Writing a great-looking professional resume isn’t easy, that’s why the team at Resume Writing Group only hires writers who have a minimum of five years of experience and a four-year degree from an accredited institution. During our years of experience, here are the most common problems we see on client resumes and how to fix them!
1. Formatting is a big factor in any type of resume, whether you’re applying for a position in sales, nursing, education, or management. We recommend using a single-column format rather than two columns. Resumes with multiple columns are difficult for Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) to analyze and more difficult for recruiters to read. Naturally, the human eye moves from left to right, so breaking content up into multiple columns stops this natural flow and makes a recruiter less likely to read your entire document. Furthermore, space is a valuable asset on any effective resume, and multiple columns tend to waste unnecessary space, which limits the amount of important content you can include on your resume.
2. Regarding the length of your resume, unless you’re applying for a senior-level academic position or a position with the Federal Government on USA Jobs, your resume shouldn’t be any longer than two pages. Although it may seem like you’re increasing your chances of being hired by stuffing one more accomplishment onto your resume, what you’re really doing is substantially decreasing your likelihood of getting an interview. Think about it like this, every person has a limited amount of room in their memory for work-related tasks. Similar to a cup that can only hold so much coffee before it starts overflowing, you may want to drink more coffee than the cup can hold, but you’re not going to drink any more by continuing to fill the cup after it’s full. On your resume, if you try to include too much content, you’re going to ensure your resume doesn’t get a thorough read through and that some of your most important accomplishments won’t be remembered – OR worse yet, you’ll dissuade a recruiter from diving into the resume at all. Shorten your resume to two pages, and if you still aren’t sure what to eliminate, ask an expert.
3. A resume filled with typos and grammatical errors is equally as bad as one that’s too long. It may seem obvious, but double-check to make sure you’re capitalizing words correctly, that you’re consistent with how you format your bullet points, and that you’re using the right tense for your job descriptions. If you’re using present tense for a past job description, you’re incorrectly using tense. Conversely, if you’re using past tense for responsibilities you’re currently doing, you’re incorrectly using tense. Issues like these make your resume appear less professional, and worse yet, they make your resume more difficult to read and understand!
4. Stop using an outdated “Objective” section at the top of your resume. About ten years ago, people started to realize that wasting space on your resume stating what job you want to apply for isn’t an effective strategy. Instead, create a strong “Professional Profile” or “Professional Summary” section at the top of your resume, and make sure this section actually highlights content that a recruiter wants to read. For example, don’t write:
“Well-rounded and highly experienced professional who can help your organization succeed.”
Write it like THIS:
“Offering 10+ years of experience balancing budgets, managing timelines, developing well-qualified teams, and managing multi-million-dollar projects that were essential to organizational success.”
5. Take a hard look at the number of bullet points in your resume. A good rule of thumb is to limit the number of bullet points in each job description to a maximum of five! Any more than this and recruiters will start to miss or forget important content. If you’ve worked at one company for 20 years, split that company up into separate sections for each position you’ve held during those 20 years. Another option is to take some of the content from your job description and add it into the Professional Profile section that we discussed earlier. If you decide to use this strategy, make sure you choose the most important responsibilities or accomplishments to move to the top of the resume.
If you’re still not sure what your resume should look like, check out some samples at Resume Writing Group – FREE SAMPLES or ask one of our expert writers to take a look at your resume personally.