Keep your information relevant
You have to keep your resume short. Preferably one page, max two pages. When you have a lot of information to put on your resume, you have to summarize your information and select what is truly relevant. If you have had a lot of different jobs, invest space to describe the most relevant jobs. You can mention the less relevant jobs but I don’t have to describe all the tasks and responsibilities. Or you can skip them in total if a job was a long time ago, just a short period of time, and not relevant to the job you are applying for. The same applies to courses and seminars. If you have done a lot of courses or seminars, only select the ones that are relevant.
Tweak your resume for every job application
In order to keep your resume relevant, you have to tweak your resume for each vacancy you’re applying for. Even if job titles are the same, it does not mean that you can just send out the same resume and cover letter. Each organization has different needs and different specifications in their job posts. Find these specific needs in the job description and adjust your resume and cover letter to them if possible.
When you tweak your resume, an important step is finding the keywords in a job description and applying them in your resume and cover letter. Recruiters and hiring managers search for certain keywords in resumes and cover letters. These keywords can be found in the job post itself. Search for the keywords and apply them. Even if you already have words with the same meaning on your resume, replace them with the same keywords from the job post. The keywords are the words that will light up on your resume in the mind of the recruiter.
Make a short profile
Recruiters make a first selection on just the short scan of your resume. If you don’t pass that first selection, your cover letter will not even be read. If you want to make sure the recruiter will get information on your personality you should add a short personal profile to your resume. This profile does not have to be very long, write down just two or three sentences with your most important (and relevant) personality characteristics.
Keep your resume easy to read and easy to scan
Recruiters and hiring managers want your resume to be easy to read and easy to scan. Keep a clear structured lay-out on your resume. Don’t cramp sections together or use a tiny font size just to fit it all on one page. We prefer a resume of two pages that has a clear structure and is easy to read over a one-page resume that is completely stuffed with text. Keep whitespace in between each section of your text for better readability. Use bold letters for sections titles, job titles, diplomas and special achievements, use normal letters for the descriptions. When summing up the responsibilities in your job description, use bullet points to keep it easy to scan.
Don’t use too much industry jargon
Using a little industry jargon is not a bad thing, it shows you are familiar with the industry and your field of business. But don’t overdo it. Some of resumes we see are just packed with industry jargon. Be careful not to mix company jargon with industry jargon. Each company has its own jargon and especially their own abbreviations. Using a lot of (company) jargon and abbreviations will make your resume one big puzzle for recruiters and hiring managers.
Organize your resume reverse chronological
Start your resume with your most recent work experience and work your way back in time to when you started your first job. Normally your latest work experience will be the most relevant for recruiters. Place your work experience information before your education information. Only when you are a student or a graduate you can put your educations before your part-time jobs. But as soon as you have relevant work experience to mention you have to start putting your work experience before the education section.
Save your resume as a PDF file
At AMBT we always recommend to save a PDF version of your resume and use this PDF to send with your online job applications. By saving as a PDF file you will be certain that the recipient will see the document just the same way that you see it on your computer. This is not only a must for resume templates with a specific lay-out, but also for resume documents with standard lay-out. Most email programs have document preview function nowadays, this preview can really mess up your resume design.