Impress Potential Employers with These Resume Tips

By: Morgan McPhearson A resume is oftentimes the first opportunity an individual has to make an impression on a potential employer. It should be tailored to the position and explain why the company should be interested. How does one make this happen? EC asked Sarah Hihn, the Human Resources Manager at Dix & Eaton, for some tips on how to make your resume stand out.

Make sure your resume is relevant and includes keywords

“One resume does not fit all [employers].  As an HR manager, I am often inundated with resumes, especially when there is an open position.  I need to review resumes quickly and determine whether the individual might have the skill set I am looking for.  Candidates should become familiar with the position/organization as best they can and tailor their resume to the particular position being recruited for and/or the organization.  As an example, when I’m reviewing resumes for a Public Relations position, I want to be able to clearly see a candidate’s communication experience.  I would look for keywords like press release, media pitches, crisis communication plans, and/or investor relations."

Make it pleasing to the eye and appeals to the audience

“Clogged resumes are hard to read and less likely to maintain my attention if I am quickly trying to sort through them.  It is my expectation that serious candidates have put thought into their resumes, which will be reflected by a smooth flow of information, appropriate spatial outlay and NO grammar issues (those will always catch my eye). Don’t overcomplicate it – you don’t need to list a million job responsibilities to look good.  Instead, save some space and write a few solid relevant descriptions that utilize keywords related to the position.  Also, in our environment, when a creative person sends a resume (i.e., a graphic designer) I would expect that they have put their resume together utilizing their talent. So, a plain black and white resume may be fine for PR candidates but a creative candidate’s resume should have some flare.  Do not use a font that is too small or too big.  Use Microsoft Word.  Adjust the margins.  And, it does not have to be one page, but I honestly do not have time for more than two pages."

Make sure your information is current

“I expect that you have an email address listed and that you will check it.  In our business, I’d look for social media interaction – list your LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook pages.  All industries are interested in candidates who are up to date with technology even outside the communications biz. Listing your Twitter or blog address demonstrates that you have a good grasp on technology, and I would expect that you could pick up on technological things quickly."

Explain gaps in your resume

“Employment gaps make me wonder what you were doing and can distract from your listed skill set.  If you have a gap, just explain it.  I have seen people list the gap time frame just as they do with jobs and simply explain “went to care for sick relative,” “chose to go back to school full-time,” or “worked in family business."

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