I wanted to take this week to get back to basics and talk about resumes. At Chaloner, we have a database of nearly 100,000 resumes and our recruiters spend a lot of time looking at incoming resumes every day. While you know some of the bigger rules about resumes, here are tips about smaller issues of grammar and formatting that make decent resumes great.
Start each bullet point with the same form of speech
The culprit in messy resumes is often a lack of consistency. When writing your bullet points, use the same form of speech to start each one. For example, instead of…
Begin each bullet with the same form of speech so that it becomes…
A verb is an easy way to make your resume active and crisp.
Use parallel tenses
One common mistake made on resumes is not using verb tenses consistently. Make sure each bullet point has the same verb tense (past or present, usually.) Switching between it can be disorienting and can impact the readability. The exception to this is for your current role; even if your resume is in past tense, your current role can be present tense.
Go easy on the graphic design
The information in your resume is the most important part. Color blocked designs or flourishes are distracting and busy. Stick to clear lines and headings!
You might be able to pare down your contact information
Include your email address, email, and city. Your LinkedIn address can also be helpful, especially to provide supplemental information. If you’re a social media or digital communicator, perhaps consider including your Twitter handle. If you’re submitting your resume online, feel free to embed those links. Home address isn’t required. Make sure all your contact information is readable and clear. We want to be able to reach you!
Have a friend read it
We see it too often: an impressive candidate has one crucial misspelling. We know this is not an indication of carelessness; it’s difficult to have the fresh eyes to catch everything on your own resume. But you’d be surprised by how many errors go under spell check’s radar (sometimes your misspelling is a word in the dictionary, so it doesn’t catch it!) Ask a friend or colleague to proof your resume with fresh eyes.
These tips may be small, but they make a big difference. To submit your resume to Chaloner for consideration and entry into our database, visit our website.
Chaloner, founded in 1979 as Chaloner Associates, is a national executive search firm that focuses on recruiting mid- to senior-level communications, public relations, marketing and investor relations professionals.