10 Tips for Writing Resumes That Get You Noticed

As if you don’t have enough on your plate already, now it’s time to write a killer resume. Grab some coffee and have a seat. The task of writing a resume is daunting to almost everyone…even successful professionals who have been working for 30+ years. It’s feels overwhelming to know where to start, what to include and what to leave off. The following 10 tips will help you write a resume that will not only stand out, but is sure to get you noticed by hiring managers.

1. Throw out the objective statement.
Get rid of it. If the objective statement on your current resume says something like “Looking for entry-level job in Information Systems that will allow me to use my technical skills, organizational skills and people skills”, hit the delete button now. The hiring manager knows what your objective is the minute he or she receives your email with the subject line “Application for entry-level information systems position”.

2. Include LOTS of white space.
Human Resources staff review hundreds, sometimes thousands of resumes a day. They’re already cross-eyed by the time they get to your resume, so do them a favor and don’t litter your resume with extraneous words that take up lots of space but have no impact.

3. Bullet points are your friend.
Lengthy, rambling, important sounding paragraphs that mean nothing are out. Bullets are in. HR will be impressed if you explain your accomplishments concisely. They will contact you for an interview. You will be happy.

4. The purpose of a resume is to get an interview, not win a formatting contest.
The only purpose of your resume is to create enough interest in you to have an employer contact you for an interview. No one cares if you don’t have an objective statement. No one cares if you list your activities above your skills or vice versa. Make your resume interesting, not a clone of every resume template you’ve downloaded from the internet. (HINT: Most of those resume sites exist to make money from google ads and other revenue streams that depend on lots of pages of content.) Don’t be fooled into thinking your resume has to look like everyone else’s.

5. Keep your resume professional and mature.
Do not include activities you participated in while you were still in High School unless they are REALLY spectacular, or they are something you continued to be involved in all throughout college. For example, if you were a photographer for your high school yearbook, but now you can’t even operate a camera, leave it off your resume. Here are some more suggestions.

DO include:

-Winning a gold medal at the Olympics

-Organizing a blood drive for the Red Cross

-Fundraising for important causes and charities

DON’T include:

-Being voted best looking for your high school yearbook

-Organizing Senior Skip Day

-Belonging to the Seinfeld fan club

6. Use action words.
Action words take your resume from drab to dazzling. To add sizzle to your resume, use bullet points that begin with action words like achieved, created, presented and managed. In addition, make sure the grammar on your resume is consistent. For example if you’re using past tense, make sure you don’t switch to present tense for the next bullet point.

Example of what not to do:

  • Won the salesperson of the month award in April for closing 80% of all cold calls.
  • Write sales copy for web site. (should be “Wrote”)

7. Use numbers and dollar figures to make your resume stand out.
This reduces clutter from writing everything out, and makes you seem impressive.

  • Increased web traffic by 45% in less than 3 months.

8. Use keywords to avoid getting screened out by HR computer software.
Many HR departments utilize software programs that screen resumes for the significant keywords listed in the job description or posting. Read through the job description carefully and be sure to sprinkle the important keywords throughout your resume.

9. An entry-level resume should be 1 page only.
No, you should not have a 2 page resume at this point in your career. Yes, hiring managers will laugh at you and toss your resume in the wastebasket. Seriously, keep it to one page. It’s the only formatting rule you really have to follow.

10. Proofread your resume, and then have someone else review it.
You will miss a typo, or a repeated word word. It happens more often than you think think. Don’t get passed over for an interview because you couldn’t spare a few extra hours to perfect the document that is more important than your thesis. Have someone review it and give you their honest opinion. Try to get it reviewed by a career counselor or someone who has experience in the field you plan to pursue.

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