Getting hired for your dream comes down to having the right work experience, quality education, and relevant skills. However, all of those would mean nothing if you can’t present them in a compelling and impressive resume.
Here are 63 resume tips that can help you land your dream job.
1. Highlight important information
Your name, phone number, and email address: these three are the most important parts of your resume. They must be written prominently and clearly, so make sure to place the said information at the top of your resume.
Since your contact information is crucial, make sure it is correct and up to date. How can a hiring officer get in touch when you provided them the wrong phone number? This translates to an opportunity lost.
2. Use a professional-sounding email address
An email will probably be the main platform employers will use to contact you, so it is important to use an email address that sounds professional. Silly email addresses like [email protected] or [email protected] give an impression that you’re not taking your application seriously. You have to admit such addresses sound dubious at best.
This is why having or creating a professional email address is a must. If your name is Michael Smith, for example, try to use an email address like [email protected] or [email protected].
3. Always include your LinkedIn URL
Having a LinkedIn account has become an essential part of a job seeker’s application, so make sure to include your LinkedIn URL in your resume. Recent data show that 77% of employers use LinkedIn to reach out to prospects. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, you’re definitely missing out.
Like your email address, you can also make your LinkedIn URL look and sound more professional. Just go to Edit public profile & URL and change your URL.
4. Consider linking to your own website
Sometimes, a single resume is not enough to showcase all your skills and achievements. If you want to show your employer more of your story and accomplishments, you can create your personal website and include its link in your resume.
Creating your own website has advantages and will probably impress employers. If you’re linking to your website, make sure it looks professional and creative. If it looks bad or has technical issues, it can even harm your application.
5. Use action verbs
Action verbs will have a huge impact on your resume. It is an effective way to show your abilities and skills. Instead of using commonly used verbs like managed, achieved, or led, you can use some of these powerful action verbs instead to make your resume more impressive:
6. Avoid adverbs
If action verbs are words you should use more often, adverbs are words you should never use in your resume. Adverbs are useful words for other types of write-ups or conversations, but not on a resume.
Saying that you completed a task successfully or diligently won’t do you any good. Instead, my resume advice is to use numbers or concrete accomplishments to support your completion of a task or project.
Don’t just say you raised profit successfully. Say you made 30% of sales in a year and helped a company raised an added profit of USD2 million at the end of the financial year.
7. Write numbers correctly
How you write numbers on a resume comes down to basic grammar rules. Here’s a rule of thumb: numbers one to nine should be spelled out, while any number greater than nine should be written as a number.
You should never spell out “percent” and “dollars”, however. If you’re writing any of those, it’s better to write the symbol. For example, 33% or $5 million.
8. No need to put objectives
The objectives section of a resume has been overused. Including one on your resume is not considered necessary anymore. Instead of writing your objectives, I recommend you include a resume summary instead. That being said, resume summaries are not for everyone. We’ll get to it on the next resume tip.
9. Know when to include a summary
A resume summary can be beneficial to some applicants, particularly experienced professionals.
If you’re relatively inexperienced, say applying for an entry-level job, then a resume summary can be more of a disadvantage for you. It’s because a resume summary takes a lot of space on your resume but with little substance. You lack professional experience, after all.
If you have decided to include a summary, the best way to do it is to state the accomplishments you are most proud of. You can also state your abilities that match the company’s goals and culture.
In writing a resume summary, remember to keep it brief and concise.
10. Know the difference between a resume and a CV
Most people confuse a resume with a CV, but they are definitely not the same.
A resume is a shorter and more concise document that shows your work experience and skills relevant to the job you are applying to. A curriculum vitae, on the other hand, is a longer document including all your experiences, certifications, and publications.
The graphic below from The Balance Careers shows how a resume is different from a CV.
11. Tell the truth
In writing your resume, always tell the truth. Lying in your resume will get you in trouble. Remember, employers or human resources officers often confirm if what you put in your resume is true or not.
You don’t have to lie in your resume. Getting hired for your dream job comes down to having the right skills and experience. If you have what it takes, your skills and experience will get that job for you.
12. Keep it consistent
How you present the content of your resume already tells the employer about you and your skills. This is why it’s important to keep your formatting consistent. Make sure you use a consistent font for your headings, subheadings, and plain text.
Also, keep your indentation and usage of bold and italics consistent. If you keep changing font styles and size too much on your resume, it will look unprofessional. Consistency is key.
Never underline words. Underlined words are difficult to read for employers.
13. Use headings
One of the best ways to keep the content of your resume organized and neat is by using headings and subheadings. Doing so will make it easier for employers to find particular information in your resume.
The key to writing good headings is keeping it simple. Use only one to two words per heading, if you can. Here’s an example of how you should write headings:
- Resume summary
- Work experience
14. Use the right font
In writing your resume, it’s important to keep the text readable and skimmable. It should be easy on the eyes of the employers or HR manager. Make sure to use a font size between 10 and 12. With regards to font style, choose one that is modern, yet easy to read.
Some of the best ones are Calibri, Cambria, and Georgia. Here’s a list of the best font styles to use for resume writing.
15. Know when to use CAPS
You should almost never use ALL CAPS in writing a resume. All caps should only be used for emphasis, mainly in headings or subheadings. Beyond that, you should never use all caps.
IMAGINE SEEING A SENTENCE LIKE THIS ON YOUR RESUME.
Using all caps gives the employer or the manager the impression that you are angry, arguing, or screaming at them. This is why it’s important to know when to use all capitalized text in your resume. Or just avoid it unless you need to write a brand/company name that is all capitalized.
16. Align text to the left
Our next tip for resume writing is to use left align or left justified for the text. Among all alignment types, align left is the most skimmable and easiest to read. For the heading of your resume, including your name and contact information, you can choose to use align-center. For paragraphs and other information, align-left or justified-left are the best to use.
17. It doesn’t have to be all on one page
Whether a resume should only be a page long is an ongoing debate. The best length for a resume is one page. It is more concise and looks better visually. However, particularly in some cases, a one-pager won’t cut it.
If you can keep all your information, experience, and skills on one page, then that’s great. If you’re a more experienced professional, you would probably need more space to showcase your experience and accomplishments. In that case, using two pages is acceptable.
The bottom line is, you should always make your resume as concise as possible. This means including only details that are on point or closely related to the job you’re applying for.
18. Use the reverse chronological format
List the content of your resume in reverse chronological order. You should write the more recent experiences or accomplishments first. Among all formats, reverse chronological is what most employers and HR managers prefer.
Below is a photo from Indeed showing an example of a reverse chronological format on a resume.
In some cases, a functional resume can also be used. It highlights the applicant’s skills more than his or her work history. This type can be used by less experienced applicants, particularly fresh graduates.
19. Don’t put a photo
Unless you’re a model or applying for an acting job, you should never put a headshot on your resume. It’s not just that photos on resumes are not a thing anymore, it can even be a disadvantage in your application.
Most employers and managers reject resume with headshots, for it can lead to discrimination. In fact, including a photo in your resume has an 88% rejection rate. Hiring an applicant should never be based on gender, age, or facial features. That’s enough reason why this tip is on the list.
20. Make it simple
Don’t overdesign your resume. One of our most important resume writing tips is to make your resume readable and neat. There’s no need for extravagant font styles or layouts unless you’re applying for a field that calls for it. Even artists tend to keep their resumes simple and showcase their creativity in their portfolio.
If you’re using a ready-made template, make sure to choose one that is simple, yet professional. That being said, you should still…
21. Get creative
Creating a simple resume does not mean you can’t put in some creativity in it. Use some graphics or icons to set your resume apart from other applicants. There are a lot of creative resume templates available online. It comes down to finding one that fits your personality and the job you are applying for.
22. Ask help from a professional
If you’re not the most creative person, don’t worry! You can always get help from professional layout artists whose job is to create great designs for resumes. If you really want to stand out among applicants, consider this tip, but it might cost you some money. If you’re low on budget, designing your own resume will do just fine. It’s a matter of being resourceful.
23. Avoid hyperlinking important information
In writing your LinkedIn or other social media profiles, do not hyperlink the URL on the text. Instead, type in the full URL. If you simply hyperlink, employers will not be able to view your account if they print your resume. To avoid that situation, it’s better for you to type the full URL of your profile.
24. It’s all about accomplishments
If there’s a particular section in your resume that you should double down on and improve, it’s the work experience section. To write a resume that gets you hired, you should make this section accomplishment-centric.
Don’t just list your work history and the work that you have done in the past. Show the employer or the manager that you always get the job done and accomplish more than what is expected from you and back it up with concrete accomplishments that you have.
25. Keep it relevant
It’s always a great idea to highlight your work experience that is relevant to the job you are applying for. It’ll show the employer that you have experienced working in the industry. The relevance of your work experience is key in writing a good resume.
26. Show your recent work experience
Only showcase your recent work experience. A rule of thumb is to include in your resume only your work experience within the last 15 years. Any experience older than that is considered irrelevant at the time you apply.
Only include an accomplishment or achievement from more than 15 years ago if it’s considered a huge milestone or something that is extremely relevant. Other than that, it’s best to follow the rule of thumb.
27. Show them some numbers
Quantify your accomplishments. Saying that you increased the sales of a company won’t be enough. If you want to stand out, use numbers and figures in showing your achievements. Remember the example on tip # 6?
By how many percent did the sales increase? How many deals have you done? Quantifying your accomplishments will give the employer a good grasp of your capabilities in handling the job, so consider this tip in writing your work experience.
28. Having no relevant experience is okay
If you’re applying for a job without any relevant experience, no worries! My resume advice is to highlight your skills and academic accomplishments that are relevant to the job you are applying for.
Writing a good cover letter will also give you a competitive edge. In your cover letter, state your relevant qualities and why you are ideal for the job.
29. Defend against age discrimination
Age discrimination in employment has been an issue for many years. According to Workforce.com, 44% of employees report that they or someone they know have experienced age discrimination in the workplace. The good news is, you can combat age discrimination with good resume writing.
Show them that you are tech-savvy and that you are well-versed in modern technology and current trends. Also, no matter what your age is, always have a LinkedIn profile. It will be better if you share some new content on your LinkedIn, too.
30. Avoid wordiness
Cut the fluff and be direct to the point. One of the reasons why applicants have trouble keeping their resumes concise is wordiness, mainly in the work experience section. You don’t need flowery words. Showcase your experience in bullet points, and don’t make each bullet point too long.
31. Make it understandable for everyone
Although it may sound good, don’t put in too much jargon on your resume. Write it in such a way that an average person would understand it.
Remember that recruiters and assistants are the first to check your resume before they forward it to higher-ups. You want to keep a good balance between regular and technical terms in your resume.
32. Throw in some of your side hustle experience
Not many applicants know this, but including side hustle experience in your resume can work wonders on your application. Side hustles are perfect for filling resume gaps. They can also show your enthusiasm and entrepreneurial mindset.
If you worked on a project by yourself before or did freelance work, put it in your resume! It will show your diligence and hard work. Plus, it could spark a good conversation during your interview.
33. Don’t include short-term jobs
If there were instances in which you had a job for only a few months, it’s better to not include it in your resume. The thing is, short-term jobs can appear as red flags to employers.
Now, does taking your short-term jobs off the list mean that you’re lying? Not really. Removing a short term job from the list won’t hurt. However, if you really want to include it on the list or you think it is relevant, you can still do so. Just make sure to add an explanation as to why you only stayed on the job for a short period of time.
34. Show your promotions (if there were any)
One of the most effective resume writing tips is to show internal promotions in the companies that you worked in. In writing this, it’s not necessary to repeat the company name several times. You should only write the company name once. Then, list down the job titles you had in that company, followed by the responsibilities you had with the jobs.
35. Include months on your employment dates
In writing employment dates, always write the months. Writing 2018-2019 just means that you are not telling everything, and that could appear suspicious. Instead of just writing 2018-2019, for instance, write June 2018 – March 2019. This will show that you are not hiding anything from the employer.
Also, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) often need months in applicants’ resumes. To avoid any issues with ATS, add months on employment dates.
36. Explain the gaps
If there are gaps in your employment, include them in your resume. However, make sure to explain why you had those gaps. In explaining gaps, make it brief. Try to explain the gap in a line or two. Also, make sure to not put months in listing gaps. The years will do.
What’s important in explaining employment gaps is that you are honest. Employers will sense dishonesty in your resume, so tell the truth. If the gap lasted for less than six months, you can choose not to include it in the list.
37. Ditch expired licenses
If any of your licenses are expired, don’t include it in your resume. Expired licenses are considered irrelevant and would not be considered by employers and managers, so exclude them. The same goes for expired certifications.
38. Put the education section at the right place
One of the most common confusions by applicants is where to put the education section in a resume. The answer to this depends on your level of experience. Are you a recent graduate or an experienced professional?
If you just graduated recently, then it’s better to put the education section ahead of the work experience section. At this point, your college experience is where the spotlight is, so it’s best to put it at the top.
If you have a lot of experience, place the work experience section ahead of the education section. Your work experience is more relevant than your college achievements at this point in your career.
39. List your degrees in reverse chronological order
The reverse chronological order is the best format not only for work experience but also for the education section. That means that you should put the highest degree that you have first.
40. Know when to put your GPA
When should you put your GPA on your resume? This depends on two factors: where you’re at in your career and what your GPA is.
According to an interview by CNBC with an executive resume writer, putting GPA on resumes is applicable only to applicants who have recently graduated or have a GPA of 3.5-4.0.
If you’re not a recent graduate or don’t have a GPA within the mentioned range, the best resume advice is to not include your GPA. It wouldn’t hurt too much, anyway.
41. Don’t list graduation dates
The date of your graduation doesn’t really matter to the employer or manager. What’s important to them is whether you have the degree and what that degree is. There’s no need to include graduation dates.
42. Include online learning accomplishments
If you have taken online courses, especially if they are relevant to the job you are applying for, don’t hesitate to include them in your resume! According to EdX, online courses show the unique skills you have that sets you apart from other applicants. This is important because companies continue to look for people with diverse skill sets.
It is also a good way to show the employer or manager that you are willing to continuously learn outside the workplace.
Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
43. Understand how ATS works
One of our best resume tips is to learn how ATS works. Why is it so important? 40% of employers use ATS or other pre-screening software. Chances are, the company you are applying to uses ATS as well, so it’s important for you to understand it.
Watch this video to have an idea of how Applicant Tracking Systems work:
Applicant Tracking Systems initially scans your resume and matches the keywords in it with the terms in the job description. Once you know how an ATS works, you should then know how to write an ATS-friendly resume, which we will discuss next.
44. Use the right keywords
To conquer ATS, you have to write the right keywords in your resume. How you’ll rank among applicants comes down to how many keywords you’ll match with the job description.
The key to writing an ATS-friendly resume is finding the keywords in the job listing. In the job listing, you’ll find the company’s requirements on education, work experience, and skills. Look for relevant keywords in the job listing and use them in writing your resume.
The CEO of a resume-writing service company reveals in an interview with Forbes that using keywords is not just about the quantity, but also customization. As you apply for different jobs, you can rearrange lists depending on relevance. You should also put the most relevant keywords first in your resume.
Using keywords will definitely help, but…
45. Don’t cheat
Cheaters never win, even when applying for a job. The most common cheating tactic applicants do is using white text. There have been numerous instances where applicants use white as the font color to list the top keywords multiple times or even write the whole job description in their resume.
Keywords stuffing has become a very detectable action nowadays. Many ATS highlight search terms in the raw text. This basically means that recruiters would find out that you wrote administrative assistant 20 times in a list on white text, and you wouldn’t want that.
46. Use the right headings
ATS detects words not only from a normal text but from headings too. To make your headings ATS-friendly, use common words like Education, Work Experience, and Skills. Writing What I Can Offer may not be a good idea. It’s not ATS-friendly, at least.
47. Include the title of the job you are applying for
One of the best tips for a good resume is including the job title you’re applying for near your name and contact information. The job title is one of the most important keywords for ATS, so it’s a great idea to write it close to your name, which is positioned at the top.
48. Optimize your keywords
How do you know if your resume is ATS-friendly? A resume optimizer tool will do it for you. Optimizing your keywords will help you assess your resume and tell you if the keywords you used match the job description enough.
49. Tables in your resume are a no-no
Tables are a good way to show comparisons and information, but not on resumes. In an interview with CNBC Make It, the founder of a resume optimization tool mentioned that ATS tends to get tripped by charts and tables on applicants’ resumes.
The thing is, ATS scans resumes’ text from left to right, regardless of table borders. If you have two columns on a table, for instance, the text on the second column might not be scanned by the ATS. To avoid this, it’s best not to use tables on your resume.
50. Upload your resume in PDF only
Applicant Tracking Systems often mess up the formatting on resumes. Whether you’re uploading it a thread or sending it in an email, upload your file in pdf only. Doing so will help you retain the format of your resume, even after the recruiter or employer downloads the file.
Also, don’t upload it as an image file, which most applicants tend to do. It will make your resume unsearchable.
51. File name matters
Just like your email address, you should also keep the file name of your resume professional. Again, no funny file names. The best format we recommend that you use is firstname_lastname_jobtitle.pdf. If your name is quite common, you can also add your middle name.
Don’t put general file names like myresume.pdf or resume_final.pdf. It won’t get you far. You can also choose to add the company name in the file name of your resume. This will help in cases where you are applying to several companies.
Skills and Interests
52. Highlight your hard skills
It’s important to include your hard skills on your resume as doing so will show the employer or recruiter that you have specialties and areas of expertise. Here are examples of hard skills:
- Microsoft Office
- Computer programming
- Foreign language
- Data engineering
- Data analysis
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- User Interface Design
- App development
If you can, support these hard skills with certifications and licenses. It will show the employer or recruiter that you have acquired or developed your skills by taking courses or training.
53. Show your soft skills
Soft skills are just as important as hard skills, so it’s crucial for you to balance them. Soft skills are on everyone’s resumes, so writing simply Good communicator or Effective leader won’t cut it.
The key to highlighting your soft skills is quantification. For example, if you want to say that you’re a good team player, write in your resume how many people you worked with.
Example: Worked with 5 analysts to research the effects of using XYZ as an alternative material for construction.
54. Identify transferable skills
If you’re transferring from one career to another, you should know what skills you developed in your previous job that are relevant and important to the job you are applying for.
Take note that soft skills are more transferable than hard skills, so identify your best soft skills and determine their relevance to the new career you are trying to start.
55. Include relevant interests
Listing your interests and hobbies is a good way to add some personality to your resume. However, interests and hobbies are subjective. Include them in your resume if you think they are relevant to the job.
If there’s not much relevance, you can still choose to include interest or a hobby on the list. Just make sure that what you are passionate about is not against or contrary to the company’s culture, perspectives, and beliefs.
56. Watch the cliches
Saying that you’re a team player or detail-oriented has become a very common thing on resumes. Being a go-getter or a problem-solver will also probably make the employer cringe. If you want to stand out, avoid resume cliches, and be unique by showing concrete accomplishments.
The thing is, recruiters read hundreds or even thousands of resumes every week. You won’t stand out using cliches on your resume.
57. Write a cover letter
The cover letter is a good way to showcase how your work experience and skills match the requirements for the job.
Your resume and cover letter go hand in hand on your application, so make sure they complement each other. Using the same theme or design for both your resume and cover letter will show consistency and will definitely go a long way.
Writing a great cover letter is not a walk in the park, but using an effective template will definitely help.
58. Don’t put “References available upon request”
Writing this in your resume is considered a beginner’s mistake. Employers or recruiters already know that you will provide them references once they ask you for it. Don’t put your references either. Doing so will cost you a lot of space. Bottom line: ditch the references section completely.
59. Proofreading is key
Once you’ve completed your resume, proofread, then proofread again. Employers want to see an error-free, grammatically correct resume. That’s why you should proofread your resume multiple times.
Spelling and grammar checking tools are cool but don’t rely on them too much. Have your friends or family members read them. It’s great to have different sets of eyes to check your resume for typos and other errors.
60. Know when to include your social media profiles
Your social media profiles are a good way to show employers your personality and passion. Although it has an upside, sharing your social media Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other accounts can also hurt your job hunt. About a third or 34% of employers who check applicants’ social media profiles have found content that raised some red flags.
In your resume, LinkedIn is king, and the social media profile you should always include. Twitter is good for web-based roles. Instagram can be acceptable for relevant industries, mainly marketing. Facebook leans more to the must-not-include side because it can contain so much personal information and content.
Before including your social media profiles in your resume, make sure that the content in your profile is relevant to the job you are applying for.
61. Never staple together hard copies
If your resume has 2 pages, don’t staple them. The main reason for this is that employers often scan or copy your resume and show it to departments or supervisors, and stapling your resume will make it more difficult for them to do that.
Instead of a stapler, you can secure hard copies in a folder or you can use a paperclip. We recommend you put your name on the top of the second page of your resume (on the header).
62. Keep a master resume
It is recommended that you create a master resume or a master list of all your work experience, education, skills, and certifications.
By the time when you have to customize a resume for a particular job, it will just be a matter of copying and pasting. Plus, you will be able to scan your master resume and make sure that you’re not leaving any information behind.
63. Constantly update your resume
As you get more work experience, you develop or even acquire new skills. That’s why concluding our list of resume writing tips is to keep updating your resume.
If you just finished an online course on management, add it to your resume! If you’ve worked on a big project for the company you are working in, put that in as well! Even if you’re not applying for a job, it’s still a good thing to keep your resume up to date.
There you have it, 63 resume tips and tricks to help you build a resume that will get you hired for your dream job. Consider and apply these resume building tips and you’re already a step ahead of other applicants.
Did you enjoy the list? Let us know your thoughts about it in the comments.
Happy job hunting!