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When making my resume last year I was sure to add every highlight and qualification I could think of. I’m a marketing pro, I worked on some pretty awesome projects. I wanted to show off every talent I possessed on one page. It was challenging, but I did it. What I didn’t realize, however, is that my awesomely branded — well-designed — marketing proof resume looked like a sheet of crap. A sheet of crap!
It had too much freakin noise…
This is when I realized for the thousandth time that when people don’t know what they’re doing they go into complete overkill.
Learn a lesson from Leonardo Divinci: you don’t have to use every crayon in the crayon box — the Mona Lisa was created with only five colors.
So to help create your masterpiece and avoid the mistakes I made, I decided to put together a list of 10 things you need to know about when creating your resume. Put them into practice and you’ll surely get employees asking you to come in to learn more.
1. Keep it on One Page
I think this is probably the most important rule. It’s much easier to submit your resume these days, you can deliver it to about 30 companies in less than an hour. With so much information coming in, it can get overwhelming for employers.
Think about all the websites you visit without scrolling or clicking a button to the next page…
Then how do you expect people to read that autobiography you call a resume?
2. Optimize Your Resume
A resume is your first impression to someone who’s never met you. You shouldn’t overwhelm them with too much information. Do nothing more than give a subtle introduction about who you are and why you’re qualified.
Unlike CV’s — that are popular in Europe — you don’t have to include much background information. Just briefly state your qualifications and get out.
Your resume should be well organized with headers, bullet points, bolded text, and titles. This will help hiring managers navigate your page with ease.
In America, it’s common for individuals to scan your page in the shape of a Z (as seen on the right). Just like on a website, this is done in about 30
seconds. If you don’t capture their attention in that time frame, your resume will probably get tossed.
Nobody wants to read your life story.
3. Don’t Add a Picture
Unless you’re a model or actor it’s best not to include a headshot. You don’t have to give them everything at once, leave something to the imagination. Don’t disqualify yourself because someone is judging you based on image or stereotype. Allow yourself the opportunity to meet them in person so that you’re judged more adequately.
4. Do Add Images
It’s very helpful to add images or graphs based on your skills. This will give your future boss a visual overview of your qualifications that is easy to consume.
5. Leave Out Objectives
Last year when I decided to update my resume I added an “about me” section. This was about two paragraphs of nonsense that was supposed to be my objectives. Employers are more concerned with how you can help them, not how you plan to help yourself.
An objectives section is a little outdated… employers already know you’re in it to get a job.
6. Speak in 3rd Person
When I created my resume I made it very personable, this may work for some organizations, but in most cases, you don’t know the employer, so keep it professional.
You may not like writing as if someone else is talking about you, but this is currently a writing convention when applying for jobs.
7. Leave White Space
White space is important when making a resume so that your document doesn’t look cluttered and overwhelming. Put a good amount of space between your letters, sentences and paragraphs.
8. Font Rules
Make your resume easy to read. Your font size should be at least 12pt text. And use basic fonts like Helvetica and Arial that are easy on the eyes. Use italics for quotes or short descriptions.
And always use dark fonts on a white background. Avoid using light colors with little contrast.
9. The Interview
And when you do get the callback and an interview is scheduled, make sure you bring a printed copy of your resume… along with a portfolio of your work and certificates if possible.
And that’s it. Do this and you’ll be well on your way to landing your next job.
If there’s anything I left out that may be important, feel free to add your comments.