Judging a Book by Its Cover- Resume Tips

Camille Shaw-Pigeon
June 17, 2015

It’s pretty common sense to know that in order to get a job, you typically need to have a resume. But, have you ever thought about the impact that one document can have on your likelihood of getting hired? Your resume is the very first impression a company has of you; whether you like it or not, they’re judging the book by the cover. Writing a resume can be tough, so here are 5 easy tips to make sure your first impression is a good one:

1. Spelling Counts!

If you’re trying to show a potential employer that you’re a good fit for the job, a good starting point is to make sure everything is spelled correctly, and that you’ve checked your grammar. Not only should everything be spelled correctly, but it is also important to make sure you’re using the correct tenses and use of punctuation (your/you’re or their/they’re, for example). Why is this important? Because it shows that you have invested the time, and that you care about how you are presenting yourself. A great best practice is to have someone else look over your resume before you start sending it off to companies. Just because you don’t see any mistakes doesn’t mean they’re not there. Double-checking never hurts!

2. Don’t Leave Them Guessing

You’re trying to show your experience through your resume, so whomever is reading it should be able to understand what you did at your past jobs. Don’t be vague with job descriptions and responsibilities you had. Tell the reader what your contributions were to each company.  Concise bullet points listing off key responsibilities and achievements of your roles is the best way to do it. Show what you have accomplished, and why it is important or relevant to the role(s) that you are applying for.

3. It’s a Resume, Not a Novel

Sure, you want to show your stuff, but that doesn’t mean your resume should be page after page of achievements and extracurriculars. Entry-level resumes should one page long, no exceptions.  You want to briefly but thoroughly list your past roles and the achievements you had there, not just simply what you did.

4. Be Powerful

It’s not only what you say on your resume, but how you say it that matters. When describing past experiences, try to  focus on highlighting challenges you faced, actions you took to overcome them, and the results you got. This is an easy way to incorporate data such as the number of customers you helped, or goals you met or exceeded. Providing information like this will help demonstrate to readers that you’re focused, and have proven past success in whatever jobs you held.

5. Keep it Clean

The formatting of your resume should be neat, organized and cohesive. Everything should be in the same font and color. The font should be readable (11 or 12 pt.) with titles and headings slightly larger. For entry-level sales roles, your resume shouldn’t be the place you go to for a creative outlet. Keep it clean, classic and professional.

If you keep these tips in mind you’ll be off to a great start with your resume. While it isn’t everything, a good resume can help you make a great first impression, which can only help your candidacy.