Resume Words of Advice
- Organize your data. To avoid forgetting something, collect all the information you might want on a resume before you begin writing the resume.
- Be brief. Try to keep your resume to one page and never go to more than two. Put your name on the second page in case the pages get separated.
- Be positive. Use active verbs to describe previous jobs, experiences, and education. Focus on accomplishments. Identify specific achievements. Show confidence, but do not claim more than is true.
- Use keywords. Employers will sometimes scan resumes for keywords. Usually keywords come from the job description so use as many words from the job description in your resume as you can.
- Make it easy to read. Use variety and spacing to make your resume interesting and readable. Use capitalization, underlining, bold type, or italics for emphasis. Bullets or different size type can highlight information.
- Be accurate. Check for typos, misspellings, and grammar or punctuation errors. Be consistent in the formats you use for spacing and punctuation.
- Have another person proofread your resume.
- Don't make it hard for an employer to reach you. Include phone numbers and e-mail addresses. If you use voice mail, remember that potential employers are hearing the greeting. Funny greetings, long musical recordings, or your child's giggling may make a poor first impression on an employer.
- Whatever method you use, remember it is YOUR responsibility to check for and respond to messages.
Resume Writing Hints for Applicant Tracking Systems
An Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) is a system used by an employer to accept, track and rate job and internship applicants. If the employer is asking you to submit your resume into their website, chances are it is going into an ATS. There are over 200 different ATS vendors and they all work differently, but there is some general advice that will help your resume get noticed by these systems.
Things to do:
- Check the position description carefully to determine what the likely keywords will be. Then use those words appropriately as much as you can
- Use traditional section headings, e.g. Skills Summary, Education, and Experience. Unusual headings won’t be recognized
- Emphasize hard skills related to the job or the industry
- Use lots of action verbs
- Make sure to have dates associated with your jobs
- Sans-serif fonts are best
- Underlines, bold and italics are generally ok to use
Words of Caution:
- Some of these systems can only read Word so don’t use PDFs or Templates
- Be cautious about using functional resumes. These systems look for employment history with dates which some resume styles don’t include
- Avoid images, columns, tables, logos, text boxes, headers and footers. The system probably won’t read them
- Never use white font to “hide” keywords in the margins. At some point a person will look at your resume and this tactic will be viewed as dishonesty
- Likewise, be careful about “keyword stuffing”. Using keywords when it is not appropriate will be noticed (and not in a good way)
If the position states they want a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry then don’t put BS – Chem in your resume. Write it the same way the employer does.
Likewise, Analysis of Data may not be recognized as the same thing as Data Analysis.
Some ATS software will embed your LinkedIn™ Profile into your application. Employers are regularly checking your online presence so be sure that you are projecting a professional image.