HR Tips – Writing A Compelling Resume

by Alan Bernstein, SHRM-SCP – HR Office Savers

I hear from people regularly who are struggling with their job search. Some of you have been looking for months with no success. Finding a new job is not easy! So, what can you do? 

In my experience, it begins with having a compelling resume. A compelling resume should be accurate, visually appealing, and likeable. 

Accurate

Spelling and grammatical mistakes are found in almost one-third of all resumes. We are all moving so fast, that a simple misspelling (“personal” instead of “personnel”, or my favorite “manger” instead of “manager”) can be easily overlooked.

 

Your resume is your one chance to make a good first impression. Some hiring managers may overlook a simple spelling or grammatical mistake, but it still looks bad and may bring up a question about your attention to detail.

Beyond the obvious (and avoidable) spelling and grammatical mistakes, is your resume truthful? Did you actually graduate from college with that degree in that year? Did you really work at that company during that timeframe and with that title? Companies fact-check regularly. Be sure to double check your work history, dates, job titles, and other pertinent information.

Visually Appealing

Sure, “visually appealing” is subjective. But objectively, there are some formatting basics that make a resume appealing:

• Are the margins all lined up correctly?
• Is the font consistent?
• Is the text big enough to read without squinting?
• Is the paragraph spacing uniform throughout the document?

Most resumes use Arial or Calibri font with text size 10.5 – 12. Graphic designers may choose to use fun and bold colors and text sizes, but the rest of us should stick with standard formatting. 

Also check the length of your resume. There are varying opinions on the optimal number of pages. Some believe it best to cram everything onto one page. Others think there should be no limit to length, as long as the content is impactful. My standard resumes are 2 pages, with a recommended maximum of 3 pages. If you are early in career with only one or two jobs, one page is sufficient. Pro tip – remember to add your name to all pages!

Likeable 

Your resume is an extension of you; you have to feel good about it. Call it karma or psychology or self-fulfilling prophecy – whatever you call it, you have to personally like your resume for it to work. You want to put your best foot forward with your resume. If it’s accurate and visually appealing but you don’t like it, we rewrite it.

Sometimes we rewrite it as a functional resume. Sometimes we change the font or the margins. Sometimes we add or remove content. Whatever we do, you have to like it or it’s not complete.

Alan Bernstein, SHRM-SCP, is the owner of HR Office Savers, Inc. which is an independent human resource consulting firm that provides employment advisory solutions to small businesses and individuals in the areas of staffing, compliance, employee relations, resume writing, interview preparation, and job search. 

 

 

Alan Bernstein, SHRM-SCP, is the owner of HR Office Savers, Inc. which is an independent human resource consulting firm that provides employment advisory solutions to small businesses and individuals in the areas of staffing, compliance, employee relations, resume writing, interview preparation, and job search. 

 

 

 

 

 

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