6 Keys to Writing a Great Resume

Whether you’re writing your first or adding new experience to your already extensive resume, it’s important to spend time perfecting your resume. Your resume is the first impression a hiring manager will have of you! There are so many guidelines and articles out there to help you write a resume that it can be a little overwhelming figuring out where to start! Working in the staffing industry at Latitude 36 has allowed me to read a massive amount of resumes during my time here, and I have seen a lot of good ones, but also a lot of one that could definitely use a little work. With that said, here is a quick guide to help you get on the road to writing a great resume!

Formatting: Make sure your resume is typed in an easy to read font. Arial is typically my go-to font for most professional documents. If you bullet point your job duties, make sure they are all bulleted. Keep your margins between .5 and one inch, and font between 10 and 12. Stay consistent with your font, color, size, and alignment throughout your resume to keep it looking professional.

Chronological order: List your job experiences in chronological order beginning with the most recent, relevant experience to the job you’re applying for. It is also best to remove any pre-professional job experience you have. Your landscaping job from your high school days is no longer relevant if you have more than five years of professional job experience.

Be concise: Try to keep your resume to 1-2 pages in length; however, depending on how extensive your experience is, resumes up to 4 pages are viewed as acceptable. Hiring managers like to quickly be able to see what you have accomplished and one way of highlighting that is to list your main job responsibilities, along with numbers and statistics if applicable. Take out any of the extra “fluff” or jargon that doesn’t add value to your resume, and get down to the “nitty gritty” so your skills and experience stand out.

Explain gaps in employment: If you have more than three months of time off between jobs, then it is in your best interest to list the reason why. If you don’t give an explanation, then for all the hiring manager knows, you may have been sitting on the couch watching daytime television for those four months, when you were actually out looking for new opportunities or taking care of a sick family member.

Double-check grammar and spelling: Nothing is more of a turn-off for a hiring manager than poor grammar and spelling. Read your resume aloud, forward and backward. Check your resume for personal pronouns; for example, don’t use present tense for a past job, or use annoying buzzwords. It is also a good idea to have a friend, family member, or co-worker read it to make sure no mistakes are overlooked!

Leave out personal information: Do not include any information about your marital status, religion, hobbies, or age, and definitely do not include a picture of yourself on your resume. Maybe this worked back in the day, but it is no longer needed since many questions involving personal information are illegal. Another thing to note is that a majority of employers will thoroughly research your social media profile, so be sure to clean yours up and maintain a professional online presence.