There are several best practices to consider when drafting your resume. Ultimately, you want to make sure your resume stands out and highlights your best qualifications in a presentable format.
To create a professional career resume, the first thing to keep in mind is that you must proofread it several times to check for typos or to edit details and information. It is a general best practice to allow someone else to proofread and edit your resume to ensure you do not miss any areas in need of correcting or improving. This will also help you gain feedback to your first resume draft before you finalize it.
An outdated resume could mean the difference between a mere job and the right job that leads to a fulfilling career. Keep your resume current with your most recent skills and experience by avoiding the inclusion of anything older than 7 to 10 years. This can date your resume and gives it the appearance of being outdated with fluff or just useless words to fill up space. However, if your older experience is directly related to your industry and is within a few years, it can be included based on its relevancy.
Be sure to tailor your resume to the specific industry or job type that you are seeking. In organizing your career resume you need to show structure and purpose to communicate not only specific industry skills but also your ability to progress based on your expertise. Always customize your resume to best market your industry skills first, and the least relevant skills should be secondary.
Be sure to explain or provide truthful accounts of any employment gaps. It is ok to include volunteer work or temporary job assignments in this case if you have experience employment gaps longer than 9 to 12 months.
To best highlight your relevant skills and experience, they should always match your key qualifications. If you plan to include a summary of your qualifications for example, make sure that your job titles, duties, and responsibilities clearly justify the skills that you list on the resume. This section works best when included at the top of the resume before the professional experience section.
Do not waste space by including irrelevant information. Fluff should have no place in your professional resume. If you have valid skills and qualifications, your resume should focus on your experience using the right key words and selling your strong points without the use of fluff or exaggerating statements such as, ‘Exceptionally well-groomed with nice hair.”
Use of Job Titles
The use of performance appropriate job titles along with clearly descriptive duties and responsibilities is another best practice that many fail to use when drafting a resume. However, job titles should not only be highlighted to draw attention to a specific skill set but can also be used to show industry knowledge.
Stay away from trendy headings in your resume. Remember to keep it simple and professional with the use of headings that require no explanation. Similar to a well-written book with chapter titles, your headings should deliver as promised.
Use Bullet Points
A best practice for organizing your resume not only includes formatting, font use, and margins, but the overall structure and flow are important as well. Bullet points make your resume easy to read and follow as opposed to lengthy paragraphs of text. Try to summarize and describe your experiences, education, or qualifications with the use of bullet points and short sentences.
A Few More Tips
A resume is your complete employment history with details to support your key skills, qualifications, and actual on the job experience. You want to give a truthful account of what you can offer as an employee. A well-written resume will also show purpose and direction as opposed to random jobs that do not market your industry skills in the best presentable manner.
Keep in mind that implementing resume best practices are necessary to ensure you get your foot in the door. By using the proper resume formatting, style, specific details, and highlighting your career purpose, you will stand out and receive more calls for interviews. Finally, a best practice that often is overlooked is to make sure you use quality resume paper and have updated resumes handy and available at all times.
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