Searching for a job can be tough. Optimizing your social media, reaching out to connections, scouring job search apps. There are so many tasks that need to be done it can feel like your head is spinning.  Out of all the tasks that need to be done, one of the biggest is your resume. Your resume is not something to be rushed, that’s when errors happen.


1. Spelling and grammar count.

It can be so easy to just type it and send it right? Don’t do it.

Proofread your resume and then have a friend proofread it. We all have that one friend that is meticulous when it comes to writing; this is the person you want. Get more than one friend to look it over if you can. The more eyes the better. If you don’t have a friend that can do this for you, take your resume to a career counselor.

You can also check out – it has a great checklist for proofreading.

2. Use keywords.

Online systems have the ability to scan your resume for specific keywords. Yes, this means you will need to customize your resume for every job you apply to. 

Be sure to include keywords that are in the job posting. This does not mean that you copy it word-for-word, but be sure to include the specific keywords. (i.e. if you are a web developer, the job posting may indicate specific technologies they require such as HTML, CSS, WordPress, PHP, etc.  Be sure to include these in your resume. Without including the proper keywords, your resume will be filtered to the bottom of the stack and never be seen by human eyes.

Wondering how the online system works?  Lifehacker’s infographic makes it easy to understand.

3. Be clear.

Simply making blanket statements like “helped raise money” doesn’t say much. Instead specify how much money you helped raise. 

You are going up against some tough competition and they will be sure to pinpoint and detail their accomplishments so make sure you do the same.

The same can be said for job descriptions. Your job descriptions must provide a full account of what you have done. If you leave the reader questioning a description, they will become suspicious that you may be leaving something out. This will cause distrust and you will quickly find your resume on its way to the recycling bin.

4. Size does matter.

Don’t make your resume too long. You only have a short amount of time to make an impression. One to two pages maximum. Even if you have many years of experience you must cut it down to size.

This means editing out the non-essentials and only including the absolute best accomplishments, especially the ones that relate to the position you are applying for.

5. Create the right tool.

There are different formats of resumes that you can choose from. These are chronological, functional, and combination. Many resumes can look great but they are the completely wrong type to highlight yourself.

  • Chronological – this is the most common resume. Your work experience is listed with your most recent job first. This type of resume is perfect for displaying growth in your profession. Don’t use this type if your career path has been sluggish or if you have had a change in careers.
  • Functional – this is perfect for someone who is new to the workforce, changing careers or may have a spotty work history. It allows you to focus on your skills and experience rather than dates of your work history.
  • Combination – this is a mixture of the two. This is ideal if you are changing professions or if you have been working at the same place for a great deal of time and have had various duties. It also works well for new graduates seeking entry-level positions or people re-entering the workforce. These resumes highlight skills but still provide a good deal of detail about your work history.

6. Don’t get too creative.

Making your resume look fancy with graphics and fonts can be a mistake.

Unless you are applying for a graphic design position, don’t do it!  Words have more substance that look. Not to mention if the company has some sort of computerized tracking system, you are going to get tossed out of the running.

7. Hold your references.

Don’t include references or say “References available upon request.”  The hiring manager already knows that you will provide references and you should hope and expect them to ask for them. Adding this line in your resume simply takes up valuable space that could be used to sell yourself.

8. Do a double check.

Once you are ready to send your resume and cover letter, double check that you have the correct spelling of the person’s name that you are sending the resume to. Getting this information wrong will spell certain death for your chances of getting your resume seen.

If you still find yourself struggling, find out how we can help!  And guess what, many of our services are FREE of CHARGE!

We also have free online resources available, including workshops and learning modules, accessible at your own pace.


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