Resume Tips – Whip Your Resume Into Shape

So you’ve discovered the perfect gig with a higher salary, and you’re bent on shuffling your credentials to the hiring manager immediately, if not sooner. You’ve got the experience, education and skills that make you a star candidate. One hurdle remains: how to do a resume appropriately.

Don’t fret. You can soon be on your way to crafting a stellar resume; just use the following key resume tips from career experts Brian Drum and Heather Heath.

Drum is president and CEO of New York City-based Drum Associates, Inc., a global executive search firm, and Heath, based in Minneapolis, is practice leader of sales and marketing for Hudson, a recruitment and talent management firm.

Expert Resume Tips on How to do a Resume

  1. Be accurate and truthful. “A resume should not be embellished or exaggerated-it’s not an exercise in writing a novel. If there’s anything that is not correct or is misstated, it could be a reason for not hiring you,” Drum said.

  2. Take two pages for your resume if necessary. Drum said once you have four or five years of experience, it often becomes very difficult to squeeze your career path all onto one page. Heath said she sees two-page resumes “all the time.” Most applicants should avoid three page resumes.
    Resume Tip for Recent College Graduates: Stick to one page.

  3. Use bullets with concise descriptions. Most resumes that use paragraphs aren’t looked at, Drum explained, so it’s best to use bullets, and keep them to a maximum of two lines a piece.

  4. In most cases, list experience before education. If you’re a seasoned executive, it’s best to list your work experience first. 
    Resume Tip for Recent College Graduates: Put education up top.

  5. Mind your keywords! Both Drum and Heath underscored the importance of including terms to help get your resume picked up through online searches. “We’re seeing more and more systems ranking people’s resumes based on how many keywords are being matched. … More people are putting more words on their resumes because they understand that tracking systems are keyword-driven,” Heath said.

  6. List your contact information, particularly your cell phone number and e-mail address. Heath advises against listing your current work phone number. “I don’t think a potential employer would be impressed that you’re using company resources to find a job,” she said.

  7. Use consistent formatting. Use the same size and type of font throughout your resume, such as 12-point Times New Roman. Offsetting your name in a slightly larger font is acceptable. If you cut and paste from various versions of your resume, be sure to align the text and eliminate formatting glitches.

  8. Remember to double check your spelling. Heath suggests printing your resume, reading it and proofreading it to catch spelling and grammatical problems. It’s fine to use an automated spell-check, she said, but be wary of such systems introducing errors.

  9. Bling on resumes is bad. Steer clear of using lots of large fonts in different colors, and of underscoring and bolding text for extra emphasis. Excessive use of bells and whistles distracts the reader and makes your resume look unprofessional.

  10. No headshots, please. Pictures and resumes are like oil and water. If you have the urge, don’t give in.

At the end of the day, Heath said, “People need to remember when they’re sending their resume out they’re sending a version of themselves. … Make it a statement-a strong one.”