10 Tips for Effective Resume Writing - What Job Recruiters Want

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According to Tom Jackson, author of Guerrilla Tactics in the New Job Market, one minute is the average amount of time that employment interviewers will spend to review a resume. During that brief time, a decision is made whether or not you will be considered for the next step which is usually an interview. Hence, writing an effective resume requires some creativity and the ability to capture the reader’s interest through clear, crisp language and logical format. The following ten tips for effective resume writing will nudge you in the right direction as you prepare your resume for the job market.

1. Keep It Short and Sweet

Confine your resume to one page, if possible. Only a few college students have had enough experience to justify having more than one page. However, if you have had many job experiences don’t hesitate to write them down, just don’t go beyond two pages. Balance the material on the page so that the overall effect is pleasing to the eye. Leave sufficient margins so that the page doesn’t look crowded.

2. Keep It Organized and Neat

Arrange your headings and text to give the best total appearance and readability. Organize your subheadings in a logical and precise order so that your potential recruiter will find it easy to find facts and categories without having to search for the information.

3. Know What to Overlook

As you edit your work keep in my mind the intended purpose of your resume. Stress accomplishments that you are proud of and eliminate the unimportant details. There are some recruiters who do not like to see objectives at the top of your resume, be careful with the formulating of these objectives.

It was William James, who said, the art of being wise is knowing what to overlook, take his advice. Write and rewrite your resume until you have arrived at factual and positive statements of your experience that promise potential and positive growth.

4. Play it by the Book

Ensure that your text is readable and understandable. Use simple words that convey exactly what you mean. Use punctuation marks intelligently. Consult a dictionary or use a spell checker for correct spelling. First impressions last and you want to convey the impression that you are college educated.

5. Don’t Be a Cliché

Avoid the use of clichés, slang and professional jargon. Do not abbreviate. Potential employers may not want to bother deciphering your abbreviations.

6. Wrong Information Can Cause Delay

Double check your facts and your dates. Many a job seeker in an attempt to embellish their experience will put an extra year or two to “pad up” the resume in an attempt to appear more employable. Avoid doing this, it is dishonest and many a recruiter can spot a falsehood from a mile away.

7. Try the Chronological Format

For job seekers with limited experience the chronological format may be the best choice. This logical format allows you to list your educational and work history in a logical sequence enabling the recruiter to glance over the resume rapidly.

8. Do Not Allow a Recruiter to Shout, What!

Under reasons for leaving the last job, one bright young job seeker placed on an online resume: responsibility makes me nervous. After the recruiter had a good laugh, they discarded the resume. Never let this happen to you. Be intelligent with your responses, think like a recruiter or ask an impartial person to vet your resume before you send off the final copy.

9. Things Could Be Phrased Better

Always bare in mind the language used and your turn of phrase. Write simply and clearly.

10. Don’t Forget Your Cover Letter

When contacting an employer through the mail, always enclose a resume with a typed letter of introduction or what is commonly called a cover letter or with a letter of inquiry.


So, to recap our 10 tips for effective resume writing:

Keep it short and sweet,

Keep it organized and neat,

Know what to overlook,

Play it by the book,

Don’t be a cliché

Wrong information can cause delay,

Try the chronological format,

Do not allow a recruiter to shout, what!

Things could be phrased better

Don’t forget your cover letter.