Employers may see hundreds of resumes every day, so applicants should make every effort to write resumes that set them apart. Using the techniques below can help punch up an otherwise dull, forgettable resume.
Keep it Formal
Resumes are formal documents that require formal language. Using idioms, jargon, or slang in a resume presents an unprofessional image that most employers frown upon. Using conversational language, personal pronouns (I, me, you), or contractions (didn’t, aren’t) are also too informal for use in a good resume.
Use Formatting That Works
A resume is a brief list of education, skills, and work experiences that employers leaf through relatively quickly before making a decision on whether the applicant submitting it should be considered for a position. It should be concise and easy to read, or else it runs the risk of being tossed aside, never to be reviewed again. Resume writers should include only the most important details and make adequate use of white space so that employers are not bogged down by heavy text and too much information. Clear headings, bullet points, and simple fonts direct the eye down the page and help emphasize relevant information.
Include Numbers and Data
Numbers and data are another way to show what job applicants have done in concrete terms. If a job applicant managed a retail store that sold $1 million in clothing and accessories per year, he should include the sales volume in his resume. Including numbers not only helps quantify the responsibility that each previous position required, but also shows the employer that the applicant pays attention to both the big picture and the details of his work.
Stick To Active Language
Resumes that use repetitive, passive language are boring to read and do not catch the attention of potential employers. Instead of listing “Used spreadsheets to record monthly sales” as a previous job responsibility, an applicant could more actively say, “Increased monthly sales volume by tracking successful selling methods.” Not only does this rewording sound more active, but it also emphasizes the way the responsibility of recording sales matters for the employer.
Get a Second Opinion
After proofreading at least twice, an applicant should show his resume to a friend, colleague, or, if possible, someone in the field he is hoping to enter. Fresh eyes are quicker to catch errors and inconsistency, and readers can offer insight that resume writers might never have thought of themselves. Applicants should always be careful with whom they accept advice from, though – someone who never held a job that pays over minimum wage might not have the experience to comment on a resume for a senior management position.