25 Resume Tips That Help Make a Great First Impression
Frequently your resume is your first chance to make an impression on a recruiter or hiring manager. And you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so the importance of the resume cannot be underestimated. Here are my top quick tips for creating a resume that makes a great first impression and gets hiring managers to take a second look at you.
- Include a professional e-mail address; even your e-mail is part of your brand. (i.e., firstname.lastname@example.org won't cut it)
- Include a phone number that is attached to a professional voice-mail message. A goofy voice mail will encourage recruiters to walk away.
- A resume objective describes what you want, and employers don't care about what you want. They care about problems you can solve for them.
- Create a profile at the top of your resume to prove your value proposition to a hiring authority, instead of an objective.
- Refrain from using subjective words like "loyal" or "trustworthy" to explain your candidacy; you are a job seeker, not man's best friend.
- Omit phrases such as "responsible for" or "duties included" from your resume; opt for stronger language such as "managed" or "oversaw."
- On your resume, your professional experience section is about where you've been; your top profile section is about where you want to go.
- Your resume profile is the 40,000-ft. view of what you can do; your experience section is the granular proof of this based on past success.
- List core competencies, keywords, or buzzwords for your job function/industry on the resume to please recruiters and resume-parsing software.
- Include months and years on your resume for any positions you were at for less than two years; omitting the months in short-tenured positions is deceptive.
- If you were let go from several positions with short tenure due to a downsizing, explain that briefly right on the resume. Transparency is always better than obscurity.
- If you left the workplace to take care of a child or aging parent, explain that right on the resume. Don't make the reader guess what you were doing during that gap. Their assumptions will rarely work in your favor.
- Minimize descriptions of job tasks and maximize descriptions of accomplishments. Sell it, don't tell it.
- Quantify your accomplishments: Show numbers, dollars, and percentages to prove impact in a job.
- List hobbies and volunteer experience when relevant to your job target. Leave your passion for stamp collecting off the resume.
- Include graduation dates; omitting them raises suspicion and calls more attention to the very thing you are trying to hide. (See also Resumes and Age Bias: To Date or Not to Date?)
- If you are a recent grad, list a high GPA and relevant coursework, school projects, and internships. Unpaid experience still counts.
- Omit "references available upon request." With Google and other search engines, references are available whether you want them to be or not.
- Use charts and graphs on your resume to demonstrate impact. A picture is worth a thousand words -- and a bit of "bling" is not a bad thing.
- A longer read that is readable is better than a quick read that is not. Pick a font of at least 10 point so the resume is easy to read.
- For a U.S. resume, omit references to date of birth, marital status, or religion. Employers cannot request it; offering it makes you look clueless.
- Create a text-only version of your resume to preserve the formatting when uploading into a company text box. Word documents will quickly turn into gibberish when placed in a text box.
- Treat every word on your resume like expensive New York City real estate. Square footage is at a premium; so make every word count.
- Half of hiring managers read cover letters, the other half do not; but you never know which half you are dealing with -- so always send one.
- Use the cover letter to match your skills to the job spec. If the job requires eight skills and you only have two, don't apply.
Next: Check out the AOL Jobs collection of resume samples >>