Think about it. With your resumé you’re expected to summarize your work history and outline your accomplishments in bullet points – and make it all fit onto one page.
I don’t pretend to love resumés. I am much more of a fan of cover letters, and I advocate to employers looking to find the right candidate to forego the resumé completely and ask a series of thought-provoking questions instead.
But for whatever reason, the resumé endures.
So the job seeker is forced to adapt and comply.
My job, therefore, is to help you create a resumé in such a way that it adequately communicates your job history, skills, and accomplishments. And I want to help you do that as quickly and as easily as possible so that you can go focus on more important aspects of applying for a job (i.e. the cover letter).
You see, your resumé is not going to be what tells the employer how you’ll succeed at their company, and it doesn’t position you as the best candidate for the job. That is not the resumé’s function; that’s the cover letter’s function.
A Quick, Easy & Functional Resumé
In my book, Apply Yourself, I go into more detail on how to craft a solid resumé, but I’m going to share with you the key elements that you should consider when writing your next resumé.
Don’t worry about the design of your resumé. A resumé is about function, not form. Use one or two basic fonts, and if you want to highlight a certain achievement, make the font bold or italic.
Align your text to the left. Do not use center alignment on your resumé, and make sure that things like your previous employer’s names all align vertically and the font styles match (i.e. if you bold one employer’s name, bold all employer’s names).
Keep your resumé to one page. Even if you’re nobel prize winning rocket scientist who also discovered a cure for disease and invented an alternative form of energy.
Use a legible font size and font spacing. Your resumé, if read at all, is going to be skimmed. Make it easy on the eye.
Use bullet points to separate out job skills, achievements, and accomplishments. Include only 3-4 bullets per job experience.
and the most important tip…
The first 5 words of your bullet point are the most important. Use verbs rather than adjectives to describe your achievements and accomplishments.
Instead of stating this as an achievement bullet:
- Successful in meeting monthly sales goals.
- Met and exceeded monthly sales goals consistently.
“Successful” is an adjective whereas “met” and “exceeded” are both verbs. The second bullet has much more impact.
Now that you know the fundamentals of a functional resumé, I encourage you to take 20 minutes and update yours now.