According to TheLadders, a job search website, a recruiter will spend 6.25 seconds looking at a resume.
While you may be the most qualified person for a job, if your resume is not polished then you may be overlooked — and in a very short amount of time. Your resume is your own personal marketing document and it is crucial that it makes a good first impression for you.
Whether you have a functional or chronological resume, there are some key rules you should follow when applying to a job in the United States.
Make your resume easy to read
Your resume should be one to two pages in length, with adequate white space and a readable font size. Write in bullet points, not full sentences. Remember, you need to make it as easy as possible for a hiring manager to skim your resume quickly in order to understand your qualifications.
Make sure your accomplishments and skills are clear
Your bullet points should be clear and concise when describing your activities and accomplishments at previous jobs. Additionally, it always helps to quantify your achievements and progress. Using details and numbers provides the hiring manager with a significantly better sense of what you have accomplished.
Focus your bullet points around topics such as how your efforts increased company revenue, how you reduced company costs, how you made processes more efficient and reduced time wasted, how you led projects or created new products, or how you played key supporting roles.
Don’t minimize the education section
Potential employers want to know about your college education as much as they want to know about your professional background. If you received a prestigious award or academic scholarship, be sure to include it on your resume. Additionally, if you held leadership roles in student organizations or were a member of a fraternity or sorority, you should consider adding this information to your resume as well. Including information about your relevant extracurricular activities demonstrates that you are ambitious and well-rounded.
Only include relevant information
In the U.S., certain personal information is omitted from a resume. That information can distract hiring managers and can also take away valuable page space that could be used for something more relevant.
It can be difficult to fit in all of your accomplishments and activities in a small amount of space. You always have the option of including a link to your LinkedIn page and/or your personal website. That way, hiring managers know how they can dig a little deeper if they’re interested in you. Remember, during your interview you can describe yourself in much more detail!
Ask for help
Your university career center is a resource for you when you need a second pair of eyes to review your resume. Even if you have already graduated, you can typically use your alma mater’s services.
We know that the sooner you land your perfect job, the sooner you can move forward with your student loan repayment, your career, and your life. That’s why we’re here to help, too. All MPOWER borrowers have access to our free resume review service! Just send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.