It’s likely that you’ve been taught all of the wrong rules about resumé writing. Did your teachers tell you to avoid injecting too much personality? Was it mentioned that you should list all your jobs starting with the most recent first? Were you told to never use any font other than Times New Roman?
All these rules are guaranteed to make sure you never get a job anywhere. Except for maybe Wendy’s or McDonalds. The times are tough, so it’s time to get tougher (and less bland). There are 3 simple rules to help you make a resumé worth reading.
I’m not sure who decided that you should hide your personality from your perspective boss. Unless your hobbies involve things like hiding dead bodies, I’m sure you’re a lovely person and you should let all that is you shine through! In fact, even include a section in my resumés for a profile paragraph of who I am and another section for interests! You don’t necessarily have to go that far though. Even just using unique wording or certain design elements can help show your personality while also showcasing why you are perfect for the job.
Tip: Always keep a list of past jobs and duties performed at said jobs. Another Tip: DO NOT just cut and paste them all into one document and send them off to prospective employers. One of the most important things you can do to help get your resumé noticed is to tailor it to each job application. Would you talk about all of your dog-walking experience when you’re applying for a position as an accountant? Probably not, so why would you include it in your resumé? Also, instead of listing your jobs in order of most recent down, list them in order of relevance to the position. (Side note: Don’t include the dates worked for past jobs, it will look silly when out of chronological order. Just make sure you can provide them upon request.)
When thinking about your personality in relation to a job application, do some company research. Are they looking for someone bubbly and personable? Mention your volunteer work with a local homeless shelter. Or are they looking for a late-night workhorse who will be spending a lot of time alone? Write about how independent you are. Put thought and effort into what you write on your resumé and your chances of landing an interview will skyrocket.
The icing on the cake of delicious employment prospects! Design is an aspect of resumé writing that is overlooked far too often. I remember my high school teachers telling all of us to make sure our resumés were in Times New Roman, that all of our text was black, blah blah blah. While I do agree that design for resumés shouldn’t be so loud that it obscures the information it holds, nothing kills your chances like boring design!
You don’t have to use Times, but it is smart to use a Sans Serif or Serif font, not something cursive and illegible. Also refrain from using too many fonts. I like to make my headings one font and the content under another, bringing my total to 2 fonts. I’m also big on using color! Don’t be afraid, a little color goes a long way! I’m notorious for my pink headings. Feel free to experiment with other design elements such as borders, space, contrast and more. Just remember that whatever you do to make your resumé stand out also has to contribute to making it more user-friendly and appealing.
A Word on Cover Letters: You don’t want to write them, employers probably don’t want to read them. Often the most painfully boring part of someone’s resumé, cover letters are a chance to really shine! Why do you want to work for this company? Where did you hear about them? Why would you be the perfect addition to their team? You don’t have to gush about your love for their company, you don’t want to sound like you’re a suck up. Just be sincere, and hopefully they’ll take the time to look at your resumé.
- Gala Darling has a wonderful guide to resumé writing (also check out her resources)
- Colored Envelopes! For jobs in which you still have to mail or present your resumé.
- Press Kits, a neat idea whose format can be applied to resumés for certain jobs -
- Having trouble writing your resumé content? Think of it as Personal Branding instead.
Bisous and Bonne Chance!