Your resume gets you the interview . . . you get the job!
Resume writing can be a long process with lots of conflicting advice. As a recruiter for Peak, a staffing agency in Austin, I’d like to share some of our recommendations and then also share tips from other top websites. One thing that recruiters and hiring authorities agree on is that the purpose of your resume is to provide a snapshot of your experience and skills with an emphasis on how they relate to the job you want.
Tailor your resume.
This can be hard, especially if you are submitting your resume to a lot of different places. Making your resume specific to the job really does help it jump out to recruiters. Are you applying for an Administrative job? You need to say explicitly how you’ve worked in similar roles before or had experiences in different roles that exposed you to similar environments. Your resume should include relevant experience like answering the phone, responding to customer questions, generating reports, coordinating schedules, etc. Are you applying for a technical role? Be detailed about the kind of technologies you know and experience you’ve had.
How long should it be?
This varies. On the Information Technology side of things, I look at a lot of highly technical candidates. An IT professional’s resume should reflect the technologies they’ve worked with and the environment—it’s not uncommon for me to see 5-10 page IT resumes. On the Office Professional side of our business, resumes are being reviewed for less technical roles and successful applicants will focus on experiences but also keep it briefer, around two pages in length. Regardless, I recommend that job seekers build multiple versions of their resumes of varying length and details to submit depending on the job and the organization.
Make it readable but not ostentatious.
Remember tip #1? Tailor your resume. We work with state agencies and many are more conservative in the kinds of resumes they’re looking for. They’re screening for experience and hard skills first and will get to know you during the interview. On the other hand, if you’re applying to work for an ad agency, your tailored resume should probably be flashy. Know your audience and write to that audience.
Don’t date your experience or credentials.
It can be tempting to go all the way back in your work history, especially if you’re a late career job seeker. However, conventional wisdom holds that you do not need to date experience in your resume that is older than ten years. If you possess relevant but dated experience, include it in an ‘other relevant experience’ section omitting dates. Note: also remove graduation/completion dates from schools/training that you have attended.
Avoid unnecessary personalizing details.
We recommend not disclosing anything in the resume that is overly identifying in a personal, non-job relevant way. No photos of you, your spouse/partner, your kids, your pets. Avoid mentioning your political affiliation, your religion, your heritage, your favorite ice cream flavor…just ask yourself if it’s necessary for the hiring manager to see this side of me on paper?
Read it out loud.
Ready to hit the submit button? Take an extra ten minutes to read your resume out loud. You are your own best editor and reading your resume aloud will help you catch awkward phrasing, extra words, and sometimes even misspellings.
Was this helpful? You can read our other two articles on resume writing (Professional email address resume tips) and (What’s in a name? resume advice). Ready to send us your tailored, pitch-perfect resume? You can do so online.
Don’t just take our word for it. Many recruiters have different opinions on this subject. Here are some tips from Monster and here’s what Glassdoor has to say.