Six Tips for a Solid Resume

Posted by in Career Advice

Making your resume stand out is always a challenge. In the current job market, employers have the advantage of hearing from significantly more applicants than they could possibly interview, let alone hire. So your resume and cover letter have to capture their attention in order to prevent your being overlooked.


No matter what industry you want to work in or what level job you're searching for, there are some things you can do to make sure that your resume doesn't get lost in the pile. For one, you can get a free resume review by using Nexxt's free resume critique service. If you want to keep your resume to yourself, here are six resume tips:


Know your resume's purpose. When you apply for a job, your purpose is to get an interview – not to get a job. When writing your resume, keep this goal in mind, so that you can write a resume that makes an employer want to learn more about you. It sounds simple, but too often, people make the mistake of making their goal to get hired, so their resumes end up sounding like desperate pleas for a job. Your resume is a marketing tool designed to get your foot in the door. From there, use your skills, talents, experience and your amazing personality to land the job.


Show where your career is going. These days, your resume doesn't have to be a strict re-telling of all the jobs you've ever had. Try to include only the positions that are relevant and that have been stepping stones on your career path. Ideally, your resume should show a progression and tell a story about where your career is headed. If you've recently changed career fields or have worked in a variety of industries, explain your transition or your unconventional career path in your cover letter. If an employer can't quickly see why you would be a good fit for the job, they may toss your resume without a second thought.


Tailor your resume to the employer. Before submitting your resume, you should have done some research on the company and found out what major challenges they are facing. Armed with that information, tailor your resume to show how you can help them with their problems. For example, if you have a strong background in social media marketing and the company is currently trying to establish their online identity, emphasize the skills you have that can help them achieve it.


Use Mr., Mrs., or Ms. when appropriate – This tip is a little controversial, but I think it's important to use a title in your name, especially if you have a gender neutral name. Although gender discrimination is illegal, it isn't really something you can hide, so giving the employer the information up front only serves to make things less confusing for them. For example, there are both men and women named Ashley so Mr. Ashley Smith is very different from Ms. Ashley Smith and prevents awkward moments when the employer calls with an invitation for an interview.


Don't lie – but don't list everything. Whatever you do, don't lie on a resume. It's simply too easy these days to find out anything and everything about a person, and the odds are high that you'll get caught. Even if you only lie about small things, being caught telling one will destroy your credibility and make you appear to be a dishonest person. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to list every job you've every had or go into detail about problems you've had in the past.


Don't be too fancy. When trying to stand out, some people make the mistake of being too fancy. Unless you are looking for work as an artist, graphic designer or other creative type, it's not a good idea to use special fonts, colored paper or artistic resume layouts. While it might look good to you, to an employer, it might just look weird. Stick with a classic look and use only readily available fonts like Times New Roman, Arial or Helvetica and whatever you do, don't use Papyrus or Comic Sans. You should also consider sending your cover letter and resume as PDFs, so you can be sure they look exactly how you want them to look.


Making your resume stand out is important, but you want it to tell a story about who you are, where you've been and where you're going. That way, an employer will be able to see how you can benefit their company and they will want to find out more.


What do you do to make your resume stand out? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


Image Source: OpenClipArt


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    The article was great and very helpful to my cause. I look forward to more that will help me create a great resume and cover letter thata potential employer will want to take a second look at.
  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    Thanks so much, Ilona and Tameka. Good luck with your job search!
  •  Ilona J
    Ilona J
    Thank you for your help.
  • Tameka B
    Tameka B
    The tips are helpful for those searching for employment but even more insightful for people like myself seeking to change careers.
  •  Lori L
    Lori L
    Very good advice!
  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    Thanks for all of the great comments.@Antonia - that you're willing or interested in being train in another job is something you should address in your cover letter, rather than your resume.@Cassie - it seems like you're talking about the objective statement. You don't need to have one and if you aren't sure what to say, just omit it. Almost everyone's objective is to find a great job. Unless you have something really great to say there, just don't do it.
  •  Richard T
    Richard T
    Very helpful
  • Gloria M
    Gloria M
    Very good tips
  • Sharon R
    Sharon R
    I find that (even if you don't need it now) keeping the resume up about every 6 months ensures that I haven't forgotten key points. Don't have to think, think, think about what I did four years ago, or more
  • Uboh K
    Uboh K
    its a nice one not lie, but most times people lie as that's the only thing some companies want to see. we base on certificate not on experience. most people have the experience but dont have the certificate. how can they fit that in. or they studied from a different field but ended up doing some thing in the opposite field. how can they cope with what the are doing and what they studied? please advice
    Was not aware that fonts were an issue.  This was a new tip for me.
  • Diana N
    Diana N
    good tips, useful information.
  • Antonia P
    Antonia P
    How do you word a resume if you have only been in one area but you are willing to be retrained? I have been out of work for 4 yrs now and have reworded my resume several times and nothing seems to work. Please send me an example. Thx
  • Linda C
    Linda C
    Great tips , I especially liked the tip not to lie but you don't have to include everything!
  • Jacqueline M
    Jacqueline M
    I give the employer first of all a brief summary about my personality.
  • Kevin E
    Kevin E
    This was very helpful. It is also good for someone who hasn't done a resume in a while.Thanks
  •  Patricia Crumbie M
    Patricia Crumbie M
    These are very important tips that I will use to redo my resume.Thank you very much for this information.
  • Kamala M
    Kamala M
    Hello Melissa,Thank you for the resume tips. I like the 'show them where you're going' point.
  • Becky K
    Becky K
    Very helpful and will put these tips to use
  • Leslie H
    Leslie H
    helpful information
  • michelle m
    michelle m
    great tips!!! awesome ideas!!
  • Kathleen M
    Kathleen M
    Great tips. I appreciate the information. Best Regards, Kathleen
  • Tom W
    Tom W
    Thank you,TW
  • Mr John W
    Mr John W
    Thank You for encouragement!I have been looking for work too long!Peace be with you!
  • Mandira Poudyal G
    Mandira Poudyal G
    Great tips Melissa. It would be very helpful if you could provide a sample resume.

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