At ProofreadingPal, we see dozens of résumés a month. While some are pretty sharp, most are…well, in need of some assistance. Beyond blatant grammatical and spelling errors, many résumés have unwieldy objectives, inconsistencies in formatting or language use, and in this job market, it is imperative to make your résumé as sharp as possible before sending it out! I consistently hear about hiring managers who automatically trash any résumé with any spelling or grammatical errors, just to shorten the stack they have to weed through. This means that even if you are the perfect candidate for a position, you may get overlooked for a position simply because the hiring manager is too overwhelmed to give your résumé the careful read it deserves.
Let’s not let that happen. Here are five tips for making your résumé polished and professional.
- BE CONSISTENT. This may seem like an intangible, but it isn’t: things should look right. If you use bullet points, make sure they line up consistently. Use the same size font for all of your headers, the same size for your body text.
- BE CLEAR. Say exactly what you mean. Avoid figures of speech and empty language. What does it really mean that you want to “take your career to the next level,” or that “you really hit a wall?” Eliminating figures of speech will help you be direct. Precise language is always preferred in résumés.
- BE CONCISE. This point cannot be stressed enough. Eliminate every unnecessary word and phrase, allowing the point to come through clearly. Think of concision like working out at the gym – eliminating the “flabby” words will make the rest of your writing muscular. As you are writing out your responsibilities at previous places of employment, consider what is essential for the position you are applying for. Remember that the hiring manager is likely wading through a stack of résumés; if yours is four pages long because you want to tell him that you had to roll silverware when you used to be a server, he’s likely to think that you can’t prioritize.
- BE CONFIDENT. There’s a fine line between being cocky and being confident. But since you are applying for a position, it’s assumed you are pretty sure you can pull it off. So, express your abilities confidently. Being clear and concise should help your confidence show through.
- BE CREATIVE. Once you are sure you have formatted everything consistently, and have explained yourself clearly, concisely, and confidently, consider adding some flair to your résumé. One suggestion would be to put your name in a tasteful color, then shadow it.
These tips should help you polish your résumé so you get the look you deserve. But remember, if you aren’t 100% sure
you have eliminated all spelling and grammatical blunders, have ProofreadingPal’s resume experts
take a look at it for you.