There is no silver bullet when it comes to resume writing. Each resume should be written to reflect the specific job that you are applying for. However, there are a few keys that will get your resume noticed…for the right or wrong reasons.

Do:

  1. Use clean formatting that organizes the sections of your resume well. Choose a font style and size that is professional and legible.
  2. Load it up with relevant accomplishments. Be sure to include tangible and measurable impacts on the team, customer or organization.
  3. Tailor your resume to the job you are applying for. Key competencies and accomplishments that help the reader imagine you doing well in the role are sure-fire ways to be seen as the right person for the job.
  4. Ask someone to proofread your resume. Submitting a resume that has spelling or grammatical errors indicates low attention to detail. Read more about resume spelling and grammar ».

Don’t…

  1. Don’t address the reader incorrectly. Try researching who the hiring manager is. If you are unable to find a specific name, it’s alright to address the cover letter to a general hiring manager.
  2. Don’t apply for a job that you are clearly not qualified for without backing up your experience. This often demonstrates:
    • Your attention to detail is low.
    • You have not done your research about the role you are applying for.
    • You don’t know how to sell yourself on roles you are underqualified for. Your cover letter and resume must explain to the reader why you want to get into that field, what transferable skills you have and how you will excel in the role.
  3. Don’t include a photo of yourself. Although this is common in some countries, it is not appropriate in North America.
  4. Don’t exaggerate accomplishments or skills. Hiring managers will be able to tell if you’re inflating your growth numbers, overstating your role in profit increases or exaggerating your responsibilities.
  5. Don’t make your resume too long—one to two pages is ideal. More than two pages indicates that you may struggle with being concise. There’s no need to include exhaustive details; if you’re the right fit, you can go into more detail during your interview.

Keep in mind that you are trying to move the process along, essentially selling the reader on the fact that you will be a great candidate for the job. Put yourself in the shoes of the reader, keep it relevant and don’t forget to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pile!

Learn more about how to make your resume sizzle in this webinar recording »