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Get Hired – Tips For Your Resume

Posted on December 13, 2014

I love looking and editing resumes because they can be so good, or so bad. And I love making things clear and concise, which is the biggest challenge of resumes. And I believe they are always a work-in-progress. Every time I look at my own resume, there’s a new word I want to replace, or phrase I want to re-write, and I think, why did I not notice this before?!

I’m actually job hunting right now, so I’ve been working on my resume and applications a lot for the past few weeks. So, fair warning, you’re taking resume advice from someone unemployed right now!

But I’ve had the opportunity to look at a lot of resumes before. The major positions I’ve interviewed for includes:

  • AIESEC SFU as VP Communications in 2011/12
  • Hiring my replacement as Digital Marketing Intern at SAP
  • Finding a Marketing Assistant at futurethink in New York

And I’ve realized one thing: Most people’s resumes suck. And yours probably sucks too 🙂

So here are 8 tips to make it better!

1) Design your resume in Microsoft Word (and make it look like InDesign)

  • Not having spell checker is very dangerous
  • Online platforms sometimes require a Word doc to be uploaded
  • Easier to customize and re-edit resumes for each job you’re applying for
  • Don’t over design it, keep it simple
  • If you’re going to use colour or graphics (sparingly), make sure they’re scannable and still look good when printed in black and white
  • Do not use the default font in Word! That just screams, “I’m lazy.” I recommend using a sans-serif font for a clean, more modern look

2) Make it easy for them to see you’re an excellent candidate

  • Customize your resume and use the keywords they’re looking for – If you can’t spend an hour on  your application, why should they spend an hour to give you an interview?
  • Use strong action words
  • List out skills

3) Make yourself sound awesome

  • Combine your volunteer and work experience!
  • List education up top if you are still a student
  • Make it clear that short-term positions were meant to be short –  add intern, co-op, contract!
  • If you need to pad your resume with content, add relevant school courses and projects
  • Results focused and use numbers
    1. How many events, campaigns, people, or calls?
    2. How big was the budget?
    3. What were the results of your impact?
  • Imagine your previous boss reading your resume

4) Make your job descriptions easy to understand

  • Explaining what the company does in a clear and concise way is just as important as explaining what your role and responsibilities were!
  • Include a link to the website
  • Don’t use abbreviations or technical words
  • Make it easy to understand what exactly it is you did
  • Less bullets if you have a lot of jobs, more if you have less experience

5) Use your space effectively

  • Don’t waste it on unimportant information or unnecessary white space
  • Leave out objective, address, references, hobbies
  • Could tables or alignment help use your space better?

6) Be extremely detail oriented

  • Formatting consistency
  • Periods on bullets only if they are complete sentences
  • Grammar tense
  • All links are working in PDF
  • Page numbers are correct
  • Customize file names

7) Audit your social media presence

  • Hide your Facebook pictures, including ones your friends can see
  • Have your LinkedIn filled out
  • If you’re in marketing, have a website and bring a portfolio
  • Do you still have old MySpace or LiveJournal accounts?
  • What comes up when you Google your name?

8) Best practices

  • Be as concise as possible! Stop trying to jam in too many keywords or adjectives
  • Make sure your skills are highlighted if they glance at your resume
  • Contact information on every page
  • Page numbers
  • Neutral colours

Step back for big picture checklist

  • Do you fit what they’re looking for? (Values, skills, competency)
  • Are you a leader? (Responsible, takes initiative, hard worker)
  • Have you started something yourself? (Unique, passionate)

BONUS

  • Hand written signature for cover letter (scan into the computer and turn it into a vector)
  • T-Table cover letter

Conclusion

  • The more you do the easier it will be
  • Always be interviewing to know your worth
  • Get the offer before you decide to say no to a job. You might end up liking it more than you think, but if you don’t take that interview, you’ll never know.

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