Over the years, I've easily reviewed at least 100 resumes as I've looked to hire for a handful of different positions.
Here is my key takeaway: your resume should act as a movie trailer (hint: you're the movie). It should be visually appealing, enticing, and, most importantly, short.
The goal is not to tell the hiring manager everything there is to know about you. Instead, you should be crafting a story that says: "I'm the genre you enjoy and it's worth buying the ticket to learn more!"
(Feeling totally overwhelmed with writing your resume? Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free template to get started!)
Here are some tips to make it happen:
1. Pass the squint test
Zoom out of your resume in PDF form. Squint your eyes.
Is it pleasing? Does it look like an encyclopedia page? What jumps out at you?
This is an easy one. If I'm looking through a "stack" (let's be real, it's all digital these days) of resumes and I see a formatting disaster, I'm not very inclined to read it.
2. Less is more
Is the one page rule really a rule?
Yes. Especially if you are early on your career, you have no excuses. You need to make it a page, preferably not at size 6 font.
Hiring managers are going through lots of resumes, and will appreciate your ability to be succinct in your message. This means you need to be more selective about what you include.
3. Tell a Story
This is how you narrow down your resume. The goal is to tell the story.
If someone takes only 3 key things from reading your resume, what do you want them to be? Focus your energy on content that reiterates these points and don't feel bad about cutting other items.
Here are some ideas on the story you might want to tell with your resume:
I have lots of relevant experience for the job (highlight similar roles)
I am a high achiever who gets results (show off performance metrics)
I'm a long term investment (role growth within organizations)
Your resume should be visually appealing, enticing, and, most importantly, short.
4. Send it, send it, send it
All of the formatting in the world won't get you the job if you don't apply. While I want your resume to look flawless, don't get hung up on the details and miss the purpose.
I speak to people who apply to dozens of roles and only get a couple of responses. You are not alone.
Getting a new job, especially without using a personal network, is really hard. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there!
After you've crushed your resume, you can start preparing for your interview.