10 General Resume Tips for Grads, Executives, and Everyone Else

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1. 10 General Resume Tips for Grads, Executives, and Everyone Else
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Writing a strong resume requires time and effort, but it doesn’t have to be a source of anxiety and angst. All resumes, whether for new graduates or experienced executives, follow the same basic guidelines. By learning these guidelines and applying them to your document, you’ll be able to write a professional resume that enhances your job search. Take a look at our resume tips below, garnered from professionals across the field.


10 General Resume Tips for Grads, Executives, and Everyone Else

1. Brainstorm

Before you even start to write, take time to ponder your skill set. Go into great depth, including hobbies and interests. Did your semester abroad in China give you basic conversation skills? Do some of your hobbies enhance your application? Make a list of everything you can think of, then consider how these skills fit the job description.                                

Choose from your list the top eight or 10 skills that are most applicable to the position, whether or not they are skills you used on your last job. It’s the relevance that matters. Learn to consider everything that you have in your arsenal.

2. Format

One of the top resume tips is that your resume must be easily scanned and read, as hiring managers only spend an average of six seconds glancing through each resume. It also may need to pass a screening by an applicant tracking system. For both of these reasons, the format is important. Choose a simple template that is clean and organized. If hiring managers have to hunt for your information, they probably won’t bother.

3. Target

If you want a job, target that job. In other words, tailor your resume to the position for which you are applying. Many resume tips emphasize the importance of focused content. A strong way to accomplish this is to mention the position in your professional summary. For example, you can write, “I am a creative web developer ready to use my coding skills as a senior UX/UI web designer.” Not only does this make it abundantly clear what your objective is, but it also helps your resume pass the ATS.

4. Quantify

A list of resume tips would be remiss without mentioning the importance of numbers because numbers speak volumes to hiring managers. Did you increase sales? Great; by how much? Did you improve your students’ math scores? Fabulous; include the percentage of increase. Writing “reduced time off for work-related accidents by 23%” shows a concrete track record of success.

5. Prune

There’s no need to include everything you’ve ever done. That will likely make your resume longer than one page, and unless you have more than 15 years’ experience, one page is all you’re allowed. For the work experience section, choose the jobs that are relevant to the position you want. Think of it as your highlights reel: Only the best bits make the cut. Here are great resume tips on what to include in this section and how to organize it.

There’s no need to include everything you’ve ever done. That will likely make your resume longer than one page, and unless you have more than 15 years’ experience, one page is all you’re allowed.

6. Mix

Hard skills are important, but make sure there are some quality soft skills included in the mix. The hard skills should focus on the technical requirements for the job, such as coding, analysis, grading, and design. Soft skills are a bit trickier, as you need to avoid clichés. Too many resume tips tell you to mention “team player” or “good communicator,” which have become hackneyed and overused. You may be both of these things but find a different way to say it. Consider phrases like “strong collaborator” and “successful negotiator” instead.

7. Brag

This may seem like the most unusual of resume tips, but it’s fine to brag a little and strut your stuff. After all, you are here to advertise your services. If you worked with the company CEO or were responsible for important, large accounts, name names. Mention any performance awards, promotions, or regional or national recognitions for your work. This is not the time to be modest. There is one caveat, however: Do not exaggerate in the slightest, as facts of this sort are easily verified.

8. Prioritize

When creating your list of responsibilities and achievements in your work history section, put the most important accomplishments first. The purpose of resume tips is to help your resume get attention, and the first things hiring managers notice are your achievements. Whatever you accomplished for each job you held in the past, make it the first bullet point in the list. Follow this up with the more mundane, everyday responsibilities. Then if the hiring managers don’t make it down your full list, they’ll still see the most important things.

9. Read

Perhaps one of the more obscure resume tips, but crucial nonetheless, is to read your document out loud. This is one of the best ways to catch grammatical errors, clumsy phrases, and incomplete thoughts. Another great suggestion is to read it backward. Taking it out of order forces your brain to focus more on the technical aspects rather than the content. Rewrite anything that stands out as awkward or out of place. Of course, it goes without saying that all spelling and grammar errors reflect poorly upon you, so make sure you have none.

10. Save

You can put this under “Super Obvious Resume Tips,” yet it is such a common mistake it bears repeating. Save your resume with an appropriate file name. Generally, this means calling it, “Betty Jones Resume,” or any other variation using your full name. Remember that hiring managers may be searching through dozens of resumes for one position, and you want them to find yours easily.


Try Our Resume Builder

We have tools that can make your resume writing experience much easier. If you’ve been slaving away over your job application for a while and would like professional, personalized assistance, try our resume builder. It is easy to use and provides helpful suggestions and ideas that will help you create a document that represents you well.