We all know having a good resume is important. They are your first impression, a highlight of all of your work experience and a determinant of whether you get an interview (and ultimately a job). In this blog post, Talent Acquisition specialist Shannon Blankchen from our New York office shares her resume do's and don'ts.
Recruiters take an average of six seconds to scan a resume, which is why it is important to stand out and show the right experience in order to get hired.
1. Having it look visually appealing. Make it one page the same front, double check so that there are no spelling errors and dates are accurate! First impressions go a long way and a resume that it is disorganized can show that the candidate isn’t a good fit.
Use a template and make sure it is organized. This one is one of my favorites. While I usually like Education at the top if you feel that your relevant experience is more important its okay to put at the bottom.
This is almost perfect but there are two errors:
2. Use spacing. While the above sample is almost perfect seeing no space at all between company and description makes me cringe. Check out the example bellow for spacing. Not all space needs the but a full line. Insert a single line without any text (underneath company name).
3. So you just graduated and feel that your volunteer work is irrelevant? Think again. If volunteer work has taken up a significant chunk of your time or taught you skills applicable to the job you’re applying for, think about putting it on your resume. Side projects, academic projects, or temp gigs can also be a unique way to bolster your resume and show off other skills.
4. Find out what your “sell” is and show it off. Just completed your CNA license or BSN and have an awesome GPA? Put it at the top of your resume Positions that are most relevant ex. internship at a hospital make sure this takes a longer portion so that it stands out.
6. Know how to explain each position and every skill you include! Some of my biggest feedback from clients is that candidates have great resumes but they aren’t able to explain specific things they listed in the interview and aren’t sure how to explain skills included.
7. Take it off if you can’t explain the sell! If you put something like owning a restaurant on your resume think about how it is transferable to the position so that it can be explained in an interview!
Many hiring mangers interviewing style involves going through each position on the resume beginning with the oldest and when irrelevant work experience is included without an explanation the interview might be off topic which makes it harder for candidates to convey why they are qualified and sell their skill set.
8. Be honest. Nothing is worse than getting an interview and have a hiring manager lose trust because of an inaccurate resume. The best way to avoid is to be honest!
9. Use data and numbers. Ex. “Increased sales in Northern region by 300%.”
10. Include more than one job title at the same company if you have been promoted. Having a promotion looks favorable but organize it in a way that doesn’t make your resume look disorganized.
11. Work with an external recruiter. Since I edit resumes for a living it is easy to see at first glance what who will get an interview. Recruiters can give you feedback and out what you might not notice are mistakes.
12. Save it as a word document and a PDF. Send PDF to companies and keep a word document so that you can go back and edit.
Don't obsess over having a well designed resume with a picture and unique format, I honestly prefer when candidates have straight forward resumes without all the fluff.
1. DON’T have spelling errors, issues with dates or grammatical errors. OK this is repetitive but very important Use the same font and size with the only exception name in the header.
2. Don’t make everything a single line. Avoid at all costs, it is okay to have the occasional bullet point that is one line but resumes that have two lines for each bullet point are more visually appealing.
3. Don’t try to hide the gaps. Explain with confidence- know your answer so you wont be flustered.
During the pandemic I was a substitute teacher while working remotely for Papa Pal and although it didn’t always apply to the jobs I was applying for I felt more confident because I was being honest and was prepared with an explanation. I talk about this is Job interviewing in 2021- embrace the “swerves” and land your dream job– when I mentioned certain things I enjoyed at Papa Pal (interacting with clients, building relationships) the job required travel and inconsistent hours which is why I am looking for a full time role.
4. Don’t avoid every single cover letter. Okay I admit it, I avoid cover letters as much as possible and prefer easy apply but as a recruiter I know some of the best positions have cover letters to get the best candidates.
5. Avoid using jokes. Not everyone in HR has the same sense of humor and might see “Java Script Ninja” as unprofessional.
In short make sure your resume is organized and edited while including skills, experience and education.
I hope this was helpful, now get out there and chase your dreams!