I am a headhunter. I recently started this role a couple of months ago after getting inspired while volunteering at my alma mater. I volunteered to be a mentor to three university students. I mentored a second-year computer science student, an art student, and a statistics student. I quickly found it to be very satisfying and fulfilling and hence decided to pursue a career in it. One of the things I spend most of my time doing is reviewing resumes, hundreds of them. Here are a few tips on creating and maintaining a good resume.
A resume like everyone know is a brochure for a client to decide if they want to interview you. A good resume doesn’t necessarily make a great candidate, however, a good resume will increase your chances of getting an opportunity to make your case for a potential role or opportunity that can launch your career. So what makes a good resume?
Easy layout to read
The first thing I or any hiring manager will notice about your resume is the layout. A good layout creates a good first impression and invites a reader to spend more time reviewing your resume which improves your chances of being contacted for an interview. You must invest time and energy not only in the content of your resume but also in its look.
Tips for a good layout:
- Use white spaces liberally (for example leave some blank spaces between various sections, create at least one-inch margins)
- Stick with two fonts at the most, use bolding and italics sparingly and avoid underlining
- Use bullet points to emphasize skills and accomplishments and be consistent (for example if you use all caps to present the name of your most recent workplace, also use all caps to present the names of your previous workplaces)
- Use reverse chronological order to list your experiences with the most recent work at the top of the list
Showing consistency in the progression of your career demonstrates many of the qualities hiring managers look for in job candidates. By streamlining your resume to show these strengths, you give yourself an edge ahead of the competition. A consistent career progression shows resourcefulness, initiative, and investment in your career and growth.
Tips to demonstrate consistent progression:
- Separate the different roles/titles you’ve held in the same company (e.g. financial advisor role from year 4 to present, customer service representative from year 1 to year 3)
- Describe your job performance beyond the job title
- Highlight your top responsibilities and key accomplishments with bulleted lists for each role
- Explain reasons for any backward career moves (for example left manager role to focus on family)
Stability to each role
Employers need employees who are reliable, proven and able to be productive in their jobs each day. A “job hopper” is not an attractive candidate since that demonstrates inconsistency.
Tips to demonstrate stability:
- Declutter your work experiences by excluding very short job experiences (e.g. 1 month at XYZ company) that do not highlight any tangible skill or practical experience.
- Make a point of listing employment positions by year only, rather than listing the relevant months and year, this will help to allow your resume to appear less haphazard.
- State reasons for leaving a position (e.g. summer internship, contract-related position, etc.)
LinkedIn Profile & engagement
The benefits of having a detailed LinkedIn profile are almost endless with little downside. A LinkedIn profile gives you more opportunities to network and promote yourself into the workforce as well as introducing yourself to potential employers. LinkedIn helps you make connections with influential people in your industry, search job listings by different criteria while also helping you to create an international professional presence that gives you access to global opportunities.
Tips on setting up your LinkedIn profile
- Get a customized URL for your profile (ideally linkedin.com/yourname) and include this link on your paper resume
- Your profile picture should be professional and should reflect the type of work that you do.
- Put in the effort to outline your career history, education as well as other content that you want to mention like volunteer works, published works and collaborations
- Feel free to add multimedia (pictures, videos, etc.) showing your achievements or work
- Don’t be shy to ask for written recommendations from mentors or colleagues
Hopefully, these tips help ensure your resume is as great as it can be!