If you’re serious about finding your next role, you put a lot of time into composing cover letters and constructing professional resumes. Or, at least, you should. Employers have to sift through sometimes hundreds of resumes just to find the top 5 or 7 to interview. It’s vital you take steps to make your cover letter and resume stand out.
Contact information at the top of the page.
Everyone knows to put their contact information on their resumes, right? How else are employers supposed to get in contact with you if your phone number and email address aren’t clearly listed? The problem with many resumes, however, is the counterproductive placing of said contact information at the bottom (or even worse, the back!) of the page.
As Áine Cain points out on Inc.com, candidates sometimes forget to include basic information like their email addresses. Some of them bury this information at the bottom of their resumes. Cain quotes executive career coach and founder of Résumé Writers’ Ink, Tina Nicolai, as instructing job seekers to “include your name, phone number, email, and URL to your LinkedIn profile right at the top of the page.”
Bullet points over paragraphs.
As previously mentioned, employers often have hundreds of resumes to read. If yours just so happens to be hard on the eyes, it is susceptible to being overlooked. No resume needs to be a novel. Therefore, opt for listing your work experience in bullet point form instead of writing paragraphs to describe it. Save such prose for your cover letter and stick to the main and most important facets of your job history on your resume.
“Succinct, eye-catching resume bullet points that showcase your talents and skills are much easier to read than bulky paragraphs,” insists multi-certified resume writer and career coach, Louise Garver of Career Directions Intl, LLC, “Front-loading these bullet points with results first and how you did it second, helps the reader grab the important information quickly and will help them identify you as a good candidate.”
She goes on to note that for many years, surveys have shown that recruiters prefer bullet point lists over paragraph format. “This technique also helps make your resume much more skimmable, which can go a long way to your resume ACTUALLY being read,” Garver adds.
Your top accomplishments and achievements.
Many resume writers spend so much time listing their various job positions and the duties they performed, they forget to list how well they performed those duties. Have you won any awards within your field of work? Have you been acknowledged in publications covering your industry? These accolades should be well represented on your resume. There’s certainly no harm in highlighting your professional prowess!
“Employers need to know what you’ve done to contribute to the growth of your department, team, and company to determine whether your strengths align with the needs and responsibilities of their company and the job opening,” Cain quotes Nicolai as saying, “Under each job title and description, include the most important, impressive, and relevant achievements.”