10 Tips for an Interview Winning Resume
The following list is intended to provide general guidelines to help you make your résumé more competitive. It is not an exhaustive list, but merely some of the most common areas that do-it-yourself resume writers often overlook.
1. First Impression – Design and Aesthetics
Do: Design it to look like the marketing document that is. Use tasteful color and industry appropriate graphic design. Ensure clean, uncluttered, unique design with proper use of white space.
Don’t: Use a Microsoft Word template. It looks exactly like thousands of other resumes and shows lack of individuality.
2. Format and Presentation of Content
Do: Ensure value proposition is easily noticed in a 10 second visual scan. Strategically minimize problem areas. Limit the length to no more than 2 pages.
Don’t: Draw attention to problem areas by trying to explain them away.
3. Focus on a Specific Position
Do: Target your resume to a particular position and industry. Choose keywords and skills that are specific to the target role.
Don’t: Try to use a “jack-of-all-trades” resume that attempts to target multiple positions (customer service, administrative, and human resources all at once). These rarely get results.
4. Personal Branding
Do: Clearly communicate what you offer that is uniquely you, and support this claim with endorsements and track record specifics.
Don’t: Use a resume that is so generic that it could be used by anyone in that career by just changing names and employment dates.
5. Value Proposition
Do: Include a high-impact Professional Profile that summarizes value to employer and communicates your target position. List specifics like years of experience in field, special certifications and key technical qualifications.
Don’t: Use a cliché “Objective” statement that addresses your needs, not the employer’s.
Do: Ensure results achieved are listed as bulleted action statements that quantify business impact of results. Older Accomplishments can be listed in a separate section at the top so they are noticed quickly.
Don’t: Fail to list any accomplishments at all, bury the best ones on page two, or fail to quantify the results.
Do: Include a brief description of company, “snapshot” of accountabilities, short job description, and key contributions. List experience in reverse chronological order.
Don’t: Include work experience that is irrelevant to target position, or that is more than 15 years old (unless that’s the only experience relevant to your target job).
Do: Include only degrees earned, GPA if higher than 3.0, and major if relevant. Current enrollments may be listed with “candidate” and anticipated graduation date.
Don’t: Draw attention to lack of degree by including high school, or “selected college coursework.” Use professional development section instead (if applicable), or just leave education off altogether.
9. Professional Associations
Do: Describe active involvement in groups related to the company’s industry or your profession. Board membership and conference speaking engagements show a level of thought leadership and volunteerism that is valuable.
Don’t: Include membership in irrelevant groups that draw attention to political, religious, or other protected affiliations that are irrelevant to target job.
Do: Ensure your resume is 100% free of grammar, spelling and typing errors, and formatting inconsistencies.
Don’t: Neglect to have a second pair of eyes review it. There are things that a word processor’s spelling and grammar checker will miss, such as misuse of words. Ask an educated friend, colleague, or professional resume writer to review it.
How does your resume hold up to these standards?
Are there any points here you’ve never heard before?