RSI-Resume Writing Tips – 28 Tips to help you put your best foot forward.       

Having a solid and effective resume can greatly improve your chances of landing that dream job. That is beyond discussion. How does one make sure that his/her resume is top notch and bullet proof?

1. Know the purpose of your resume

Some people write a resume as if the purpose of the document was to land a job. As a result they end up with a long, rambling, and boring piece that makes them look like beginners in the business world, not seasoned executive. The objective of your resume is to land an interview, that is the first step to getting you the job you want.

2. Back up your qualities and strengths

Instead of simply creating a list of what you did at each career position, focus on how you did it. That is what will engage the HR Manager or Hiring Authority.

3. Make sure to use the right keywords

Most companies (even smaller ones) are already using digital databases to search for candidates. This means that the HR department will run search queries based on specific keywords. This is why your bullet point qualifications are crucial. The job criteria nouns have to align with the Keywords on your resume otherwise your resume will quickly get bounced at the HR level.

A good source for additional information can be found by Googling: Tapping the Power of Keywords to Enhance Your Resume’s Effectiveness.

4. Use effective and accurate titles

Like it or not, employers will usually make a judgment about your resume in 5 seconds. Under this time frame the most important aspect will be the titles that you listed on the resume, so make sure they grab the attention. Try to use job titles that are universally recognized, i.e. Director of Footwear Product Development, not Footwear Guru.

5. Proofread it twice

It would be difficult to emphasize the importance of proofreading your resume. One small typo and your chances of getting hired could slip. Proofreading it once is not enough, so do it twice, three times or as many as necessary. If you don’t know how to proofread effectively.

6. Use bullet points

No employer will have the time (or patience) to read long paragraphs of text. Make sure, therefore, to use bullet points and short sentences to describe your experiences, educational background and professional objectives. Very, very important!

7. Where are you going?

Including professional goals can help you by giving employers an idea of where you are going, and how you want to arrive there. That clearly in your Objective what your career goal is and reinforce that in the body of your resume.

8. Attention to typography

First of all make sure that your fonts are big enough. The smaller you should go is 11 points, but 12 is probably safer. Do not use capital letters all over the place, remember that your goal is to communicate a message as fast and as clearly as possible. Arial and Times are good choices.

9. Do not include “no kidding” information

There are many people that like to include statements like “Available for interview” or “References available upon request.” If you are sending a resume to a company, it is given that you are available for an interview and that you will provide references if requested. Just avoid items that will make the employer think “no kidding!”

10. Explain the benefits of your skills

Merely stating that you can do something will not catch the attention of the employer. If you manage to explain how it will benefit his company, and to connect it to tangible results, then you will greatly improve your chances.

11. Avoid negativity

Do not include information that might sound negative in the eyes of the employer. This is valid both to your resume and to interviews. You don’t need to include, for instance, things that you hated about your last company.

12. Use numbers

If you are going to describe your past professional achievements, it would be a good idea to make them as solid as possible. Numbers are your friends here. Don’t merely mention that you increased the annual revenues of your division, say that you increased them by $100,000, by 78%, and so on.

13. One resume for each employer

One of the most common mistakes that people make is to create a standard resume and send it to all the job openings that they can find. Sure it will save you time, but it will also greatly decrease the chances of landing an interview (so in reality it could even represent a waste of time). Tailor your resume for each employer. This is an absolutely crucial point. You can easily change your Objective, Qualifications, and even Achievements to meet the criteria for a particular opportunity.

14. Avoid age discrimination because it exists

It is illegal to discriminate people because of a candidates age but almost all employers do it. If you are over 55 years of age do not let that fact be known from your resume. Presenting yourself younger than you are gives you the chance to get the interview that may change the employers mind about your age. Never state on your resume Objective: 35 years of experience in the textile industry. This is a sure fire way to get your resume rejected.

15. You don’t need to list all your work experiences

If you have a career of over 20 years do no list more than 5 jobs unless you are in a rapid job turnover category like apparel design.

16. Go with what you got

You must include your education honestly on your resume. If you do not have a 4 year college degree list what education you do have and be prepared to speak to your education because it will always come up.

17. Present your best profile

Remember that you are trying to sell yourself. As long as you don’t go over the edge, all the marketing efforts that you can put in your resume (in its content, design, delivery method and so on) will give you an advantage over the other candidates.

18. No lies, please

Seems like a no brainer, but little lie can cause you the job. Apart from being wrong, most HR departments do background checks these days, and if you claim for example to have a 4 year degree and don’t, the job offer will always be pulled.

19. Get someone else to review your resume

If you think you resume is looks to be less than you desire, it would be a good idea to get a second and third opinion about it. We usually become blind to our own mistakes or way of reasoning, so another people will be in a good position to evaluate the overall quality of your resume and make appropriate suggestions.

20. One or two pages long

General rule of thumb is that less than 10 years experience means a 1page resume while more than 10 years means 2 pages. Under no circumstance should a resume be more than 2.5 pages long.

21. Use action verbs

A very common advice to job seekers is to use action verbs. But what are they? Action verbs are basically verbs that will get noticed more easily, and that will clearly communicate what your experience or achievement were. Examples include managed, executed,coached, enforced and planned.

22. The Personal section is important

Employers find it interesting to know something personal about you. This is an easy section for the reader of your resume to understand. It allows them to “come up for air” after wading through the business portion of your document.  Keep your personals within good taste, sports and family, and social activities are safe areas.

23. No scattered information

Your resume must have a clear focus. If would cause a negative impression if you mentioned that one year you were studying drama, and the next you were working as an accountant. Make sure that all the information you will include will work towards a unified image. Employers like decided people. You need to show how you have moved up consistently throughout your career.

24. Make the design flow with white space

Do not jam your resume with text. Sure we said that you should make your resume as short and concise as possible, but that refers to the overall amount of information and not to how much text you can pack in a single sheet of paper. White space between the words, lines and paragraphs can improve the legibility of your resume.

25. Lists all your positions at one company

If you have worked a long time for the same company (over 10 years) it could be a good idea to list all the different positions and roles that you had as a sub heading. You probably had different responsibilities and developed different skills on each role, so the employer will like to know it. But be very careful not to confuse the reader. The worst thing you can do is give the reader the impression that each role at the same company defined by time is misconstrued to be jobs at various employers. In that is the perception you will come across as a job hopper.

26. Remove your older work experiences

If you are a young candidate once you get to the point where you you’ve got enough company experience that you can drop, “worked at a fast food restaurant while in high school.” If you have more than twenty years of experience you can drop the detail of any early career positions that are more than six positions from the present. You can define these beginning of career positions with, eg. Early career roles: JC Penny, Sears, Target.

27. No pronouns

You resume should not contain the pronouns “I” or “me.” That is how we normally structure sentences, but since your resume is a document about your person, using these pronouns is actually redundant.

28. Don’t forget the basics

The first thing on your resume should be your name. It should be bold and with a larger font than the rest of the text. Make sure that your contact details are clearly listed and include your email address and the best way to reach you by phone, which usually means a cell phone number.