How To Make Your Resume Not Suck

Advice from experts · 5/15/2024 · 1 min read

How To Make Your Resume Not Suck

As a Recruiting Manager, I’m not usually knee-deep in resumes, but lately, I’ve been inundated with them. Whether it’s friends, friends of friends, or even strangers, everyone seems to be seeking advice on how to make their resume stand out in an ocean of applicants. Conducting interviews for RocketPower has also given me valuable insights into what works and what definitely doesn’t when it comes to resumes.

Here are some insider tips to make sure your resume doesn’t suck:

  1. Check for grammar, punctuation, and spelling: Ensuring your resume is free of errors reflects your attention to detail and shows your professionalism. I recommend using a tool like Grammarly to proofread your resume.

  2. Keep it to one page: Consider the attention span of the recruiter or hiring manager reviewing your resume. Your resume should be one single page — this will force you to prioritize and succinctly communicate your experience. If you have been in the workforce for many years, find a way to summarize your earlier career experience or leave it out entirely, especially if it’s not relevant to the role you are applying for.

  3. Don’t just regurgitate your job responsibilities: Your resume is a chance to show how great you are. Highlight your accomplishments and the specific projects you worked on. Ask yourself, “What am I most proud of?” and use that as a starting point when communicating your experience.

  4. Embrace the negative space: Give the reader’s eyes a second to rest. Limiting your resume to one page does NOT give you permission to cram as much information as humanly possible into that one page. Make sure there are margins, that the text is big enough (at least 10-point font), and use a font that is easy on the eyes (e.g., Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, Verdana, Tahoma, Georgia).

  5. Focus on the content, not the design: Sure, visuals are nice and might make your resume stand out, but if you don’t have the experience for the role, you’re not going to get an interview just because your resume is pretty. Most resumes that go through applicant tracking systems are parsed and presented in the same view, so there’s a strong possibility that your resume won’t be viewed in the format you intended.

  6. Use hyperlinks: Hyperlink your LinkedIn, your email address, and your employer’s website (if the company isn’t well-known). This is a great way to enable the viewer to understand your experience more easily.

  7. Avoid buzzwords: Buzzwords are a waste of valuable real estate and are a great way to make your reader’s eyes glaze over. I promise you won’t land an interview because you included the word “synergy” in your resume.

  8. Keep the tense consistent: This is something I’ve noticed is often overlooked in resumes. I recommend writing your resume in the past tense. However, you can write about your current experience in the present tense.

Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to crafting a resume that gets noticed for all the right reasons. Remember, your resume is often the first impression an employer has of you, so take your time and be thoughtful in how you compose it.