1) Beat the robots.
Many medium and large companies use software called an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to weed out candidates. Your resume will need the right keywords to get through, so mirror the exact language of the job posting, and pay attention to detail. “Changing something as simple as ‘customer service’ to ‘client relations’ can get your resume approved or rejected” (Bugni, Modernize Your Resume: Get Noticed…Get Hired).
Additional tips to get your resume through ATS software are to save your resume as a Word document instead of a PDF, avoid the use of headers and footers, and keep the formatting of your resume as simple as possible (University of Maryland, Resume How-To Guide). It is a good idea to make changes to your resume for each job application you submit.
2) Maximize your real estate.
In most cases, your resume should typically be no longer than one-page in length. Exceptions can be made for individuals with many years of experience or education. To save space, convey your experience using concise phrases and use active verbs. Write out acronyms with the abbreviation following in parentheses the first time they are used, then abbreviate them in the rest of your resume (University of Illinois, Write Your Resume).
3) Quantify your accomplishments.
Whenever possible, use numbers or percentages to measure your accomplishments. For example, instead of saying “Managed a campaign to increase social media followers”, say, “Managed a campaign that increased Instagram followers by 23% and Twitter followers by 16%” (UCSD, Resume Basics).
4) Make the page “pop.”
Depending on the industry, you can distinguish your resume by punching up the design, but exercise caution: a graphic artist, for example, has more creative leeway than an accountant.
Replace the outdated Times New Roman with a more modern font such as Cambria, Calibri, or Georgia. As standard typefaces, they translate well between operating systems (Kursmark, Enelow, Bugni, Modernize Your Resume: Get Noticed…Get Hired).
5) Make your achievements stand out.
The Internet has changed reading behavior, “People don’t read top to bottom anymore. They’re constantly skimming and looking at different parts of the page, and if you don’t structure your resume to appeal to that, a lot of good material will get overlooked” (Kursmark, Modernize Your Resume: Get Noticed…Get Hired). Therefore, use bolded text to ensure your achievements stand out.
6) Follow these writing tips.
Make sure to use the past tense to describe any positions or activities activities from positions you no longer hold. The tense should be consistent in each section of your resume. Additionally, don’t use third person pronouns (“he”, “she”, “I”), and abstain from using complicated and confusing language, and overused phrases (University of Illinois, Write Your Resume).