With the rise of platforms like LinkedIn, who you are on paper still matters in the modern workforce.
Though there’s a temptation to be ahead of the curve and innovate your resume into something new, it brings a risk. According to The Balance Careers, most employers still prefer a traditional resume. So unless you’re chasing after a niche market, it pays (literally) to play it safe.
That being said, here are 8 steps to build a successful resume.
Get it all out on paper
Templates, wording, and formatting will come – but lose all the extra jargon you think you should include, and start with the basics. Begin listing all of your experience from beginning to end on paper and keep it in a running document. Whether your experience is from your first job to or even a volunteer gig, take some time to get it all out there. Give yourself a few hours to be thorough and consider breaking up this step from the process to make sure you’ve got it all down.
Based on the above exercise, begin to refine and narrow your job experience. What’s most relevant? What is most applicable to your career? Start tweaking the words that you use, and refining the type of content you’ll include on your resume. Pay closer attention to the specific words you use, and ensure that your current positions are listed in the present tense. Double check that your past experiences are listed in past tense with active words as well.
Start creating your resume with your end goal in mind
At this point, you’ve graduated to the point where you can start creating your resume. Again, instead of using a template, create another word document. This time, start adding your relevant experience but be prepared to keep it all at a page. Add your name and contact information as a header, but begin to focus on the body of what you’ll include. Allow your career objectives to be the guiding force while developing your resume.
Skip the fluff
Your resume is your highlight reel, so leave the filler for LinkedIn. Include the experiences that are most relevant to your career objectives, because, at this point, every word counts. Filler, additional verbs, and social media handles only detract from the point you are trying to make; that you’re qualified for the position you are applying for.
Hold on to your personal information closely
Speaking of your social media handles, ensure that they, along with your photos and address, are NOT listed on your resume. Though this information may be required for your online application, you shouldn’t include it here.
Not only does this information occupy unnecessary space, but it may also allow for discrimination. Be tactful in what you do and don’t share.
Your references are your friend as well, so wait to give them out to your prospective employer. To suffice, have some colleagues recommend you on LinkedIn to help demonstrate your ability.
Stick to the basics
Keep your resume clear, transparent, and simple. Any “filler” can be added on LinkedIn, where your profile can tell a more visual story. Again, your page and word count matter.
Though the world is progressing, a simple, clean, one-page resume is still preferred. Keep it simple, and maximize your space. Don’t get too caught up in your template type or font of choice, just keep everything clean and simple.
Think outside the box
Just because a resume template says you should include a given section on your resume does not mean you are required to do so. Do you have more relevant work experience than you do skills for a given position? Leave your skills on LinkedIn, and invite your connections to endorse you there. Break the mold, and include the most accurate information you see as fit for your field.
Don’t change every single keyword on your resume to get a job. There is a time and place to tailor your resume and include certain experiences (and omit others) if you’re switching fields, but be mindful of how you present yourself. Be consistent everywhere you go.
Be yourself, and your resume will speak volumes.