when you miss the mark? Unless you’re trying to show off a particular job-related skill with how you’ve designed your resume, it is unnecessary to do it big. A pig with lipstick on is still a pig, right? (Albeit a pig that is really excited about new Kylie Lip Kits dropping.)
To clarify, keeping it simple doesn’t mean paring down the information you’re providing; it means making its presentation professional and uniform. Make sure your margins aren’t teeny tiny, and make sure the font isn’t so small and squished together that it’s illegible. I wish that every resume I saw was crisp and clear, and I hope that yours is as well.
3) There are absolutely no typos allowed
The irony of someone exalting their attention to detail when they also have a typo or an error in their resume is pretty amusing. You should be checking your resume a million times (not an exaggeration) for mistakes. That includes misspellings, errors, inconsistent formatting, and awkward phrasing.
A resume that I’ve seen listed “intimate knowledge of sales” as a skill they had. Obviously I understand what they mean, but there is just something about that phrasing that makes me wonder if that person was simply picking random words out of the thesaurus. Plus, it’s too subjective.
4) B3 0bj3ct1v3
Because this is a blog and not a resume, I took creative liberty in the presentation of this point. (Be objective.) Your resume is your way of selling yourself, and everyone knows it. I’m sure you did great work in your last job, but be as objective as possible. How can you do that?
Quantify everything possible--now my header makes sense! Did you lead a number of sales calls? The easiest way to show your success is to say X% turned into clients. How many clients increased their spending because of the work you did? By how much? How many leads did you turn into conversions? How many people followed your company because of the blog post you wrote?
To figure out good things to quantify, think of any metrics or goals you had to meet, and use those numbers to describe how well you did. Also, consider anything you did ad nauseam and turn it into a rote, ingrained skill that you now have.
5) Stop living in your glory days
There should be no high-school related information on your resume. I’m sure you were a great varsity athlete and everyone loved having you as student class president, but you’ll need to wait for your next reunion to reminisce about all your great formative experiences.
If you’re in college and especially if you’ve earned your degree already, you should have enough impressive, relevant, and recent accomplishments to fill up your single-page resume. (I mean it--ONE page only!) I could imagine there are some circumstances that might break this rule (like having started a small business that you’re still running), but you probably weren’t that amazing of a youth. That’s okay; neither was I.
6) Don’t add skills that go without saying
One example that comes to mind was someone included that they were “proficient in English” on their resume. Given the nature of the hiring process here at Perfect Search, where everything collected and conducted is done in English, listing English as a skill of yours is superfluous.
This particular example makes me wonder why the person chose proficient rather than fluent, which is a required baseline for us. Having information like this on a resume also makes me wonder how much attention the person might or might not have paid to fine-tuning and perfecting their submission.
When considering data analysis and digital marketing more specifically, for example, something I don’t look for is proficiency in Microsoft Word. Instead, what I am excited to see is anything speaking towards an applicant’s high-level Excel or Salesforce experience. If you’re a college graduate or if you’re applying to a digital-related job, I’m going to assume you know how to type up a Word document. I’m not going to assume you know how to use VLOOKUP without you saying something about it.
7) Tailor it to the job
If you’re applying for jobs in different sectors or in different functions, you probably should not be giving each company the same resume. Your application to work in a restaurant should focus on customer service experience; your application to a digital marketing agency should focus on analysis and technical skills.
If you’re giving coursework examples, don’t list the astrobiology elective you took unless it’s actually relevant. Even if you don’t have direct experience that relates to digital marketing, you can likely tailor your information to highlight skills that would serve well in the role you want.
Check out my other blog post that discusses important qualities we want to see in a new hire. These are the kinds of things you should consider when deciding what to include on your resume and how to describe your experience.
Additionally, when writing a much-dreaded cover letter, it is important for you to really drive home how your past experiences have given you the necessary and applicable skills for the role you want. It’s also a great place for you to show your enthusiasm for the field you want to enter.
You’re now one step closer towards landing the role that you want. You don’t want to be the person submitting the funny resume that I can remember a year from now. Take the time to implement these guidelines, and it will pay off. Also, if you know Kylie Jenner, please share this with her. I am a big fan.
Any lingering resume questions on your mind? Don’t be afraid. Tweet us at @Perfect_Search and ask away!