Creating A Professional Looking Resume

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Hiring managers can sort through hundreds, perhaps thousands, of resumes each and every year. Ensuring yours stands out in the right way is contingent on a lot of factors. But a surefire way to have your resume wind up in the discard pile is to have it look unprofessional.

Resumes are an art form. Visually appealing resumes stand out much more than disorganized, convoluted resumes. There isn’t necessarily one correct way to create a resume, but there are plenty of wrong ones.

Your Resume Is an Advertisement – SELL YOURSELF: Hiring managers typically spend an average of 10 seconds looking over each resume they receive. The top one-third of your resume will garner the most attention. List your skills and attributes close to the top just below your name and contact information. All your subsequent information (work experience, education, etc.) will merely supplement your skill set.

But don’t just stop there. Here are some more tips to help your resume stand out professionally:

  1. Make your name stand out on your resume. Center it, bold it, increase the font size or use a different font altogether. You want your name to catch the attention of the hiring manager.
  2. Do not put your address. All you need is your phone number and email address. Use a professional email – not the one you had back in high school or college.
  3. Focus on your accomplishments, not just your job description.
  4. Think of your resume as a prime piece of real estate. Anything that doesn’t serve a specific purpose will hurt you. Irrelevant information, poor formatting, spelling/grammatical errors and improperly used spaces can ruin a resume.
  5. It's okay to have more than one version of your resume. Individualize separate resumes from the master, tailored to the specific requirements of the position.
  6. Give your resume plenty of review time. If you don’t think it looks right, it probably doesn’t. It also doesn’t hurt to have a second pair of eyes reviewing your resume. Ask for help.
  7. You may have a period of time on your resume when you weren’t working. Periods of one year or longer typically require some sort of explanation – either on the resume itself or during an interview.
  8. You want your resume to stand out, right? Don’t submit a hard copy of your resume on plain copy paper. Go spend the few extra bucks on proper resume paper. These can be off-white, ivory, cream, light grey or some other presentable color shade. Heavier weight paper can be a nice touch.

Here are some more tips on writing your resume: LInkedIn 12 Resume Writing Tips.

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