Did you know less than 3% of resumes sent resulted in a job interview? That’s why crafting a compelling resume is vital to convince the employer you’re a good candidate. 

Below, we’ll cover 25 resume tips for a remarkable job application that gets you an interview for your ideal role.

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Resume Formatting Tips

1. Consider your experience level

Choosing the correct resume format is crucial to ensure your resume is optimized to showcase your strengths. Consider your career goals and years of experience when deciding on one of three main resume formats: 

  1. Chronological resume: Professionals with over five years of experience will benefit from this format as it places their work experience at the top of their resume to highlight their career progression. 
  2. Functional resume: This layout emphasizes a candidate’s top skills, ideal for job seekers with less than two years of experience.
  3. Hybrid/combination resume: With a balanced view of the skills and work experience sections, candidates with more than two but less than five years of experience can display all their qualifications.

2. Use ATS-friendly design elements

Most employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to identify qualified candidates for a job opening. This computer software program scans thousands of resumes for key skills and job titles but can only read certain formatting elements. To ensure your resume passes the ATS portion of the hiring process, stick to these design elements: 

  1. Bullets
  2. Color for highlighting sections and text
  3. Bold and italic text
  4. Different text alignments
  5. Underlining 
  6. Columns
  7. Readable font

3. Make your resume skimmable

It’s widely known that recruiters spend at least seven seconds reviewing a resume. Making your resume easy to skim will help them quickly gather as much information as possible. Here are a few tips to maximize readability: 

  1. Aside from headers and section titles, keep everything in the same size font.
  2. Write up to two lines for each bullet point.
  3. Use digits to talk about numbers.
  4. Leave about half an inch of white space in the document margins and between sections.
  5. Maintain consistent formatting.

4. Avoid design elements incompatible with ATS

We mentioned ATS-friendly design elements above. These are design elements that you should avoid when uploading your resume to a job application portal: 

  1. Text boxes
  2. Images
  3. Logos
  4. Tables
  5. Graphics

5. Keep your resume simple and professional

A basic resume template saves a hiring manager’s time and maximizes readability for ATS. While there are a few tricks to show your personality (more on that below), your resume must efficiently show all the necessary information. Use readable fonts like Helvetica, Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri and Georgia, and leave sufficient white space on the page. 

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Resume Writing Tips

1. Review resume examples for your industry

Most industries have a specific terminology or resume layout they gravitate toward. Reviewing resume examples for your industry will help you grasp what components are necessary to make your resume meet industry standards and stand out. Our resume examples library has samples for every industry! 

2. Use a professional template

If you want to go even further, using a professional template will ensure your resume follows the industry’s best design practices and impresses recruiters. Our library of resume templates has tons of templates for most job roles!

3. Only include relevant work experience

It’s a resume best practice only to include the last 10 years of your career in your work experience section. If you worked for less time but have changed roles frequently, only include job positions relevant to the one you’re currently applying for. The goal is to maximize time and space to highlight what makes you a qualified candidate for the role. 

4. List your top skills

As a rule, always include a mix of six to eight hard, soft and technical skills that show you’re the right fit for the role. Carefully read the job description to identify critical skills the employer is looking for and ensure you’re including them in your skills section

5. Keep the most relevant information at the top

To take advantage of those seven seconds the recruiter spends on your resume, always place the most crucial information at the top. If your skills are the most relevant section of your resume, go for a functional format. Alternatively, if you have lots of work experience, use a chronological format to get your work history near the top of the page. 

6. Tailor the resume to the job post

Tailoring your resume to the job post is ideal for passing ATS and impressing recruiters at first glance. Look for keywords in the job description that signal the skills, qualifications and experiences the employer seeks. Include those keywords throughout all your resume sections. 

For example, a job description for a content creator may include keywords like “Canva,” “Illustrator” and “Facebook Insights.” These are essential technical skills to have in your skills section that show the hiring manager you’re the right fit. 

7. Decide between an objective statement or resume summary

Including an objective statement or resume summary at the top of your resume is a great way to outline your career highlights, top skills and future goals. However, there are a few key differences to note when deciding which one is right for you:

  1. Objective statement: A one to three-sentence statement where you can discuss a career change or significant career gap, your future goals, and top skills.
  2. Resume summary: Ideal for more experienced candidates, this statement allows you to showcase your expertise, achievements and qualifications in one to five sentences.

8. Add relevant links

Sometimes, a resume doesn’t cover your whole professional story; this is where hyperlinks come into play. Include links to your online portfolio or professional social media profile to paint the entire picture, but don’t hyperlink over keywords that can throw off scanning systems. 

9. Highlight your achievements with numbers

Using specific quantifiable examples to showcase your achievements will impress employers and show you’re a results-driven candidate. Here’s how it would look in your work experience section: 

Sales Manager
Bloom Inc — San Francisco, CA

May 2018 – Present

Achievements: 

  1. Achieved 30% YoY sales revenue growth through targeted sales campaigns, resulting in a $2M to $2.6M increase in revenue within a year.
  2. Implemented a CRM system and advanced sales training, resulting in a 20% shorter sales cycle, improving deal closure efficiency and resource allocation.

10. Use active language

Strategic action verbs and power words help increase readability by offering concise, goal-oriented, confident statements. Notice the difference with this example: 

Original statement: “During my time at Bloom Inc. I implemented a content calendar with strategic posting schedules and optimized content formats based on audience preferences, resulting in a 50% increase in overall social media engagement metrics (likes, comments, shares) within six months.”

Revised statement: “Optimized content formats and implemented strategic posting schedules based on audience preferences, resulting in a 50% boost in overall social media engagement within six months.”

11. Include relevant certifications and online courses

For jobs requiring a license to perform the role — e.g., teaching, nursing — include the license and the date on the bottom half of your resume. If you have certifications proving you’re a qualified candidate, don’t hesitate to add those.

12. Keep it in reverse chronological order

Generally, the work experience and educational background sections follow a reverse chronological order to show your most recent experiences and qualifications. 

13. Be brief

Employers read dozens if not hundreds of resumes daily; save them time and make a good impression by keeping your resume to one page and your statements brief. 

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Good Resume Tips

1. Show your personality

Showing relevant personality through your resume design or an “Interests” section can be a unique way to grab the recruiter’s attention. If you include an “Interests” section, ensure they’re relevant to the job. For example, if you’re applying for a role in a wellness company, an interest in mindfulness and yoga is something to include. 

2. Ditch “References available upon request”

If the employer is interested in you, they’ll eventually ask for your resume references. The “references available upon request” statement is outdated and unnecessary. 

3. Explain career gaps

Career gaps can happen for various reasons, and you don’t need to go into details. A quick explanation lets the recruiter know you’re honest and ready to work. Check out this objective statement as an example: 

“During the last three years, I pursued a Master’s in Hospital Administration to enhance my knowledge and skills, preparing me for greater responsibilities and contributions within the health industry. This period of academic growth has equipped me with valuable insights and expertise that I am eager to apply professionally, driving success and innovation in my future endeavors.”

4. Address a career change

If you’re changing careers, an employer may need help understanding why you’re applying for a job without experience. Use your objective statement to quickly address the reasons behind your career change and highlight at least two transferable skills that apply to the role. Here’s how it should look: 

“As an experienced executive assistant eager to delve into a social media manager role, my adeptness in juggling multiple tasks and meeting tight deadlines, coupled with my meticulous eye for detail, drives me to excel in executing captivating social media strategies that resonate with target audiences and drive engagement. With a seamless blend of organizational prowess and a keen focus on quality, I am committed to delivering impactful results and contributing to the dynamic landscape of digital marketing.”

5. Make multiple versions of your resume

As we mentioned before, tailoring your resume to the job is essential to bypassing ATS and convincing recruiters you’re a qualified candidate. We suggest creating a “master” resume with all your skills and work experiences and making multiple edited copies tailored to the jobs you’re applying for.

6. Always proofread

As with any important document, proofread your resume multiple times before sending or uploading it. A fresh set of eyes from a friend or relative can also help you identify areas of improvement you may not be able to see. 

7. Save it as a PDF

When your resume is on the internet, anyone can gain access to it and edit it. Saving your resume as a PDF ensures your design and layout stay just as you intended to and protects it from being reworked by someone else. 

Key Takeaways

We covered 25 resume-building tips to ensure yours is exceptional and lands you an interview. Let’s review six key points: 

  • Remember applicant tracking systems when choosing design elements and keywords to include in your resume. 

  • Selecting the correct resume format is critical to optimizing your resume to highlight your strengths. 

  • Your skills and work experience section should only include information relevant to the role you’re applying for. 

  • Active language and numbers make your resume skimmable and results-driven. 

  • Addressing career gaps or changes ensures the employer understands your intention with your job application.

  • A brief and well-tailored resume is the best route for impressing employers.