A resume is an overview of your skills and experiences which will show an employer why you are a great candidate for a particular job. A great resume will impress an employer and leave a good impression, even before the first interview. Meanwhile, a bad resume will most likely keep you from getting a first interview at all. To help you write your resume, we have compiled some common errors and good tips that will teach you how to write an excellent resume.
Don’t overuse technical jargon
The recruiter who first views your resume may not understand all the technical details about programming languages, networking, databases, etc. So don’t use too many terms that someone without your experience wouldn’t understand. Always try to explain your experiences in layman’s terms.
You still can list your technical skills, but they should be left in a separate section altogether. Also, if you have a lot of skills listed, try to categorize them with the most important skills listed first. This will help employers as when your resume does reach someone with the technical knowledge you have, they will easily be able to see all your skills, and not accidentally skip over one.
Finally, when it comes to skills, only list those that are most important to the job you are trying to get. (If you want a list of skills that you can include, follow this link. So if you are looking for a job where you only will be working with coding in Java, don’t talk about how skilled you are with Microsoft word. It is completely irrelevant and will be ignored. Beyond that, it takes up valuable space, which brings us to the next point.
Resume Length is important
If your resume is 5 pages long, contains long paragraphs describing every detail of every job you have ever had, and has nearly no white space at all, chances are the recruiter will fall asleep reading it. A resume should only be an overview of your skills and experiences. You can go into more detail in the interview if asked. Additionally, some sections people commonly put into resumes are mostly useless. Here are some things that can usually be cut from your resume.
Many templates have a section for the objective. But in reality, this would fit much better on a cover letter. Also, the objective is usually something along the lines of “I want to get a job”. This is going to be obviously to the employer.
Extracurricular and Personal:
Some people like to put a personal section on hobbies and things they like to do outside work. But how does being the coach of your 5 year old’s baseball team help you get a job as a Senior Java Developer? It doesn’t.
These are more likely to be distracting, and take up more space than a simple description of the information in them would.
Now, while writing a long resume is a bad idea, trying to squeeze everything into a single page can also be a bad idea. It can make your resume look much more concise, but if you are leaving any important information out by doing so, it is better to go on to 2-3 pages. Just don’t overdo it.
Word choice is important
Choosing what words you use can show how professional you are when it comes to describing your work. Try to cut out buzzwords such as “highly skilled”, or “detail-oriented”. These words come across as cliché. Similarly, when you talk about yourself or anything you have done, try not to exaggerate. You are expected to talk about your achievements, but excessive self-praise often comes across as annoying. It also may not give the recruiters the information they are looking for.
Here are some final tips for checking over your resume
- Check your spelling and grammar
- Include all your contact information
- Include your first and last name
- Make your resume specially tailored for the job you are applying for. This means cutting out skills that you won’t use in this job, as well as personal hobbies and extracurricular activities.
- Don’t over-design the resume. Fancy fonts, pictures, graphics, and tables are just distracting and take up more space than needed.
- Keep everything simple. Don’t use big words or more technical terms. The recruiter may not understand it. Even if they do, they don’t want to think hard when reading a resume. Explain your job experiences in layman’s terms, focusing on the results of your work, instead of the details.
- Don’t use buzzwords or too much self-praise. They often come across as cliché and exaggerated. So calling yourself a “Highly skilled, goal-oriented IT professional” is not a good idea.
- Make sure all grammar and spelling is correct, and that you have included all relevant contact information. Also, a surprisingly large number of people forget to put their name on their resume.
There are plenty of other tips on how you can improve your resume. But these are some of the most important we have seen. Happy job hunting!