You have a resume that you worked hard on. To you, it seems exhaustive, well organized, and the time you put into it has evoked a sense of pride at your finished work. Unfortunately, your perspective of your own resume pales in comparison to what a hiring manager or recruiter might think of your resume.
You’ve already invested a lot of time into your resume. Maybe you did, but your content and organization are missing the mark. In that case, you might have to go back to the drawing board. But if you feel confident that you’ve at least done a good job transferring the appropriate information onto the page, then here are some quick revisions you can make to polish your resume.
Your .5 font size changes aren’t fooling anyone.
Some people are so obsessed with the notion that all their work experience must fit onto one single page that they go to great lengths to shove all their content together to make it so. The descriptions of your work experience are in 12-point font while your skills at the bottom of the page are reduced to 11.5 font. If you make it 12-point, it’ll jump to the second page! The horror!
Click through your resume and make sure the font sizes are consistent. Maybe all your headings are in size 16 while sub-headings are in 12 and the descriptions are in 10.5. Going below 10-point font may begin to become unreadable.
Aesthetically appealing layout
Your “custom margins” of .25s and .75s are not worth it.
Similarly, space-saving obsessed job seekers will stretch out their margins as narrow as they can to make their content fit on one page. While this may help accomplish what you’ve set out to do, it compromises the overall aesthetic of the page.
If you’ve gotten all your information onto one page, that isn’t necessarily a cause for celebration. If it required so much tactic and strategy, it’s likely that your resume looks flooded with words.
Along with the actual margins, you should make sure you’ve laid out the content in a logical way. For example, your work experience should be in chronological order with your most recent experience at the top. Another example would be how you separate your education field from your skills and work experience – perhaps you incorporate some borders or lines to separate these.
Length of resume
A resume should be concise, clean, minimal, and easy to read.
If a hiring manager sees a page full of words, they’re not going to want to take the time to read through it all. You should make it as easy as possible for the recruiter or hiring manager to see what they need to see.
If you’re a seasoned professional with years of experience, a 2nd page may be necessary! If you’re a recent college graduate, you might just be using twelve too many words to say what needs to be said. In the college grad’s case, one page should be enough without needing to change fonts and margins to make it happen.
If just a half a page worth of content is falling into the second page, this may compromise the appealing look of the page and more effort should be made to consolidate the information so it fits onto one page. If the last piece of work experience of the first page falls onto the second page, just click enter a few times to make that entire block of related information go to page 2, rather than having it cut off and splitting between two pages.
Your resume is not a consolidated list of job descriptions.
A resume should not be a bullet point list of stuff you did. A resume is what you accomplished. A resume displays the exceptional things you did that prove you’d be an asset to an organization. An easy way to do this is to take out boring lines like, “Led advertising campaign,” and instead inject some metrics, key performance indicators, percentages, and other data that prove your campaigns, in this example, led to the accomplishment of something.
If it’s not a sentence, why is there a period?
One of the simplest revisions to make is checking for misspellings and sentence structures. If you no longer work at a company, your descriptions should be past tense. Begin each bullet with a verb and don’t end it with a period if it’s not a complete sentence. These are some of the simplest edits to make but also easy mistakes to make. If you’re not great with grammar and syntax, have someone else look it over for you. Or check out the free app Grammarly. A single misspelling can shatter the professionalism you hoped to convey with your resume.
Save the file as:
“My resume” and “resume revised 2017” aren’t the best resume file names.
This is another revision that takes a few seconds to implement. When you send your resume to a hiring manager, you should assume that it will be added to a library of resumes. It’s very difficult to find John Doe if his resume is saved as “my resume.” You can keep this as simple as “Doe, John – Resume,” or even try to get a tad more creative with it. Leave words out like, “Revised,” or “FINAL.”
Lastly, saving as a .pdf is the surest way to maintain the layout. If you used custom fonts and downloaded templates, these can get skewed when others open it in .doc form.
Content is king
At the end of the day, the quality of your content is what will land you the interview.
There are many things you can do to make your resume standout and look great. These are just some of the quick fixes you could employ, but what will always matter the most, is the richness of the content.
Most of your time should be spent on making sure you’re concisely and clearly articulating what sets you apart and how you’ve proven to be a valuable asset for previous employers. The content is your sales pitch!
Once you’ve nailed down your content, craft the rest of it into a well-packaged page that hiring managers and recruiters are relieved to see among a pile of unreadable resumes.