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Once you get the hiring manager’s attention with a well-written cover letter, your resume should tell your story, explain how your experience matches their job description and, most importantly, prove that you will be just the person they need to fill the role.

10 Tips (plus 1 bonus tip) to Immediately Improve Your Resume

  1. Keep it to one page.
    A hiring manager spends an average of six seconds looking at your resume. Best practice dictates that one page is sufficient unless you’re applying to be an executive or a partner. To be succinct, remember the purpose of the resume is to showcase the skills you have that apply to the position you are seeking.
  2. Avoid spelling or grammar errors.
    Spelling counts in marketing. If you have spelling or grammatical errors on any submitted documents you will likely be passed over. Have several people review your documents before they are sent to the employer.
  3. Follow the employer’s instructions.
    If the employer is looking for a PDF, send them a PDF. If they want a .doc send them a .doc. If the employer is looking for a cover letter, resume and 3 references, send them. Omitting - or going beyond - what is requested is considered bad form.
  4. Label your resume file correctly.
    Too many people save this important document with random or generic file names like sgks123.pdf or resume.pdf. Remember that recruiters can see the name of the file that you send them, and also remember that they get tons of resumes every day. Make it super clear whose resume they should click on by saving it under a logical name like FirstName_LastName_Resume.pdf.
  5. Design is important.
    If you are applying for a creative position, your resume should have creative elements in it. If you are applying to an executive position, the resume should look polished and clean. Think about the position and culture of the company while you design you resume.
  6. Keep it organized.
    Organizing your resume in a reasonable way maximizes the amount of information the hiring manager absorbs in the short six seconds they take to review it. Make sure the font sizes and styles are consistent for different parts of the resume. All headers should look the same and clearly denote where each section starts. Sections of detail should look the same (avoid fonts smaller than 10pt).
  7. Quantify as much as possible.
    Numbers, percentages and supporting facts show that you have a track record of success. Let the hiring manager know that you were keeping track of your successes and what it meant to the business.
  8. Brag.
    You are selling yourself on a piece of paper. This is the time to praise yourself and your accomplishments. If you got a promotion or a raise because of your performance, you should mention it. If you worked with the CEO of the company or were a point of contact for a large, corporate customer, mention their names. This goes a long way in showing that you can run with important people. It shows that you’re confident. It shows that you’re capable.
  9. Don’t list everything you’ve ever done.
    Every word should have a purpose. When you’re writing and editing, ask yourself this question, “Will this sentence help me get the job I want?” If not, you should consider editing that sentence or removing it.
  10. Consider your audience.
    The people reviewing resumes are looking for the best candidate for the job. Make it easy for them. Look at the job posting and tell them how you can fulfill the duties listed using examples of your work in the past.
  11. BONUS TIP! Think of this as a storytelling document.
    You are a marketing communications professional and storytelling is your game. Use your resume to tell your story as it pertains to the job posting.

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