- Simplicity is key – keep the layout simple, tidy and offer clean white space in between sections. Text should be easy to read. When the font is legible, recruiters can scan your resume for key information. Concise bullet points are often favoured over lengthy sentences and paragraphs.
If sending digital files, provide flexible options for the recipient; usually Word or PDF files are sufficient. If using a PDF, ensure it is text-based, as most Applicant Tracking Systems will search the text for keywords.
- Important information up front – the top 1/3 of your résumé is valuable real estate. Position your key selling points in this space. Highlight in bold, achievements and skills that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Use the job description as a reference for key terms.
- Consistent branding – if you have a LinkedIn profile, ensure it contains robust information and that it’s up-to-date and aligned with what is presented on your curriculum vitae. Some hiring managers take stock in third-party testimonials provided on LinkedIn because of the transparency of your network. Don’t hesitate to request a recommendation from a prior employer or colleague; perhaps offer one in return. Include the URL to your LinkedIn profile at the top of your resume.
- Think strategically – your résumé is more than a summary of your work experience. It is essentially a marketing tool for your individual brand and your target market is the recruiter/hiring manager for the job you want. Cater your résumé to appeal to that market and clearly state why you are the best candidate for the job. What achievements and skills make you qualified now, and what can you offer in the future?
- Incorporate major keywords – when a recruiter does a search on LinkedIn for potential candidates, they will use keywords or specific phrases that match the job qualifications. The same applies to scanning a large pile of résumés, and often times, a computer will screen résumés first for relevancy before a recruiter.
- Measurable achievements – measurable accomplishments have more “wow” factor than a summary of fulfilled responsibilities. An example would be: “Met annual company sales quotas” vs. “Exceeded sales quotas by 3% YOY during 5-year run with the company”.
Writing an impactful résumé is an imperative objective towards meeting your longer-term career goals. Your approach is the same as you would approach an interview. You don’t just show up for the interview, you want to shine!
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