As most of us jump start our new years resolutions and begin thinking about what changes we want to make in our lives, many of us decide a career change is in the future. Updating a resume can be daunting and overwhelming, but necessary. At Dean’s Professional Services, our staffing and recruiting team reviews hundreds of resumes…a day. We’re experts at reviewing, filtering and preparing resumes for our clients. Here’s 5 tips that will provide insight from a hiring manager’s point of view.
1. Look for keywords in the job posting.
Most people create one or two different versions of their resume and submit the same resume to every job opening they see. Although this approach may seem expedient, it often proves ineffective. Most hiring managers are looking for keywords that match the job description FIRST. If you come across a job that you believe you are qualified for, look for the keywords (skills, phrases that describe experiences, software, etc.) that you can add to your resume. This may seem time consuming, doing this for each job you want to apply for…But it works! There are hiring managers that actually do a “search” using the “find” command in word or PDF reader specifically for those key words and will prioritize based on just this search!
2. Review resume examples in your industry.
Although there are some free templates available in word and elsewhere online, it’s a good idea to do a few quick searches and find out what the industry standards are for your job or industry. There are some industries that have significantly different formats than what’s standard and you may be missing out on opportunities simply because of how your resume looks.
3. Use a professional font.
We all know the standard fonts Arial and Times New Roman. These should be your default fonts for your system AND for your resume. Cursive fonts, all caps fonts, and decorative fonts should not be used on a resume at all. Using the wrong font can cause a hiring manager to get distracted, not take you seriously and ultimately disregard the resume all together. In addition to using a standard font, ensure your font is between 10 and 12 font size; and 1 font should be used throughout the entire resume. Color is not necessary unless it is something that is done industry wide. These are all small things that make a BIG difference.
4. Be SURE to check the spelling, grammar and verb tense.
Spell check is available on EVERY word processing system. Use it before saving your resume. BUT! Be sure to go back and review and double-check for spellings of specific industry / job-standard acronyms and phrases. There are times where word processing software may not correct the spelling because there’s an acronym or vocabulary word specific to an industry. The hiring manager and/or HR representative is most likely going to be familiar with the spelling and distinction of acronyms and industry standard vocabulary. If you’re going to list your duties in phrases with bullets, punctuation may not be needed. However, if you’re going to add a paragraph for each job describing your responsibilities, complete sentences are necessary and proper punctuation are critical.
5. Only include relevant information.
Resumes should not be longer than 2 pages! Remember to list the most relevant information IN CHRONOLOGICAL order. If you are condensing your resume to be job specific be mindful of gaps in employment history. Gaps of employment are a big red flag for most hiring manager, so be sure to explain in a cover letter or in an interview setting. If you have worked for a staffing company on temporary assignments, be sure to add that to your resume or be prepared to explain the reason for multiple jobs within a small amount of time.
The biggest tip is to be mindful of what you’re submitting when sending a resume and to whom (what company and, if available, what hiring manager). Resumes are a selling tool to get your foot in the door. Stay ethical but use your resume to your advantage. Provide what makes the most sense to your potential next employer.