First impressions matter. It is a good life motto and a good cardinal rule to live by. It is especially important to remember this when someone is looking for a job. These days, many people only get one chance to make an impression, so the job seeker needs to make sure their first impression is a positive one. The only place to make a first strong impression is through one thing: a resume.
Building a great resume is very important to even remotely get a chance at being able to obtain a job. A resume alone will not be the thing which will land someone a job, but it will strengthen someone’s chances to get the very important first interview which would potentially land them a job. But just as it can help the chance for a job, a resume could also easily put someone out of the running. Hiring managers get hundreds of resumes sometimes per day, and if they see a resume that’s slightly off from a content or design standpoint, they’ll ignore it or throw it away.
At C3S, we want all of our students to land a great job when they finish their courses at our school. For this to happen, we want our students to know what to include and what to remove from their resumes to make the best impression for their future employers.
- Be mindful of your design
It’s been mentioned above how many hiring managers receive countless of resumes at a time. One may think the best way to get a hiring manager’s attention is to design a resume with a lot of pop and a lot flair to catch the eye. Unless someone is applying for a job focused on things like graphic design or art, it is highly recommended to keep the design of the resume as simple as possible. It’s better to let a well-formatted resume with the relevant information speak for itself more than any fancy visual. Sometimes those visuals scream for attention in a way that may rub a hiring manager the wrong way, which may incline them to skip them altogether. As for how much to include in the resume, preferably, have all important information fit into one page to make it easier for the hiring manager to see it all. In this case, less is more.
- Avoid buzzwords, jargon, and generic statements
One of the trickier parts of writing a resume is the vocabulary used in the descriptions. It is very easy to start writing an objective summary (the most important thing to lead with after all the general information on top) with general platitudes like “Driven individual”, “Motivated Self Starter” or other generic statements similar to these. Another important reminder is to avoid any buzzwords or jargon that may not fit the employer. It’s very easy to use technical words from a specific industry so sound smart, but all it does is potentially turn off the hiring manager.
- Contextualize previously done tasks
Sometimes the best way to portray work experience is to not just make a list of the different tasks previously done at other jobs. Those could easily be found at a job description through a Google search. Instead, it is better to contextualize those tasks with the actual work experience, where the person can mention the way he did specific jobs at a certain company. The more a job is personally described in context of the work done, it gives a hiring manager a better idea of an individual than just seeing a list of tasks.
- Leave out any irrelevant information
Sometimes, people think they have to list every single job or previous experience in a resume for it to look more impressive. The truth is, listing so much can bloat a resume and make it unwieldy. Even more dangerous, if someone lists a number of jobs whose experience may be irrelevant to the job being applied for, seeing so many listed with potentially short tenures could potentially give the hiring manager a wrong idea of instability. Why would a hiring manager dedicate time on an applicant that shows they haven’t lasted at a job for more than a short period of time? In the case of a resume, it is just better to mention jobs/internships with the relevant job experience to the job at hand. Like mentioned above, once again, less is more.
- Clean up your social media profile
Sometimes there is nothing that can make or break a person more than a social media profile. In a resume, it is required to provide links to the applicant’s available social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn). Many employers when they are interested in an individual will undergo a background check to see the kind of individual they’re considering hiring. It is very important that any social media link provided in the resume works as intended and for those profiles to be free of any foul content the hiring company may deem offensive. A resume with proper qualifications can seem impressive on paper, but if a social media platform portrays an applicant as a questionable individual, companies will pass on the applicant. Before submitting a resume, make sure all social media accounts are free of any questionable content, as that can have some unfortunate consequences down the line.
At C3S, we provide coaching for writing resumes for any of our students through our career services office. For more information, click here.