My boyfriend is a smart guy. A really smart, hardworking, talented guy. But you might not know it from looking at his resume. It seems like a no-brainer, but if you’re looking for a new job, you really need to take your resume seriously. It doesn’t matter how educated, incredibly talented or experienced you are – if your resume is a mess, it’s going to the bottom of the pile. Or even worse, the recycle bin.
My man is a seriously talented chef, so when he started looking for a new job, I figured he’d have tons of interest. I wasn’t worried at all about his prospects for finding a job. After a few weeks with not much traction, I started to wonder what was going on. He’s a great cook, he’s Ivy-League educated, he’s a nice guy. What’s the problem? I knew immediately when I got a peek at his resume. It was a bad, hot mess. Too long, bad formatting, misspellings, the list goes on. All of his great qualities were overshadowed and lost in this mess of a document that I couldn’t blame anyone for passing over. With a little love and work, I was able to turn his resume into one he could be proud of and that potential employers wanted to respond to; and they did!
A few simple tips can make any resume much improved:
- Formatting is crucial. A sloppy-looking resume can be almost as sinful as one full of spelling errors. Make it look appealing and let it be easy for a potential employer to read about all of your great qualities. There are tons of free resume templates online and in most any word processing program. Don’t just wing it; use them!
- I shouldn’t need to say it, but… spelling and grammar need to be PERFECT. I’m not saying almost perfect – they need to be one hundred percent right. Use your spell check; it’s free, takes about ten seconds and you have no excuse not to. Have a friend proofread for you to ensure everything makes sense and your grammar is correct. Your resume is really your first impression with a potential employer. A spelling error will certainly not help your cause.
- Don’t get too wordy. Keep your job descriptions brief and to the point of exactly what your duties were. If there is something specific they have a question on, they will ask. It’s a resume, not your autobiography. Try to keep your resume to two pages or less.
- Do highlight your best qualities. Sure you went to college, but did you graduate Magna cum Laude with a 3.6 GPA? Put it on there. Did you study for months for a professional certification? Make sure you put it on there! It’s okay to brag a little as long as it’s short, to the point, and true.
- When in doubt, go to a professional. Yes it can cost you money, but a better job can pay dividends in both higher pay and happiness for years to come. Better yet, check with your alma mater. Some colleges have free professional resume services for students and alumni.