Resumes are undoubtedly the hardest documents to write, but ironically are one the most important in terms of a career. There are a few ways you could acquire a great resume, and we will discuss those in depth in this article. Before you decide which route to take, consider what you’re using this document for - are you applying for a position? Are you required to have one at your current place of employment? If you’re applying for a job, in what industry is it in? What you include in your resume and it’s layout depends on where you’re applying, which makes it even tougher to write your first resume. There’s so much to know and you don’t know it. Check out our other articles here for starting your first resume and optimizing them for each industry, but in this article, we will review what goes into making the best of the best resumes.
When you see a great resume, you don’t even have to read anything to know it’s great. It just looks sharp and effective - the most vital parts stick out like sore thumbs and there’s no wasted space. This is all attributed to great formatting. Although it depends on the industry, all resumes should be consistent with their formatting among all bases. If you’re applying to a graphic design/modern job where the resume format can be less clean-cut, then be consistent with your coloring and typography. If you’re applying to a corporate job, make sure your fonts and spacing are all consistent. Also, choose something that’s easy to read, my favorites are the obvious: Times New Roman or Helvetica Neue. Furthermore, bold the headers of important sections and make them stand out so when a recruiter is skimming your resume, they know where things are, making it easy for them to jump around and find information quickly. The last thing a recruiter wants is a jumbled and cluttered resume. Also, format your resume to either save space by being concise, or make it look full by playing with the spacing. Overall, think hard about how you want your resume to look at first glance - it’s true that first impressions are everything.
Another huge tip that separates a resume from the bunch is the verbiage. Choosing strong trigger verbs at the beginning of every point makes the resume easy to read and shows the recruiter that you can articulate your accomplishments. For example, rather than saying “Coded the website,” say something along the lines of “Engineered and managed the team’s website and worked to optimize SEO.” The second one obviously seems more professional despite it’s length. The key to writing a model resume is finding the perfect length of your bullets to be concise and impactful, but not leave out information. Starting off every bullet with a hard-hitting verb is a great strategy to do so, as well as eliminating all articles you may have. When writing your resume, you want to be as direct as possible, so words like “the” and “their” can be left out completely. You’re going to want to eliminate all pronouns completely - the recruiter knows you’re talking about your actions and only your actions, nobody else’s. Also, the recruiters want to see your accomplishments quantified, so be sure to include any numbers in your bullets as well. You can estimate, but never overshoot – the recruiters can research and will ask you if your numbers look a bit fishy.
Finally, if you get through the first round of resume look-through’s, recruiters are going to read your content close – so the little things matter more than ever. Things like the period of your employment, your exact position title, and even the location of where you worked may make the difference to put you into the round of interviews or even get you that position. Again, resumes are meant to highlight all your accomplishments, but at the same time, you want to be as concise as possible. Another thing to consider is purposely leaving a few things out, so in an interview, when the recruiter asks you questions about those holes, you can have those answered prepared and crush that part of your interview (along with the rest of it). This is an effective technique if you’re looking for space, but obviously don’t leave out very important details because it may end up with you not getting the job. Remember, put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter. Know what they’re looking for, what you have to offer, and the industry you’re going into. Once you’re ready to submit it for the job, don’t. Send it off first to close friends and family members to review and read before you send it to any job applications – you may have missed something completely obvious that others will pick up instantly.
Okay, I know that's a lot. Let’s review the most important points. First, format your resume right. It should look professional and clean-cut, but the layout depends on the industry you’re going into. Check out our articles to write different resumes for different industries here. Second, dial in to your verbiage. Use an online thesaurus to optimize every verb you use, and cut all those “the’s” and “their’s” out. Also, only talk about yourself – it’s your resume. Finally, look over your resume very closely. Read it with an imaginary magnifying glass. Every word counts, and know that many recruiters are going to read every single word. Make sure the formatting is consistent that you can easily jump around to find different facts. Make your document easy to read and not so dense that it takes the recruiter a year to read it all. Now, take a deep breath, save it on your computer, and email it to 10 of your closest friends and family members so they can review it just as close as you did.
As you can see, writing a model resume isn’t the easiest thing to do. I found that as an undergraduate, finding the resources and time to construct a resume that I was comfortable to hand out was extremely tough, but I was very unwilling to pay the premium price for a professionally written one. A few of my peers and I found that many college students and millennials were struggling to get a presentable document written come recruitment season, and were also unable to pay that expensive fee. Here’s where Backlight comes in. At Northwestern University, my peers and I started up Backlight, a resume writing service that utilizes cutting-edge AI and predictive analytics alongside professional copy editors to construct and refine powerful resumes for college students and millennials. We not only know the issues our market experiences – we live them every day. If you’re looking for an affordable and reliable resume option, look no further. We offer templates for every industry and turn around resumes quickly, and despite our low cost, we guarantee satisfaction. Check out our products at our website here. We assure you will not be disappointed.