5 Essential Resume Tips That Will Land You The Interview

By Mike Simpson

How To Make A Resume 101

If you really want to knock out a masterpiece of a resume then check out our comprehensive 101 article: How To Make A Resume 101

Here we go again.  Another job application, and another resume submission.

Have you ever just sat there, looked at your resume and thought, “I wouldn’t hire me after reading this.  This thing is putting me to sleep…”

Don’t worry!  We’ve all been there.

Here’s the thing.  It’s tough to make resumes exciting!  And in reality, they’re not meant to read like your old MySpace page, with bright colors, music and big, inviting photos.

They’re simply supposed to give the hiring manager a clear idea of the type of person you are – rather – the type of employee that you’ve been.  More importantly, it’s your chance to set the tables for what can be expected of you!

After all, this is the company’s first look into your work life – the journey you’ve been on to this point.

So give them what they want, but ensure to maintain a little bit of your own “flair”

Here’s 5 tips that you can use to make sure that your resume doesn’t get tossed in the “NO” pile with the rest of the pretenders.

5 Great Resume Tips

Tip #1: Keep Your Design Simple

As I mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t use your resume as an opportunity to showcase your creativity…save that for the job interview!  Avoid the urge to use any overly-sophisticated formatting or fonts, and PLEASE…no winkie faces, hearts, or any other symbols that have surely become part of your smart-phone vernacular.

In her article “How to Choose The Best Resume Font”, Jessica Holbrook Hernandez over at Careerealism says, “Serif and Sans Serif fonts are most recommended.”  I say follow her recommendation and keep it simple.

Tip #2: Include Important Keywords

The job interview process just isn’t what it was like for our parents.  More than ever, hiring managers are using advanced techniques to weed through stacks and stacks of applications and find the handful of candidates that they want to bring in for interviews.

How do they do this?

By using a digital database technology.  These screening systems can scan through resumes and search for certain keywords that the company has determined to be essential to the position they’re hiring for.

Okay so what does this mean to us simpletons?  It means that you better make darn sure that your resume has the keywords you need, or else your resume could find its way into the recycle bin faster than you can say “job interview.”

MIKE’S TIP: Take some time and really dig into the job description provided in the job posting.  They are a great source for relevant keywords.  Words that can be categorized as management or problem solving skills are usually a good place to start!

Tip #3: Use Power Words

Even though we live in a world where we view everything through an LED screen and it seems like literature was our Grandparents’ expertise, the power of words are still relevant in today’s world.  And in our case, this is especially relevant on our resumes.

It’s simply not good enough to state that you “worked at X Company” or that you “worked on Y project”.  Wherever possible, try to use “Power Words”.  This might include words like “implemented”, “initiated” or “executed.”

Power Words will help you show the employer that you are intelligent and capable, and when said with confidence help show a level of decisiveness and conviction.  All good things when you are trying to duke it out with a hundred other applicants!

Here’s a little infographic that has some more examples

Tip #4: Tailor Your Resume to the Job You’re Applying For

Ahhhh, tailoring.  It just might be the MOST important concept to understand when it comes to your entire job search.  And I’m not talking about tailoring your favorite new slacks (although make sure you do that if you’re planning on wearing them in your job interview!).

Let’s be honest.  Every job you apply for is going to have a unique set of requirements.  So obviously, your resume should reflect that.  Simply changing the company name ten times for ten different submissions is not considered a best practice when it comes to successful applications.

Before you click send on that email, read over a few times and make sure that your resume feels brand new.  If you’re applying to Starbucks, your resume should have a Starbucks feel, not a Home Depot feel.

Ensure that your resume objective, keywords, skills and experience are all tailored to the characteristics that Starbucks values.  “Being handy with a jigsaw” should probably sit at the top of your skills list if you plan on spending the next few months making Frappuccinos.

Tip #5: Consider Getting Professional Help

Here’s the deal.  I know it can be tough.

Unlike the dedicated workers over here at Interview Guys Headquarters, not everyone wakes up at 7:00am on a Saturday morning absolutely thrilled to start tackling a makeover of their resume!

Not only that, some people just want to try and get a leg up on their competition.  And I can’t blame anyone for that.  We live in one of the most competitive times our species has ever witnessed!

So don’t feel like you can’t ask an expert for help when you’ve tried everything else.  After all, if your car isn’t running quite right, you probably won’t do a swan dive under the hood to find out what the problem is, right?  You call your mechanic.

There are a lot of professionals out there that can help you along the way…it’s just a matter of sifting through all of the mess to find the most reputable and affordable ones.  Do your due diligence and do some comparison shopping, and pay close attention to customer testimonials.

About The Author

Mike Simpson

Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com. His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.