A resume is a marketing tool to get you an interview for a particular opportunity. It's not a record of everything you've ever done, and the best ones are never generic.
It's important that your resume is focused, concise and tailored to each opportunity you're applying for because people tend to skim a resume in 30 seconds or less.
Keep it to one page. Two pages max. Yes, you are summarizing your entire life, however you don't want to overwhelm the recruiter. Employers only spend an average of 5 seconds reviewing your resume. Be thorough, include pertinent information, but be concise.
Resumes should be nice, neat, and easy to read. Here are some formatting tips:
- Your name should be displayed prominently at the top of the resume
- 10-12 pt font with larger headings for categories
- Use simple fonts like Times New Roman or Arial
- Margins should be the same all the way around (.5-1 inch)
- Consistency! Make sure all the headings are the same, the dates are aligned the same, information is referenced the same, etc.
- Make sure to convert to PDF when submitting electronically. Keeping it in .docx or .pages can mess up the formatting
Keeping a resume to 2 pages max means you really have to focus on the content. To do this focus on these things:
- The job description
- Include the most relevant experience, skills, knowledge, etc. that relate to the job description. You should be pulling the key words from the description and putting them in your resume. But, be honest. Don't include them if it's not true.
- Educational experiences
- You're still a student, so it's expected that you may not have a ton of work experience. In this instance, you can include specific classes related to the position, or highlight related projects you've worked on throughout your education. Don't forget about internships and volunteer involvement too! Those are just as valuable as the experience gained from a job.
- Old/not applicable work experience
- Even if you don't feel it's relevant, include it (if you have the space!). From most jobs you can identify skills that employers look for, such as reliability, teamwork, and leadership. The only jobs you should hesitate on are those you held for less than 3 months.
- Action words
- Use more interesting words to describe tedious tasks. Action verbs will help you with vivid language that is attention-grabbing and dynamic.
- Instead of "Copied data into Excel" you can say "Aggregated and analyzed customer data using Excel".
- Nothing will put a resume into the trash bin quicker than errors. Make sure information is correct, school and company names are spelled correctly, and formatting is appropriate. Triple check, spell check, send to someone for review, just make sure you're editing it.