• Gerry T.

Update your resume to 2018 standards

The path to a great new job is forged with an exceptional new resume. Many jobseekers know this already. However, most don’t understand that resume design matters almost as much as the content in the document.

1. Make your header bold and easy-to-read.

Use a larger font to call attention to her name and a double-ruled line to separate her contact information out from her resume material.

Pro tip: Each time you create a resume, double check that all of your contact information is accurate, especially if you are using a draft of an old resume. Old versions of your resume may contain outdated email addresses or phone numbers.

2. What about your street address?

Modern resume writers omit their physical street addresses on their resumes. The advent of email and telephone communication has largely eradicated the need to provide a recruiter with your physical address. After all, when is the last time you received an interview invitation via snail mail?

Applicants who are looking to relocate for a job often choose to include their current mailing address, but otherwise, it’s up to you whether or not to include an address.

3. Put your best content up top.

Regardless of which resume design you choose, before you start writing, curate your content to cull your most impressive skills and achievement from your resume. It’s true that writing a great resume can take hours, but studies show that recruiters and hiring managers are spending a fraction of that time reviewing the fruits of your labor.

According to one study, recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing an individual resume. The takeaway? Candidates have just seconds to make an impression and convince a recruiter to delve deeper into their qualifications. This means that utilizing a resume design that incorporates a professional summary section is critical, as is organizing your information coherently throughout your resume so that a recruiter can zero in on your qualifications quickly.

4. Craft a killer professional summary.

A professional summary sits at the top of your resume beneath your header. Its purpose is to offer a recruiter a quick snapshot of your experience and qualifications. Ultimately, a well-written professional summary must explain what you’ll bring to the table if you are hired.

You must write your professional summary in the third person, and you should give a brief description of who you are (for example, “A deadline-driven journalist with seven years of experience”).

Summaries should be short ¬— no longer than three to five sentences — and concise. The idea is to draw the reader in and make them feel compelled to read the rest of your resume. Don’t give your entire life story.

5. Personalize your resume, especially your skills section.

Regardless of the resume design you choose, it should feature a prominent skills section. It is critical that you customize this section for every job application you write. Since many companies use applicant tracking systems (or ATS) to weed out unqualified candidates, wording your resume precisely is crucial to get past the robots and onto a recruiter’s desk.

How do you do this? First, carefully read the job ad and list all of the skills, experience, and educational requirements it calls for. Next, make a list of all of those qualifications that you possess. Add those to your resume using the exact language used in the job ad.

Why is echoing the language in the job ad so important? Because it’s the only way to get your resume past an ATS. Seriously. Most ATSs cannot understand any nuance in language, which means that if a job ad calls for a candidate with “supreme customer service skills,” and you write that you are “great with customers” you could be eliminated, even though those two statements mean the same thing.

6. Concentrate on consistency.

Your work experience section is chock full of important information and, depending on the resume design you choose, also chock full of opportunities to ruin the formatting of your resume.

Once you’ve written all of your past work experience, and packed each entry full of the keywords and skills you’ve pulled from the job ad, double check that the resume format is consistent.

Start by making sure each entry has the company name, location, and dates of employment listed, all in the same order. Next check that all of your bullet points are aligned and that all of your margins line up.

Resume format is just as important as the resume design; keeping the formatting uniform will help a recruiter find the information they need with ease.

7. Don’t be afraid of white space.

When deciding on a resume design, opt for one that utilizes a good amount of white space. Use a highly organized resume design that relies heavily on

white space. This allows the reader’s eye to rest and easily seek out the information they need. Don’t be tempted to fill every line on the page.

8. Proofread. Every. Single. Time.

Even a professional resume design can save your resume from a glaring typo. Make no mistake about it: even a tiny typo can land your resume in the recycle bin. Read your resume twice. Then read it backward. Next, send it to a trusted friend.

Complete these steps every time you write a resume, as they will change when you customize them to the job post. Even if you simply decide to input previously edited material into another resume design, you’ll want to proof it again to make sure that all of the information transferred properly and that all of your margins line up.

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