Let’s not try to downplay it: writing a resume is not an easy task. You are expected to sum up your whole career, achievements and skills in one neat package, and lay it out attractively on a single page. Even more than that: it is not supposed to be just combination of lists – list of schools you attended, positions you held or companies you worked for. Instead, it should present your career and skills in a meaningful, structured way to the potential employers.
Just think about it this way: a recruiter usually goes through several resumes for a single position. They don’t spend more than a minute on each, expecting to figure out at a first glance if you’re what they’re searching for.
Will yours be the one to catch their eye? Research has found that 75% of candidates are eliminated on the basis of their resumes alone. You surely don’t want this to happen because of a few common mistakes that could have easily been fixed. So make sure to get your foot through the door by being careful and meticulous with your resume-writing, and here are some helpful tips:
- Tweak your resume for each new position. Of course, it would be unrealistic to create a new one for each job offer, but if you create one “master” resume, you will be able to tweak it a little every time, just to highlight the most important and relevant details that match the job requirements. The important stuff, which will be unique to each application, needs to leap off the page!
- Follow the job ad or listing. Read the job description and requirements in detail, and try to capture the phrasing and the content “between the lines”. You don’t want to copy it word for word, but if you manage to use the main keywords and match your descriptions, this would mean one step further in the process.
- Present measurable accomplishments and achievements. Don’t just list the things you’ve done as general claims. Instead, try to add exact numbers, names, times and dates to the information you’re presenting. For example, instead of “managed to increase web traffic” – why not write “increased web traffic by 115%”, and give your assertions more weight and clarity?
- Use powerful words. Whenever you can, instead of more generic terms, such as “lead” or “managed”, try to use words that stand out more and mean more, like “maximized” or “consolidated”. But be careful here: if you’re not 100% sure the word is right for the context, just avoid it – the last thing you want to do is sound as someone who is trying too hard without having the skills to back that up.
- Don’t be too personal or too detailed. You need to find the right balance for each segment, and not be too succinct to the point of omitting the important information, nor too verbose and add too many inconsequential information. Don’t add details about your past salaries, or the names of your bosses. Don’t list your high school jobs or personal information. Keep it relevant and important!
- Spell check. Proofread. Repeat. You don’t want a bad first impression only because of a few spelling mistakes or miss-formatted lines. Typos and mistakes tell the hiring manager you are not detail-oriented. Go over it one more time, just to be sure.
In the end, perhaps you don’t even need to stress, but leave the stressing to professionals: did you know that a good translation agency could be the solution to your problems? They don’t just translate, they localize, improve and format your documents – and if you’re lucky enough to find one that specializes in resume building – it’s a hat-trick!