If you’re looking for resume best practices, you’ve come to the right place.
- Tailoring your resume for the position you want can be hard when you’re actively applying for jobs every day, but there is a time and a place for it. When you come across a job that is an exact match for your experience, a job you are excited for, take the time to research the company. Then figure out who they are,what they’re looking for, then highlight your relevant skills. Putting that information at the forefront of your resume makes it easier for the person reading it to recognize that you’re a good match for the role. You also want to tailor your resume if you have a job title that’s not commonly used or known. For example, your company may use official job titles like Software Developer I, Software Developer II and Software Developer III. It’s better to list more commonly used job titles like Software Developer, Senior Software Developer and Lead Software Developer because they’re more universally understood.
- Use clear and simple language. Keeping it simple is a best practice. You never know who’s reading your resume first. It may be an HR professional who only understands what you do at a high-level. If you use a lot of industry specific terminology, the reader may not know how to sift through that jargon to find what they’re looking for. Use terms that are easy to understand. You don’t want to exclude yourself by being overly technical in your verbiage.
- Use specific and relevant keywords. Many recruiting firms and large companies use an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to store resumes and applicant data. Oftentimes, these systems can be queried by recruiters who run keyword-based searches to find candidates they need to fill available roles. Be sure to include specific skills, tools, terms and technologies most relevant to the job you’re applying for, so that your resume will be ranked high in search results.
- Use active voice and descriptive verbs. Active voice is when the subject acts upon the verb. Passive voice is when the subject is the recipient of a verb’s action. For example, I coded an iOS application using Swift (active voice) vs. The iOS application was built using Swift (passive voice). Writing a resume in first person while omitting the pronouns is called first person implied. Use present tense when appropriate. If you’re describing something that you’re currently doing, use present tense. Instead of saying led a team of DevOps Engineers who automated the build and release process, say lead a team of DevOps Engineers who are automating the build and release process. If you need help varying the verbs in your resume, Indeed has a great resource on descriptive verbs.
- Quantify your experience and highlight key accomplishments. For example, if you cut costs by 25% because of a tool you developed or you increased production by 30% because of XYZ, put that on your resume. Quantifying your experience shows that you can add value, improve efficiency, etc. Businesses need to operate and continue to be successful, and these are desirable employee traits that can help them do so. It shows that you’re not phoning it in at work, that you want to plant your roots somewhere, make and impact and drive change. Also highlight key accomplishments like impressive projects, awards, promotions, rankings, etc.
- Keep the format simple and easy to read – no need to get super fancy! There’s a theme here of simplicity. Some systems can’t read fancy formats, making the person reading your resume has to download and open it. They may not be able to search for key terms making their job harder. Format is not what’s impressive, it’s the content of your actual resume. Don’t distract from your work.
- Use an appropriate email address. We all have the email address that our mom created for us when we were kids that was a combination of your favorite animal and number like email@example.com. Although you may still use that address for personal use, it’s not a good look when you’re applying for jobs. We recommend using a professional email address like firstname.lastname@example.org. Gmail is free and easy to use.
- Proofread your resume. Proofread, proofread, proofread! This sounds like a no brainer, but recruiters see resumes with errors all the time. Always check for spelling, grammatical and formatting errors before submitting your resume. Once you catch a mistake, you’ll be thankful you did. It’s really important to have a second, third and even fourth set of eyes on your resume. Send your it to family and friends and have them give you feedback. They may catch things that you don’t. If you’re nervous to have someone look at your resume, just keep in mind that it’s way less embarrassing asking someone to review your resume than it is to submit a resume with errors. Submitting a resume with errors could make you lose credibility. If a hiring manager can’t trust you to submit one document without errors, how are they supposed to trust you with their product and their business?
- DO NOT lie on your resume. Honesty is the best policy. It’s 2020, we have tons of tools to dig for the truth, and you do not want to be caught in a lie.
- DO NOT highlight experience you are not comfortable being interviewed on today. Sometimes hiring managers get 10-15 page resumes that include every single technology and tool that a candidate has used in their career. If you’ve only worked with Python on one project 15 years ago, it’s probably not relevant enough to put on your resume. Before putting a skill on your resume, ask yourself if you’re able to utilize that skill well now without a huge ramp up period. It will save you time in the long run because you won’t get contacted for positions that are not in your wheelhouse.
- DO NOT include your GPA. It’s not relevant. It’s not necessary, and depending on what your GPA was, it may come off unimpressive. List your education, but leave off your GPA.
- DO NOT include unnecessary information like home age, gender, ethnicity, address, SSN, marital status. Hiring managers just need a name, location, phone number and email address. If they need more, they will ask.
- DO NOT include a photo. This is only advantageous for only niche roles and industries. Additionally, if it’s not a high-quality photo, it brings down the professionalism of the resume.
- DO NOT copy and paste the exact responsibilities from one job to the next, even if they were similar. You may hold the same role and have similar functions at your current company as you did your last company. However, it looks sloppy, lazy and confusing if you copy and paste the same responsibilities from one job to the next. Every job at every company is going to be slightly different and it would be advantageous for you to articulate those differences.
- DO NOT put down your job title without a description of responsibilities. Hiring managers read your resume to get a sense of what you have done and what you can do. The job titles are helpful indicators, but the information that hiring managers are really looking for are in the descriptions. Unless it’s an interim type of role that you’re including to explain gaps in employment, don’t put down a job title with no description. Space on your resume is precious, so use it to focus on your most relevant experience.
Now that you know what hiring managers and recruiters are looking for in your resume, search and apply to our thousands of open positions today at CyberCoders.com.