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Your resume is one of the essential tools you have to get a job interview. According to Talent Inc., 68% of candidates with professionally organized CVs get jobs within 90 days. A resume is your chance to show off your skills and experience in a way that will make potential employers want to meet you. But it can be hard to know what to include – and what to leave out.
We have interviewed our Recruitment Leads with 5+ industry knowledge for this article. Here are twelve tips that will help you.
1. Write about experience relevant to the job
If you’re looking for a job in the IT industry, it’s better to avoid mentioning experience outside of IT. Say, if you’re searching for a position as a Software Engineer and your previous job was AQA, it’s good to point that out, as this experience is relevant to your future career. Your previous retail job won’t benefit you in this case. It’s easier with non-technical jobs, though. If you’re applying for IT sales, related know-how in retail would be a plus.
2. Put important information on top
Place your best, most relevant content first. This means that your related jobs and accomplishments should kick off the list. The top third of your resume is what the recruiter will notice first, so ensure they find the most excellent stuff there and anchor their attention.
3. Use cleaner, stylish fonts and more white space
Reading resumes can be tedious. To make yours look better and easier on the eyes, use stylish but readable fonts like Calibri or Cambria. Also, leave more white space around headlines and between sections. This will improve readability and give a modern look to your resume.
4. Keep it short
Limit your CV to a maximum of two pages. Recruiters say that having to read over 100 resumes daily, they usually don’t get to the third page. Moreover, 24% of recruiters spend less than 30 seconds examining a resume in general, states CareerBuilder in their research. But what to do if your experience is too broad to fit in just one or two pages? In this case, our experts recommend making two resumes and submitting a shortened version with a note “Extended resume available upon request.” You can send your bigger CV with more details when the employer asks for it before the interview.
5. Don’t add information that could compromise you
This tip applies to your CV and other sources you may link it to. As you know, recruiters usually gather information outside your resume as well. For example, they can scout the social media pages you provide in your Contacts section. If your Facebook page has hateful comments or inappropriate content, it’s better to remove that content and exclude this information from your resume altogether. You must ensure you project a positive image to make a good impression on your future employer.
6. Use simple language
You might be tempted to use a lot of industry jargon to appear a top-level expert, but in reality, you would want your resume to be readable by the average person. Keep in mind that the first person who sees your resume may be a recruiter, an assistant, or even an executive — and you don’t want it to be incomprehensible, irrelevant, or uninteresting. Highly-technical terms should be submitted in the Job Responsibilities section to describe your work better.
7. Use years to measure your experience with technologies
Many resume builders offer templates highlighting tech stack and tools knowledge in percentage or animation. This leaves the recruiter wondering how much tool experience you have and how to compare it with job requirements. A similar rule applies to stating your foreign language knowledge. Recruiters encourage candidates to specify a level, e.g., English — Upper-Intermediate.
8. Explain gaps in work history
You should include a brief explanation in your resume if you take a long break from work. Be it sabbatical, maternity leave, or freelance projects, having some information about that will reduce misunderstandings and boost your standing in the eyes of an employer.
9. Photo in a CV
Putting a photo in your resume is as disputed as adding hobbies. Some experts claim that a CV should highlight your experience and achievements only; others insist on including a picture of yourself. You should not have a picture on your resume in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, as these countries are bias-aware. On the other hand, recruiters from Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Austria, the Middle East, and Scandinavian countries would appreciate your photo in a CV. Don’t forget to keep your resume photo up to standards: don’t put a photo of yourself on a beach, a group photo, a wedding photo, or anything like that.
However, remember that each organization has its standards and may change at any time. As a result, some employers may ask you to exclude a photo with your application, in which case you should do so.
10. Hobbies and interests
Whether or not to include your hobbies in the resume is a controversial topic. Some say you should include them to make the resume look more personal, while others recommend omitting this information altogether as it takes up space that could be used for relevant professional experience. Ultimately, it’s up to you whether to include your hobbies and interests on the CV or not. If you decide to do so, ensure they’re relevant to the job you’re applying for and don’t take up too much space on the page.
11. If you have no work experience
Suppose you’re a starter in the industry without relevant experience. In that case, it’s a great practice to mention your pet projects, related education, knowledge in detail, and internships in the CV and add your GitHub. Mentor recommendations would be a plus to your candidate score. Recruiters say Junior’s readiness to do a test task when there’s no job experience shows that the candidate has good technical skills and can demonstrate them in practice.
12. Proofread your resume
Last but not least, your resume should be error-free. A recent survey by The Motley Fool revealed that when it comes to spelling and grammatical errors in resumes, 77% of hiring professionals disqualify them right away. Therefore, reviewing it for typos and grammatical errors is a must. You can also ask someone else to proofread your CV for you.
The bottom line
Generally, following these resume tips should help you get to the interview stage with most employers. However, keep in mind that each company has different standards, and what works for one employer might not work for another. The best way to find out what they’re looking for is to research the company and read their job descriptions carefully. This way, you can adjust your resume accordingly and increase your chances of getting hired.
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