The Go-To Resume Checklist
If finding a new job or a new career is on your mind, it’s time to get started with the resume. A well-written resume that speaks to what hiring managers are looking for will help open the doors to job interviews. Without it, you can find yourself job searching to no end. Even when you have colleagues or friends who refer you to a job and they help you secure the job interview, you’ll still need to walk into the meeting prepared with a well-written resume.
Your resume should present your professional brand – one that you believe in and that you’re proud to put in front of hiring managers. Clients who work with our certified professional resume writers (CPRWs) receive a one-on-one experience so that the resume is specifically personalized and written to their specific job search needs.
To ensure your resume is well-written and properly represents you in the best light, review the checklist items below.
- Your Name
How do you display your name on the resume? If you’ve never given this any thought, understand that how you position your name can subtly position you for the job. If you are applying to a position or organization that’s strongly focused on formality, plug in the middle initial or stick with the formal first name. However, if you are applying to a position where being friendly and down-to-earth is valued, you may want to present a more informal name that everyone you know goes by, like Liz (for Elizabeth) or Chuck (for Charles).
- Target Audience
If you want a call-back from employers, you’ll need to work with more than one resume. Each time you apply to a job, your resume should be tweaked to appeal to the target audience. Not only do you need to address the specific needs of the position and company, but you should work on applying the associated keywords in your writing. Express your relevance in terms of experience and skills incorporating appropriate keywords.
- Demonstrating You Can Do the Job and Do It Well
There’s a common misconception that the resume is simply there to detail one’s background and previous work experience. If that’s the approach you’re taking with your resume, then the entire point of the resume is missed! It’s not there to record a historical record, the resume should be used to demonstrate to employers that you can do the job and do it well. What skills and achievements do you have to show that will inform others what you have to offer? Work with numbers to help you get the point across clearly. For more tips, read: “Resume Fact-Finding: How to Put Pertinent Information on the Resume.”
- Giving Your Resume Visual Appeal
Your resume needs to welcome the reader’s eyes onto the page. Avoid thick text blocks by incorporating the proper use of white space. Also use bold type to help enhance specific details on the resume. Keep a consistent format with your resume. Some hiring managers may only spend 6 seconds or less on it, so you want to put the important information on top. That includes prioritizing your bullet points. Make it easy for hiring managers to find the information they need to be informed of how well qualified you are for the job.
- Eliminating the Chance of Age Discrimination
Age discrimination is a matter that impacts many workers. If you’re not careful, your resume may signal signs that are cause for age discrimination, whether intentional by the employer or not because of unconscious bias that may occur. The email address you use, information you list under Education, to how you format your resume, or the specific details you choose to include about your experience and skills are all factors that have impact on the resume. Review specifics to what you can do to reduce the chance of age discrimination on your resume here.
- Presenting a Resume That’s Error-Free
Professionalism needs to come through on the resume and in all forms of your communication. A resume with spelling errors signals lack of professionalism and carelessness. Make a point to carefully review all documents and emails before sending them to the employer. For a review of the common errors found on resumes, read: “What Spell Check Doesn’t Check Can Hurt Your Resume.”
- Providing a Resume That’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS) Ready
Following on one of the earlier points to know your “target audience,” making a good judgement on whether the employer maybe using an ATS to filter resumes can also help you determine how to best write your resume. As you may have read in some of our previous posts, the ATS can narrow the window of qualified job applicants notably. If you’re resume does not comply with the ATS software many employers have come to rely on, it can reduce your chances at a job interview significantly. For more tips, read: “Applicant Tracking Systems: What’s Changed and How Does It Impact Resume Writing.” We’ll also be covering signs to help spot when an employer is using an ATS in a future post, so come back for more information.
There are so many components to crafting an effective resume that this checklist can run on forever. Here we’ve highlighted some of the more major key elements.
If you’re in need of resume writing help, contact About Jobs today! Our certified professional resume writers and career consultants can help you with the tools to target the right jobs and go from interviewee to future employee. Visit us today at GotTheJob.com, or find us on LinkedIn and Facebook.