Resume Writing Tips: Leverage Your Experience

Resume writing is an art form. There needs to be style, flow, and aesthetic appeal to make it stand out from every other competing piece of paper in that potential hire stack. Equally as important as standing out from the crowd is standing out in the right way. Be professional. Never try to be cute or sarcastic. There’s no way to predict how the reader will interpret it. There is a fine line between highlighting your unique personality in a resume and simply coming off as over-the-top and a potential HR red flag. 

When it comes to resume building, sometimes it’s best to start at square one. Gather all of your previous experience, dates, job summaries, awards, degrees, community and volunteer activities, and anything else that highlights self-improvement, growth, and community involvement. Remember that employers aren’t simply looking for the fanciest degree, they’re also looking for someone they actually want to be around on a day-to-day basis. Someone that cares about their community will likely also care about their employer, job performance, and co-workers.

Job experience is obviously a huge factor in creating a great resume, but that doesn’t mean that every job you’ve ever held needs to be included. Potential employers don’t need to know that you started babysitting your neighbor’s kids at age 13. Unless of course, you’re applying to a day-care, as a nanny, or in another field where experience like that would be directly applicable. 

Employers like to see applicants take the initiative to tailor their resume to the job they actually want and are applying for. If you’re applying to be a copywriter, be sure to put every piece of writing experience on your resume. Include internships, freelance work, published works, and even hobby writing. All of these elements come together to give your potential employer a bird’s eye view of what a well-rounded and accomplished copywriter you are, as opposed to simply sifting through pages and pages of work experience that may or may not apply to the position you’re applying for. Keep it relevant, but also brief. Once you have their attention, you can always expound on your applicable experience during the interview process.

Great resumes are a highlight reel of your career and in particular your most recent positions. They should include the positions you’ve held that tie into what you’re applying for, in addition to the things that you’re passionate about. Potential employers want a little glimpse of who you are and what it would be like to work with you. They don’t want to have endless job interviews any more than you want to go to them. Below is a checklist of items that you should be sure to include in your next (BEST) resume.

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Tangible Tips Checklist:

  • Make sure all of your contact information is included and up-to-date (name, address, email, phone number).
  • Be sure to use fonts that are easy to read. Limit your font types and sizes.
  • You can include a few nice design elements, but try to limit any graphics and don’t use more than 2-3 colors. Any more than that could visually overwhelm the reader and distract from your qualifications.
  • All work history over the last 7 years needs to be included in your resume. If a particular job over that period is not applicable to the position that you are applying for then simply list your title held, company and dates of employment.  It is better to show continuity in employment than it is to omit irrelevant experience. 
  • Do not include a photo of yourself
  • Format your resume in an aesthetically pleasing, clean, and easy to read way.
  • Be sure to double-check all spelling, grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation.
  • Keep your resume factual and accurate.
  • Be sure to include any community service/volunteering, degrees, certifications, and accolades.
  • Instead of including a list of references on the resume or reference letters as part of the resume, include a closing statement at the end of the resume that states “References Available Upon Request”
  • Try to keep your resume to 1 page; 2 at the very most. 
  • Employers will only scan it for an average of 6 seconds before deciding if they want to take an additional look or put it in the discard pile. Be sure to arrange the bullets under each position in order of most appealing to the job you are applying for.  The key is to put yourself into the hiring manager’s shoes and appeal (and appeal quickly) to what he or she wants to see.
  • Be reliable! If they call or email you about an interview, respond as soon as you possibly can. The interview process starts the second you apply! Be sure to regularly check your voicemails when you are in the process of applying for jobs. 
  • As part of your job search, we encourage you to reach out to our recruiting professionals at Fuse3 Solutions.  Our recruiters are experienced at reviewing and making recommendations to resumes, and our services are free to the candidates we work with.
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