Crafting the perfect resume can be intimidating. If you’ve done a simple Google search, you’ve discovered there are a thousand ways to create one. And for as many design options, there are even more things you can include in this document. Sometimes too much.
Avoid the things that employers often skip when perusing resumes by following these helpful resume tips.
Big Blocks of Text
You’ve probably done it yourself. You go to read an article with long pillars of words, start skimming down the page, and before you know it, you’ve gained nothing from reading the article because you never mined through the big paragraph chunks.
The same can be said for employers and resumes. They don’t want you to give every little detail. Get to the point and move on. Make your resume skimmable and pleasant to the eye. You know what it feels like to be stuck in a conversation you can’t get out of. Don’t be that guy in your resume.
This resume technique often gets abused as a “suck-up” strategy when people write “To work for your company” in this area of the document. Employers know that a person’s sole career goal in life can’t be to work at one particular company. Plus, sometimes when people tailor their objectives to particular companies, they can get mixed up in the submission process (ex: sending a “To work for Amazon” objective to Google—yikes!).
But even when job candidates write their career goals in this area, it doesn’t help them in the hiring process because these goals don’t pertain to the company. The one thing resume writers should remember is that you’re trying to prove you are worthy of a company—not the other way around. Thus, this segment of the resume often goes unread. Period.
Job candidates often include a list of names and contact information at the bottom of their resumes, which is wasted space. Typically, employers won’t contact references until further into the interview process, so including references (unless, of course, specified by the employer) is fruitless.
OK, so no one ever technically reads a photo—they look at it. And photos aren’t entirely skippable for an employer because they jump off the page. But sometimes any attention is bad attention, and that is the case with images on resumes. They may be memorable, but not for a good reason.
Unless you’re an actor with a head shot, putting a photo on a resume can be weird and something the employer wished they didn’t have to see, whether it’s a professional photo or something you took off of your Facebook page (not advised). You want to let your work speak for itself and let them meet you in person. The resume teases the employer into wanting to meet you. Don’t give it all away on a piece of paper. Some things should be left to the imagination for a little bit.
Grades & College Classes
While getting an A in your “Advanced Calculus” class may have been a big deal when you received your report card, employers probably won’t care much about this. What they do care about is what you learned in this class and how it can help them.
So instead of listing a class and your grades, include skills gained from this class, especially if they pertain to the position you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying for an accounting position, make sure you highlight the QuickBooks skills you gained in your “Intermediate Accounting” course instead of stating the grades you received.
The Bottom Line
You don’t want to bore an employer with your resume, but you don’t want to entertain them, either, with photos and other unnecessary details. The best way to write a resume is to think of it like a workout strategy: You want it to be tight and fit with no flab—the flab being items no one reads.