Top resume tips – from somebody who looks at them for a living

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I look at resumes for a living. Practically all day I filter and sort resumes trying to match applicants to vacancies. I accept, mull over and reject on a daily basis. So, I thought I’d share my resume top tips. I suppose it’s kind of like getting the answers ahead of your exam, pretty handy stuff I think when looking for jobs in Hamilton

Formatting

This is so important. So many times I get resumes sent to me that are impossible to read. Your resume, if you’re applying online only (which is how it’s done these days) is all I have to go off. If my initial reaction is frustration because I have to work hard to make sense of your information, that’s an instant turn off and can almost disregard all the great things you may have on your resume. It’s important things don’t get lost, so be sure spacing, definitive headings, consistent font sizes and styles are all reader friendly

Elaborate vs Refine

This is a fine balance, but one I feel like is not usually achieved. There are two kinds of people in the world – those who don’t say enough and those who say too much. Both for different reasons as just as frustrating as the other. If you don’t say enough – you’re underselling yourself. How do I know you achieved certain things if you don’t tell me? But on the flip side, I don’t need to know you used to water the plants in the office. Two totally opposite ways of describing previous experience, though both with equal damaging effects on your resume. Try and get that balance right and have a medium sized paragraph/amount of bullet points for each role.

Pictures

NO! They’re just cheesy. Some people may like them, but I can’t take them seriously. It does not matter what you look like, if you’re the right candidate you’re the right candidate. A professional picture of you in a suit and tie, a selfie of you, whatever it is – it’s a no from me

Not Enough vs Too Much

Much like elaborate vs refine, this is all about balance. A resume which barely fills the page instantly makes me wonder what you’ve got to offer, if anything? A resume that fills 3/4 pages is just too much information to read. I’d recommend sticking to a max of two pages. If you don’t have too much to say about your work experience or education, elaborate on what you have done, keep it full and healthy. And focus on what you have done. And if you’re resume is obese, then slim it down by taking out odd jobs you may have listed. Do I really need to know you were a newspaper boy/girl when you were 13 years old? Keep it specific and keep it current

Non Working Achievements

Things like winning a hockey championship, winning a science project or climbing Kilimanjaro are always nice to read, and it does help shape an image of you in my head – but keep it brief. This section of your resume should be casual and brief. I don’t need to know where your soccer team finished in every one of the last eight seasons. Keep it brief and list only things that are your stand out achievements