In our 20+ years of working with some of the best creative talent in the business, we have seen hundreds of examples of resumes that get attention, get read, and get interviews. While every job-seeker should have a resume that highlights his or her uniqueness, we have observed some consistent patterns in effective resumes that we suggest all candidates keep in mind.
Here are five big ideas to help guide you as you write, revise, and refine your resume.
Your resume should be designed with a specific purpose in mind, usually landing an interview. Make sure that everything about it – every word, every stylistic decision, everything – is optimized for helping you achieve your goal.
Rather than having one resume you send out many times, try using several, slightly different resumes, tailored to different opportunities, potential employers, or specializations. This will give you the opportunity to experiment with “A/B testing,” or compare the results of minor tweaks.
For instance, rather than including an “Objective” that remains consistent, try summarizing your career or experience in a way that pertains directly to this opportunity. See which ones get better results and refine from there.
If nothing else, refresh your resume regularly – this gives you a chance to clarify or change your goal over time.
Unless you are a designer and your aesthetic sensibility is a crucial part of your package, make your fonts, typefaces, and other formatting decisions are legible and user-friendly. Your resume should showcase your skills and experience, not itself.
If your resume is in Microsoft Word format, use standard typefaces such as Arial and Calibri, stick with one typeface throughout, and keep the size consistent at around 10- or 12-point. Unless you’re applying for an acting or modeling gig, you don’t need to include a photo – your work should make your first impression, at least until you have a chance to introduce yourself in person.
When in doubt, make your resume as clear, clean, and simple as you can.
Use bold headers and bulleted lists for easy “F-scanning,” and list your work experience sequentially, starting with the most recent.
Clearly label the name of the company, your job title, and the interval of time in which you worked there (including the month and the year, for extra transparency). There’s no need to go back further than ten years unless you have some very important or impressive experience outside of that range.
If needed, you can include a “Skills” section listing software programs in which you are an expert-level user or important
Challenge yourself to keep your resume to one or two pages in length. This will make it more appealing for hiring managers and will ensure that you highlight only your best and most important skills and experience.
List your responsibilities, using active verbs (e.g. “handled” or “resolved,” rather than “responsible for”). Focus less on rote daily duties and more on challenges you overcame, goals you accomplished, and ways in which you helped your team succeed. This will help create a picture in the hiring manager’s mind of what you can do in this new opportunity.
While you should avoid empty jargon, you should be mindful of important industry terms that an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) or other databases might scan for, and include those. If you are posting your resume on the web, it should be search-engine optimized, using keywords that are popular with hiring managers in your line of work.
Again, designers are exempt from strict conservatism in style. Add a logo, splashes of color, or other touches that show off your signature aesthetic. Just don’t go overboard with it.
If you worked for an agency, include some of the clients you worked for and note the different sorts of projects you worked on. This can be more tangible for hiring managers outside the agency world. Make sure your URL or a link to your portfolio site is included in the resume.
Like everything else about job hunting, crafting the ideal resume is a process of trial and error – try different things, see what gets results, and learn from your experience. However, you can fast-track your career if you team up with experts who have knowledge, connections, and resources. To find out more about how to showcase yourself and discover new worlds of opportunity, contact Artisan Creative today.
We hope you enjoy the 446th issue of our weekly a.blog.