Resume Tips to Land Your Dream Job

Hi Everyone!

Long time no blog!! Well a few weeks to be exact, but it feels like a long time. As I mentioned if you follow me on Instagram, Hunter and I are in the middle of our first time home buying process. That craziness coupled with a very busy time at work with an upcoming project deadline has my head spinning! I am looking forward to getting back into a better workout, eating and blogging routine very soon!

I encourage you to follow me on Instagram, because I update my Instagram Stories almost every day between blog posts with tips, polls and fun updates.

Today, I wanted to hop on with a quick post about resumes. Whether you have just completed a big project and want to update your resume while it's fresh in your memory or you are ready to apply for a new job, it is important to update your resume the right way.

The process of creating or updating a resume can feel overwhelming when you first get started, but here are my top tips for how to make your resume stand out!


Resume Tips to Land Your Dream Job

Headers Matter
You should ensure that the header of your resume is very prominent. This is the first impression of your resume and what hiring managers will refer to when contacting you for an interview. I always include my full name in bold, large font, with my current (professional) email, cell phone number and address on the second line of the header.

Page Length Debate
There is a long debated topic of whether a resume should be kept to one-page only or whether this rule need not apply. Personally, I think the length of the resume does not matter, as long as the quality of your experience and accomplishments is there and not filled with fluff. There are many settings where longer resumes are the norm, such as in academic institutions where curriculum vitaes (more detailed and all encompassing document of your experience and accomplishments) are the standard.

Education and Experience  
I typically start with my education at the top of the resume. The amount of detail you include here is up to you. Proud of your GPA and higher level degrees? Put them on there. If you feel that your GPA and educational experience was lack-luster you may want to keep this section to the point. Next, I always put my most relevant and recent experience at the top of the resume with date ranges to accompany each position. For example, I have all of my healthcare experience in a section titled "Relevant Experience" and all other experience listed in a shorter section titled "Other Experience" with minimal explanation.

Lose the Articles
This is a small tip that I learned from one of my graduate school professors, but a quick way to make your resume more concise is to remove articles from your resume-e.g. the, a, an. These are unnecessary since a resume is often in bullet format, instead of full sentences.

Quantify Accomplishments
It is crucial to quantify as many of your accomplishments as possible. The difference between "led team on organization-wide project" and "led 10-person team in organization-wide project that resulted in cost savings of $250,000" is huge. Including the result of each project or accomplishment with quantifiable details adds credibility to your experience.

Utilize Action Verbs
When describing your accomplishments, make sure to use strong action verbs. Managed, Led, Spearheaded, Organized, Created, Championed and Coordinated are all good choices. Even if you participated as part of a larger team on a project, you can still explain the experience with strong verbs, such as Collaborated, Co-led or Facilitated.

Formatting is Key
Avoid small font, narrow spacing and large paragraphs. You need to make your resume easy on the eyes. Use 10-12 point font as a minimum with adequate spacing and bulleted lists whenever possible. At the top of each position, you may want to include a few sentences explaining the position, but key accomplishments should have spacing and bullets to make them stand out. If you do find you need extra space, I reduce page margins before ever reducing the font size.

Avoid the "Extras"
As a rule, it is best to avoid colorful or non-traditional font, head shots, or perfumed paper. For more creative roles, I think a stylized header can be OK, but use creativity with caution.

Customize for the Job
I like to keep a version of my resume with all of my experience and jobs with full details so that I can pick and choose what goes on my resume so it is tailored for each opportunity. It is important to highlight key accomplishments that are relevant to the opportunity you are pursuing.

Don't Forget Skills and Certifications
It isn't all about job experience and education! Don't forget to include any valuable skills, certifications or professional association memberships. My skills and certifications section of my resume, for example, includes proficiency in our organization's budgeting system, specific Excel formulas that I utilize in analyses, and my project management certification.

Page Numbers and Footers
Make sure if your resume does have a second page that you include your last name with the page number in the header or footer of the additional page. This is important to avoid the second page being lost or separated from the rest of your resume.

Spell Check, Spell Check, Spell Check
Don't let spelling or grammatical errors be the reason your resume is thrown in the trash. This is something you can control in this process. Utilize computer spell check, read through it yourself and have someone else read through it to check for errors.

Keep Track of your Accomplishments between Resume Updates
It can be overwhelming and challenging to think of your accomplishments when it comes time to apply for a new job. This process can be much easier if you keep an ongoing list of accomplishments and projects in an online document. Anytime I accomplish something (big or small) at work, I will document it in an ongoing list that I can reference at a later date.

Online Additions 
If you have work products that play a big role in your professional life, I would recommend creating an online portfolio. Here you can share examples of your writing, designs or any material that you think would strengthen your application.

Write a Cover Letter
I will probably write a separate post about cover letters, but I believe you should include a cover letter in every job application. Including a cover letter (especially if it is not required) shows that you are going above and beyond to put your best foot forward. It gives you an opportunity to tell your story with more detail than allowed on a resume.

What's your go-to resume or job application advice?
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