Top 15 Resume Tips for 2015

October 1, 2015 Business Advice, Conversation

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You’ve got about 20 seconds to impress a prospective employer. Don’t waste it—follow our top 15 resume tips for 2015.

  1. Ditch the template. Your resume is a marketing piece that sells your value. It should be professionally designed and customized to each prospective employer.
  2. Make it perfect. No matter how awesome you are, typos, grammatical errors and general sloppiness will get your resume tossed. Always double-check your contact information for accuracy.
  3. Be honest. As always, honesty is the best policy. Lies in a resume destroy your credibility and can have serious consequences for your career.
  4. Replace the objective with a concise profile. Your resume profile is a brief summary of your skills, experience and goals as they relate to a specific job opening. Think of it as a condensed cover letter and place it at the top of your resume.
  5. Remove “References Available Upon Request.” If they want references, they’ll ask for them.
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of the industry. This is especially important if you are switching industries. Incorporate industry keywords, and use your resume profile to show how your past experience relates to the position.
  7. Include relevant buzzwords. Look at the keywords in the job post or on the company’s website and incorporate them into your resume. While you’re at it, avoid meaningless buzzwords. The quickest way to show how uncreative and unmotivated you are is to use cliche words like creative and motivated.
  8. Keep it focused. Highlight the skills and experience related to the position. (Listing your evening bartending job isn’t relevant to a systems analyst position at Microsoft.)
  9. Keep it flowing. Your resume must be logically organized and coherent—with the most important information at the top—and the length of your resume should make sense for your work history and profession. (One page would be appropriate for a recent graduate, whereas five pages may be appropriate for a biologist with 20 years of experience.)
  10. Make it easy to read. Dense paragraphs are bad. Bullet points are good. Pick a clean font, such as Helvetica or Arial.
  11. Send a PDF. Save your resume as a PDF to ensure the formatting isn’t altered when your resume is opened on a different computer.
  12. Name your resume appropriately. Change the file name from “Resume” to “[First Name] [Last Name] Resume”—it makes things easier for hiring managers looking through zillions of resumes to return to yours later.
  13. College is good. But, if you’re more than four years out of school, remove your graduation year and GPA. Hiring managers really only care that you have a degree, and you don’t want them to potentially discriminate based on your age.
  14. Link to LinkedIn. Add the URL for your LinkedIn profile. Here’s how to customize your URL.
  15. Experience outranks education. Unless you just graduated, move your education information to the bottom to give more prominence to your experience

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