We are all gearing up for the New Year and that means new year resolutions. Many times the new year brings the thoughts to leave your job. Maybe you are not happy at your job and want a different company or maybe you want to move up to a more senior role. What ever the reason, if you are looking for a new job you will need to update your resume. We spoke with certified career coach, Cathy Francois, and she gave us tips on creating a quintessential professional resume.
The format of your document is one of the first things recruiters will judge you by during their initial 6-8 second peruse of your resume. While there are no set standards, you can’t go wrong following these tips to create a quintessential professional resume.
Write a Strong Profile Statement
Unlike an objective statement, where you focus on what you would like from an employer, begin your resume with a profile statement about who you are as a professional and what you bring to the table as it relates to the position you are seeking. Highlight key skills, experience, and knowledge you possess to create a strong personal marketing statement in 1-3 sentences to encourage the reader to hone in on your resume.
Create an Aesthetic Layout
Ensure that your name stands out at the top of your resume by formatting the font size so that it is at least 3 points bigger than the surrounding text. Ease the readability of the text with equal spacing between sections and use a font size between 10-12 points. Make your resume easy to follow by distinguishing your section headers by using a different yet complimentary font style, slightly larger font size, or bold or dark color formatting. Furthermore, be sure there is uniformity in the placement of your position titles and dates of employment so recruiters can quickly assess the length of your experience. Format your final copy as a PDF before distributing to employers electronically to ensure the format does not change. Additionally, add prestige to your resume by printing it on paper with a cotton or linen finish if mailing or distributing copies in-person.
Use an Appropriate Length
There are varying opinions on what is the proper length for a resume. I recommend 1-2 pages and using the length of your recent relevant work history as a rule of thumb. If you have 5 years or less of relevant work experience, then a one-page resume is sufficient. On the other hand, those with over 5 years of relevant work history may need 2 pages to appropriately summarize their career history, especially if pursuing middle-level to senior-level positions. However, keep in mind that it is not necessary to list positions older than 10 years as some employers may not consider experience beyond that.
Tailor the Content
Carefully read the job announcement for keywords to include on your position descriptions and omit irrelevant content. List descriptions in bullet point format beginning each line with an action verb to describe your experience, coupled with the skills that you have demonstrated while performing your duties and key accomplishments that resulted due to your contributions. Bring additional context and strength to your statements by providing quantifiable information whenever possible.
In the same way that suits are the best fit when tailored to your unique measurements, professional resumes tailored to highlight experiences that match the employer’s desire qualifications typically get the most attention.
About Cathy Francois
Cathy Francois, MBA is a certified career coach, resume writer, and founder of Rezume Forward. She is also a career planning management adjunct instructor at University of Maryland University College. Follow her on Twitter @rezumeforward.