Imagine meeting someone for the first time on a blind date. The person walks up to you and they have bad breath, are dressed sloppy, have unkempt hair, and look like they’ve been on stranded on a remote island for two months. Chances are you aren’t going to give that person a first date, let alone a second one.
Maybe they are a really nice individual with a lot of redeeming qualities underneath the exterior, but they just don’t know how to present themselves. Maybe so, but you’re probably still not going to take a risk and give that person a chance.
Why did I describe that? Because that’s what it’s like when you send out a terrible looking resume filled with bad content. You might be the best person for the job, but you’ve made such a terrible first impression with your resume that there’s little chance you’re going to get a call. You’re destined to be sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring. So what constitutes a great resume? Let’s take a look:
1. An awesome resume lists specific achievements related to the job. You have to avoid hyperbole and generalities. Don’t write, “A great salesman with a track record of success.” Anyone can put that. It’s fluff. Instead write something like this, “Surpassed sales quota by 50% every month while with organization XYZ.” Now you don’t even have to say you’re a great salesperson. Your resume shows it. It’s all about showing not telling.
2. Write a different resume for every job. Hiring managers can quickly tell the difference between a generic resume and one that was crafted just for that job. Do you think a company is going to want to hire a person who wouldn’t even draft an original resume? Not a chance.
3. Use easy to read formatting such as short sentences, bullets, and headings. Hiring managers don’t have time to read your thesis of a resume. You have literally seconds to get their attention. That’s done with crisp sharp sentences, highlights, and bullets.
4. Use the same language in the job description and implement it in your cover letter and resume where appropriate. It will make you look like a great fit. Plus it shows them you are detail oriented and put forth effort to apply.
5. Make it about them – not you. In other words, make an emphasis of what you can do for them and not the other way around.
6. Use standard font such as size 12 Times New Roman or Arial. Your resume should have unique content not a unique look that makes it appear unprofessional.
7. Utilize professional resume paper and keep it neutral. Remember the scene in Legally Blond where Reese Witherspoon’s character turned in a pink resume sprayed with perfume? You might be saying, “But it worked for her.” Yeah, because only in a Hollywood movie would turning in a pink resume with perfume work. Keep it professional.