Resume Writing Tips
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A resume is something you should always have ready to go! It might be annoying to constantly update, but trust me. It will take you less time to update it every 6 months or year than to update it 1) when you really need and 2) when you haven’t touched it in 5 years. Working on your resume can truly be a beating, so just take my word for it puuuhlease. If you are a part of my monthly Women in the Workplace newsletter, then you know why ;) Want to sign up for this list? Click here! I’ll send my next one out the first week of September!
Back to trying to fit your whole life onto a sheet of paper… Let’s just dive into the tips, because I have a lot to say.
Canva. I use this to make a lot of my graphics for LMents of Style! Whereas I used to create my resume on Word, I’m 100% canva now. I like it for a lot of reasons. One is because it has templates that you can make your own. Another is because it lives on your Canva account, so you don’t have to worry about it being on another computer and you can literally update it from anywhere, just by logging in. They also have a lot of matching cover letter templates, so that makes it super easy!
One Page. Everyone I’ve spoken to except for one person has said keep it to one page. This is a tip that has been something I’ve been told since my very first resume. I have bumped mine to two pages before and received a request to put it back to one page. I know it can be hard to fit so much information into one page, but mess with the font size and margins, and make it happen. This also forces you to only keep information that is 100% necessary.
Different Resumes. Depending on what you’re going for, you might need more than one resume. For me personally, I have three. I have one for merchandising, one for project management, and one for social media managing. I have these ready to go, so I can apply with the relevant resume to whichever type of job I find. If you’re something super specialized, chances are you won’t need this, but it is good to have in mind especially if you are trying to jump industries!
White Space. Be mindful about how your overall page looks. If you have one or two words taking up an entire line, edit it to make the sentence/phrase shorter, or longer if that is what works best. A bunch of white spice is wasted space and doesn’t look so good. I personally never thought of this until I heard it from both a recruiter and a friend!
Quantify. The biggest tip I have heard from recruiters, my dad, and friends is that you need to quantify your resume. Oh you sell paper? How much paper year over year do you sell? Oh you manage teams? How many people and how many teams? Oh you were under budget and under time on your last deliverable? How much money did you save and how much time was awarded to other projects due to your success? Catch my drift? Basically if you can add a number, do it!
Connect the Dots. If you list something in your skills section, be sure to reference it in your work history section. Did you list Excel Vlookups as a skill? Make sure to mention where you used them and for what in your work history, ie building custom reports for X Company. A personal example for me is that I was an admin for Microsoft Dynamics AX. I was a go-to for system set up and assisted with regulations for a system upgrade. For skills I would say Microsoft Dynamics AX admin, but in my work history I would put the extra information mentioned above!
GPA. To include it or not to include it? I was always told GPA didn’t matter once you got your first job and while I do still believe that, I’m often surprised at how many applications still ask for it. When speaking to a recruiter recently, he basically said if it benefits you, include it! My college GPA was a cumulative 3.52, so it looks good to include it. If you don’t have a good GPA, don’t sweat it. Just don’t include it! On this same note, if something makes you look good, reference it! I graduated early and had a good GPA, so it is a double whammy and good to include. I was also licensing chair in my sorority. This is good to include, because not only did I make good grades, but I also held office / had a social life. Additionally, the licensing chair position is applicable to my current industry. PLUS listing a sorority might make me a connection I never would have had. The devil is in the details!
Verbiage. Use strong words. Words that aren’t overused and that actually mean something. Why say you coordinated something when you could say you managed it? Why say you worked on something when you could say you owned the process? A thesaurus will be your best friend for this!
Hyperlink. Did you know you can hyperlink sections of your resume? In Canva you can add this feature, even if it is a PDF! I include my blog on my resume, so I have the click through. It’s great to include portfolios as such and gives you a little extra edge.
Share. I don’t think there’s such a thing as having too many people check over your resume. Whether it is checking for errors or thinking on how you could make something better, let them help! DO keep in mind that everyone looks for something different, so take edits with a grain of salt and go with your gut. At least it got you thinking!
Photo. Do or don’t include a photo? I’ve heard it both ways. I personally do include a photo, because I think it humanizes me. It puts a face to a name and is no longer just a sheet of paper. I used to have an e-portfolio through yolasite, but have since forgone it, as I list LMoS as my portfolio. I always received amazing feedback on that inclusion, so I figure a photo works similarly. If you don’t check the boxes on your race or anything like that, I could see not including it, but I do check the boxes, so they are going to see that I’m a white female sooner or later.
Cover Letter. If you can include a cover letter, DO IT. This can also help set you apart. They can be annoying to include if you are applying to job after job, but they are worth it. I have a template set up to where my opening paragraph is basically the same, I just include the specific company. For the second paragraph, I mention something about the role specifically and how my skills are a good match. I always list my strength finder results and enneagram here as well. For the third paragraph I say something personal about the company and about my personal life. I meannn who doesn’t like reading that you have been a fan since you were 7, are an animal lover and enjoy a good glass of Grenache?! Make it you!! If I find a LinkedIn easy apply where I can’t include a cover letter, I try and find a careers email, where I can send my resume directly, along with a cover letter.
References. Some places I have worked never actually call the references, whereas some actually do! Either way, it is good to have great ones. I personally include a previous supervisor, a previous co-worker, and a college professor at the very least. Something cool I recently found is a website called WorkGrades.com. You can invite people do write references for you and have them ready for employers. Would be a cool thing to send on a cover letter!
Any thoughts? Tips I may have missed? If not, hurry up and get it done. Like I said…I know it is annoying to spend time on it, but once you update it, you’ll feel better! Happy job hunting!
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