I’m in the business of helping companies recruit and retain top talent. Often that comes with coaching candidates on how to interview, negotiate compensation packages and probably most importantly – put together a solid resume.
Here are my top 5 tips on getting your resume in tip top shape.
1. Protect Your Identity
So often I see candidates putting too much personal identification information on their resumes. You give your first and last name (full name for those overzealous candidates), your phone number, email address and full address along with every job you’ve worked at and a few references from your network. Don’t get your identity stolen. Protect yourself! Take off your full address – city, state and zip code are enough. Take off your middle name – first and last will do. And for goodness sake get a professional email…but that’s covered in a different tip.
"Don't get your identity stolen."
2. Education or Experience First?
This is hands-down the #1 resume question. If you have over five years of experience, that comes first. Less than five years? Education goes first. I’m not knocking education (heck I’ve got a master’s degree), but once you have tenure and experience that should be presented first because it’s real world experience. Degrees are great – hands on experience is invaluable. Lead with your strongest asset.
3. Data! Data! Data!
Numbers should be jumping off your resume! Quantify your experience and performance to show future employers what they can expect from you. You’re a dynamic leader? Quantify that bullet point: Created and implemented new training program which resulted in decreasing turnover by 11% within first quarter of leading new team of 15 employees. Anyone can be a top sales performer if a full picture isn’t painted – make it crystal clear (no pun intended): Maintained top sales performer on a team of 75 for six consecutive months by securing a quarterly average of $1.3 million in new and repeated business. Get the point? Data sells – not fluffy adjectives.
"Quantify that bullet point."
4. Get a Professional Email
I know this shows up on every recruiter’s resume tips list, but candidates seem to be missing it. Workithoney2000@aol.com is out! Get a professional email address please. I recommend getting an email address that’s just for your job hunt. It’s easier to track correspondence and it won’t be attached to any of your private personal accounts such as your banking log-ins, Netflix, grocery app, etc. It decreases the chance of someone being able to hack your accounts. Also, if you’re going to use a number in the email, avoid your birth or graduation year. Yes, we have the Age Discrimination Act in place to protect employees aged 40 and above, but don’t get in your own way. Unconscious bias is a real thing – do yourself a favor and avoid putting a year (or what appears to be a year) in your professional email address.
"Unconscious bias is a real thing."
5. Drop the Overview
If I say I’m an excellent recruiter, it sounds like I’m cocky. If someone else says it then it becomes a reference. Everyone is a “fast learner,” “dynamic leader,” “team player.” We don’t need a preview of what we’re going to learn a few lines down under your experience - and leave the horn tooting to a reference that will legitimize it. You’re taking up resume real estate – save the space and drop the professional overview and objective.