There are a lot of questions out there about writing resumes. One page or two? Functional or chronological? Our recruiters look at dozens of resumes a day, so they’ve seen it all. Members of this team spoke to college students recently about resume writing.
Here’s What You Need To Know
1) Font – Make sure the font you use is something simple and easy to read. Don’t get too creative or crazy. Folks in advertising and marketing fields have some leeway here. Whatever font you do use, don’t make it too small! If you have to drastically decrease the font size, it’s time to go to another page.
There are differing views on this one. Don’t make your summary too broad. Also, red flags go up if your objective says one thing, but all your supporting bullets and experience don’t lead to that role. If they don’t match, that is an indicator that the position may not be one you are qualified for or should pursue.
“If you have been in accounting for 15 years, I am going to assume you want an accounting role. If you have been in accounting for 15 years and you want to change careers, I would want that in an objective. I do think an objective is valuable for those just starting a career. Other than that, I don’t give them much value.”
Corey Listar, Staffing Operations Manager
3) Entry Level positions – less is more
Employers know that graduating seniors don’t have a lot of experience. Don’t add fluff just to fill space. Internship, co-op or volunteer work always looks great on a resume. Many students tend to add coursework taken. Listing a few courses is fine, especially if they are directly related to the job you want. Don’t over-do it though. We don’t need your entire transcript.
4) Keywords – a must, especially for technical fields
Recruiters search LinkedIn and resume databases by keyword. If you don’t have keywords within your bullet points, you may not come up in search.
5) Flow – put the most recent/relevant experience at the top
Always start with the most recent experience and work backward. Show your resume to a relative or friend. How does it read? It should flow nicely. They should be able to tell what kind of job you’re going for.
6) Contact information – always include your LinkedIN profile
Not on LinkedIn? You need to be! LinkedIn is becoming increasingly more important for job seekers and employers. Make sure your profile is robust AND matches the tone of your resume. If you customize your resume too much and don’t do the same to your LinkedIn profile, it can appear that you’re not sure exactly what kind of job you want – or, even worse, that you’re not qualified for it.
7) Grammar/Spelling – Triple check for errors. Get a second or third set of eyes to review your resume. Spell check won’t catch every error.
8) Cover letters are important – especially for entry level job seekers
There are various opinions on this one. Even if that particular recruiter or hiring manager doesn’t place a big emphasis on them, do you really want to take that chance? Always present yourself in the best light, and that includes a well written cover letter. This is your chance to really show why you should be called in for the interview. Review the job description and use that as a basis to explain why you match what the employer is looking for. Not a good writer? There are many resources out there with samples and advice to help you write a good cover letter.
9) Focus on achievements/accomplishments – avoid a laundry list of tasks
Recruiters read A LOT of resumes. After awhile, they can all start to blend together. Imagine seeing resume after resume with what basically amounts to a job description with a list of responsibilities. We don’t want to know your day-to-day tasks! We want to know how you performed. You can show this by translating those duties into accomplishments. We can’t emphasize this enough! To really stand out, you need to use facts like percentages and statistics to show how you made a difference at your employer. Did you increase sales by 25% in six months? Use that as one of your bullet points!
10) Don’t be afraid to go to two pages
Do you have to drastically reduce the size of your font to get everything on one page? This is a sign that you need to go to the second page. It is perfectly acceptable to have a two-page resume. Your experience and work history will dictate what you need to do. People switch jobs more often during the course of their career than they ever did before. If you need more room to show this career progression, take it!
The competition for jobs has never been more fierce. Make sure you are rising to the challenge by using these tips to make your resume the best that it can be!
As always, thank you for reading!
Looking for more career advice? Check out this post: How To Network If You Don’t Like To Network.
This post, by our Social Media Specialist (Recruiting Office), originally appeared on LinkedIn. Please share it if you found it to be helpful!
Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.
Follow Oldcastle Careers on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook for jobs and career advice. And, don’t forget to join our NEW Talent Community to receive a monthly e-mail newsletter with expert advice on the job search process.