8 Musts for Crafting the Perfect Resume

7 seconds.

That’s the average time a recruiter looks at your resume. It’s a painful statistic, one that can easily keep you up at night, yelling, “BUt I hAVE SO MuCh tO oFfer!”

Crafting the “perfect” resume is harder than I would have ever dreamed. I can’t tell you how many variations I’ve written — add/delete a word, rephrase that certain bullet point, play with a new template. We’ve all been there. We want to showcase ourselves in the best way possible (as real, breathing human beings), but instead we’re limited to a single sheet of paper.

Never fear — let’s seal the deal on your dream job, share we?

1. Keep a running list

Before you even sit down to draft your perfect resume, make life easier and do the heavy lifting first. In a notebook, I keep a list of my accomplishments -- milestones I’ve hit at my job, awards I’ve won, etc. If you jot down these things when you think of them, you can refer back when you need it. These also make a great “study guide” before walking into an interview.

2. Singular. No exceptions.

Unless you’ve been in the biz for 45,000 years, keep it to one page. I know, it’s hard, but it forces you to focus on the important stuff, and leave the rest to your cover letter. If Marissa Mayer can do it, you can too.

3. Get a killer template

Remember the 7 seconds stat? Sorry to remind you, but you’ve got one shot to make a great first impression. Microsoft Word and Etsy are full of templates you can use to make your resume stand out — and if you're applying for a graphic design gig, you should be designing your own!

4. No need for an address

Recruiters can reach you via email, phone, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Facebook pokes...in the age of the internet, we don’t need your address. If you’re applying for a position not in your current location (if you’re relocating to Austin from, say, Miami), it can cause even more confusion. Make sure you can be contacted, but delete that physical address.

READ MORE: How to Land the Job (When You Don't Meet the Requirements)

5. Use present tense

I mentioned this in a previous article about upping your LinkedIn profile, but it’s never going to stop being important. If you always have issue with listing your responsibilities for positions (don’t we all) here’s a great tip. Bring your bullet points to life with active voice, even if you’re describing accomplishments at an old job. Instead of, “Created, edited and promoted blog content,” change it to, “Create, edit, and promote blog content.” It subconsciously implies enthusiasm and action without any additional craziness or effort.

6. Ditch the references

“References upon request?” Yeah, we know! If you’re a hiring manager and need more information, you’re going to ask. When building your resume, don’t bother with the obvious: your references with contact information is just a waste of valuable space. Instead, have a one-sheet complete with your contact info and a reference list. If you have written references from those same people, include a quote from their reference talking about your awesomeness. 

7. It's a numbers game.

When creating a resume, you want to make it easily readable and digestible. You want your experience to stand out in a way that immediately captivates, and establishes credibility. Numbers are your answer. Instead of saying, “Grew social media traffic and website views,” your bullet point should say something like “Grew social media traffic by 40% and website views by 15%.” Now this gets tricky when your numbers are either really high (I started my current company’s social from scratch, so I’ve grown our Facebook followers by literally 30,000%) or embarrassingly low (my organic numbers for social growth always look like peanuts compared to my paid social efforts.) Find a way to showcase your growth (“100 to 10,000 followers”) or discuss initiatives you have developed (“implemented a company-wide Excel training class.”)

8. Customize it

Unfortunately, a resume is not one-size-fits-all (lazy me is groaning as we speak.) A resume should ebb and flow depending on the position. The most relevant experience should land up top, and delete the stuff that doesn’t apply.

Have some more resume questions? Send them my way on Instagram!


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