Navigating the unstable economy right now makes it a confusing time for job seekers.
U.S. hiring is cooling down, since we’ve reached a new low unemployment rate of only 3.6%. But different industries are diverging: tech is slowing down hiring, while pharma and travel industries are busy recruiting, so it’s important to know your field and what the current hiring trends are like.
Regardless of that, with inflation at a record high, it’s more important to negotiate your salary than ever before!
If you take a position with the same salary as your previous job, you’re losing more than 10% of your purchasing power compared to last year (that’s quite a lot!)
With that in mind, let’s go over how to write a stellar resume so you have a better chance at securing that job!
How To Format Your Resume
Formatting is key. No matter how good your resume is, no one will care if the sheet of paper it’s printed on looks like an unreadable mess, or if it’s riddled with typos.
Keep all fonts and sizes consistent, across headings, titles, and bullet points. Pick a simple, readable font like Georgia, Times New Roman, Arial, or Garamond.
Use this format:
Company name, Position; location month/year — month/year
Here’s an example from my very own resume:
The Spectator, News Editor; Hamilton College August 2021-Present
This improves readability!
Your resume should fit on a single page. If it doesn’t, streamline it (more on that later). NEVER shrink the font.
How To Add Your Contact information
Put your contact info right at the top. Your name, phone number, and email should be in big letters. Don’t let the hiring manager remember your awesome accomplishments — but not who they belong to.
If you want to get fancy, you can even put your headshot in the upper right or left corner of the page, encased in a small circular border.
What Skills Are Important To Emphasize?
In the experience section, decide what you want to emphasize.
What skills does the job posting mention? Use that as a starting point to brainstorm. Highlight those aspects of your experience through your bullet points.
Ex: If management skills are required, put the bullets pertaining to leadership at the top of each experience, not your writing skills.
Targeting Your Resume
Your experiences always have to be in reverse chronological order (newest to oldest). But what if your most recent experience is something unrelated to your desired field, or even a random part-time job?
That’s where targeting your resume comes in.
Targeting means sorting your resume into “Relevant Experience” and “Other Experience” categories. Within these sections, you still need chronological order, but this lets you put the important stuff right at the top, where HR staff will actually see it!
Get even more specific with “Marketing Experience” or “Finance Experience,” for example.
Put the jobs, internships, or even volunteer experience that relates to the job you’re applying for under “Relevant Experience.”
Put everything else under “Other.” This also gives you the perfect chance to decide what information to omit.
What Information is Okay To Omit?
There’s no need to list every single job on your resume. You can omit any experience that’s less important or irrelevant, like that summer internship from sophomore year.
But DON’T end up with a large gap in your experience! Something with a long duration shouldn’t be deleted, or people might think you were unemployed for that period. Instead, shorten the description if needed.
Add Strong Bullet Points
Use strong verbs and an active voice, and always be specific with numbers! Quantify your work.
Say “compiled daily finance spreadsheet for 53 employees’ expenses,” not “finance spreadsheet for employee expenses was made each day.”
Avoid using first-person pronouns. No need to say “I accomplished ____.”
While I consider this section to be optional, it can only help. Go ahead and include a list of skills such as computer software proficiency, language proficiency, or any other specific technical skills, if relevant.
For example, mine says “Adobe InDesign, Mandarin (fluent)”, but I’ll delete that line when applying for a copywriting job, for example.
Don’t include soft skills like writing, communication, and leadership. You should be demonstrating those qualities through your experience and cover letter.
The Bottom Line
Of course, the best way to stand out is to be the best candidate for the job.
But for the hiring manager to see your excellence, you’ve got to market your skills and experiences by presenting them on the page with crystal clear descriptions.
What you’ve accomplished is more important than this piece of paper. But writing a great resume is the only way for people to see that.
Now go forth and prosper!
Read More: 9 Interview Tips to Help You Land A New Job