Here are the five key things they wish they could say about your resume.
Don’t ignore gaps in your resume: You may have taken time off work to travel, have a family or any number of other reasons. A break isn’t something to be ashamed of but leaving large periods of time unexplained can leave employers and recruiters wondering what you were up to. Employers also know you could have been out of work for reasons out of your control, says Andrew Brushfield, a director at Robert Half. These include things like company downsizing or restructuring.
Employers still like you to be transparent about breaks and what you did to remain professionally active and engaged in your time away from work. Brushfield says as well as listing your previous jobs in your work history, include any freelance work or volunteering activities you’ve done.
Think about any questions a potential employer may have about your gaps in your work history, and how you can address these questions. “Be proactive and explain them in your cover letter in a clear and concise manner,” Brushfield says. “Try not to sound defensive or apologetic – just address your gap in employment and mention what you did to remain active during the time.
Keep it short: It might seem like more information is better when you want to impress. But a resume is there to help you stand out and catch an employer’s attention – which is a lot harder if it’s cluttered or several pages long.
A concise resume is going to make it easy for an employer to see your most relevant skills, experience and achievements at a glance. Think of your resume like a summary of the highlights rather than a document of your whole career history. Once you’ve written it, look for areas you can trim or refine so the best details can shine through. Often, it’s best to cover your most recent roles with more detail, and keep the rest of your work history to the key details of position titles, dates plus a few key tasks and achievements.
Pay attention to the details: The content of your resume is most important, but the finer details of the way you present yourself matter, too. You might want to stand out by using a bold design, but it’s often best to stick with black and white, or if you’re applying for a role in a creative industry, use one colour sparingly. Make sure the fonts are clear and easy to read.
“One big unprofessional giveaway is an amateur email address; while firstname.lastname@example.org might have sounded good in university, it does distract and comes across as unprofessional in the business world. Consider a more generic email address such as email@example.com.”
Avoid buzzwords: It’s important to tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for, and it’s a good idea to look for skills or attributes described in the job ad and highlight them in your resume where they’re relevant. It’s also good to show that you know the industry or type of work by using current terms.
- Team player
- A people person
You don’t need to include a photo: Unless a job ad specifically requests that you include a photograph, don’t add one to your resume. A profile photo doesn’t demonstrate your skills, and a photo that’s too casual could come across as unprofessional or send the wrong message.
By taking on board these five points, you’ll have a better idea of what to incorporate and what to avoid in your resume, so it’s one that stands out to employers in the best possible way. If you require further assistance with your resume, we offer a variety of packages to suit your needs.