The internet is full of (often conflicting) advice on the best way to design and fill out your resume. There are different schools of thought on what kind of work to include, whether to list your soft skills in addition to your work experience, and whether adding your hot dog eating contest win under achievements is a charming quirk or an irrelevant distraction.
The truth is what to include can vary by industry and field. Still, in our decades of working with candidates applying for positions in marketing, sales, engineering, and everything in between, these are the fool-proof tips we’ve distilled that fit any role.
1. In this day and age, don’t fear more than one page!
Those with experience will average about two pages.
2. Résumés are a marketing tool.
The goal is to get you in the door, not present every nuance or twist in your career. Instead, think of what the hiring manager needs to see to say, “I want to speak with this person”, and tailor your resume to match the job you’re applying for.
3. TESA recommends a summary at the top as opposed to either an objective or no statement at all.
An “executive summary” is a great way to introduce the audience to you. The summary illuminates an opportunity to sell yourself in 3-5 sentences. Selling the hiring manager on why YOU are exceptional is more powerful and has a higher likelihood of getting their attention than merely stating an objective, especially if the objective does not match precisely what the audience is seeking.
Here are four examples of executive summaries we like.
4. Keep the format neat and easy to read. Focus on the small details.
Make it reverse chronological order.
Make sure the font, text size, and headers remain consistent throughout.
5. Look for words that may be correctly spelled dictionary words but are not the correct word for the sentence.
For example, we often see the following: “This position peaked (as opposed to “piqued”) my interest.” This error may not come up in spell-check but should come up with applications such as Grammarly.
6. Finally, have a respected recruiter review and provide feedback.
Recruiters look at a LOT of resumes as part of our daily work – a recruiter you trust will be able to work with you on where you can improve.