5 Tips for Writing a Strong Resume

A strong resume is critical in any job search. Think of it as an opportunity to get your foot in the door and start conversations that may lead to a meaningful professional opportunity. But what makes a resume strong enough to standout from the rest of the pack? There are hundreds and thousands of suggestions that career experts recommend in hundreds of books that are solely about resume writing. Here are our top five tips:

Update Your Information: This might sound overly simple, but do you have the correct phone number, email address and living address on your resume? You would be surprised how many people forget to update this information on their resume after a move or a change and it could make a big difference. For example: You apply to jobs in Boston after moving there from Los Angeles, but a Boston-area human resources hiring manager skips over your “Los Angeles resume” because they are only looking at “Boston candidates”.

Use the Right Keywords/Titles: Today’s job market sees more job seekers applying for fewer open jobs and human resources departments/hiring managers do not have the time to look at every resume individually. Most likely, after posting an open job on a career website like Urban Interns, the person reviewing resumes will run a search through all the applications that applied. The search will narrow down the list of candidates by as much as 75 percent or more. So how does your resume make the cut? Keywords and position titles.

Lets say you run the social media applications at your company. Under responsibilities, should you list “social media” or “Twitter and Facebook”? The answer is both. The chances of your resume getting noticed will improve greatly if you list important keywords more then once or twice in the entire body of your resume. Another area to consider for an upgrade is your position titles. It might have made sense at your old job to be the “Production Manager, Team A” in the marketing department, but simply listing “Production Manager, Team A” doesn’t convey that you were in charge of 75 percent of the production of marketing collateral and might not make sense for people unfamiliar with the company. Instead, make your positions titles commonplace that directly and closely relates to the work you did. For example: “Marketing Manager, Production” or just “Marketing Manager”. Don’t worry about background checks; changing your titles slightly will pass the bar.

Don’t Shortchange Your Experience: Don’t feel the need to start cutting away from previous work experience and responsibilities just to fit your resume on one page. If you have the background to add a second page, do so. Your previous experience is critical to finding new jobs, so make sure it’s all there. Also, keeping your complete background lets you add more keywords, which greatly helps getting your resume noticed by search engines.

Proofread: Your resume has to be flawless and void of mistakes – grammatically and otherwise. As a rule of thumb, you cannot proofread your resume enough to make sure it’s 100 percent perfect. Maybe even visit a co-working space to get feedback from people in your industry.

Ask Someone to Review: After your resume is up-to-date and complete, ask a friend, co-worker or family member to look it over for you. A fresh set of eyes will add fresh perspective. This “somebody” can not only help you more effectively proofread your resume, but let you know if something is confusing or if your missing an important piece of data. Don’t be embarrassed and ask people who you trust to help you with the review.

If your resume is the key to a new job or career, you will want to make sure it’s polished before you start showing it off. Use these tips and advice to boost your job search now.

Join the discussion