When it comes to writing a resume, appearances are everything. You can have years of experience, in-demand skills, and be a perfect fit for the job, but if you can’t show the hiring manager that you’re the candidate her company needs, you won’t get that all-important first call. Here’s what you need to know about creating a CV that gets attention.
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1. Keep it relevant. As with all academic questions, the answer to “How long should my resume be?” is “It depends.” Your resume should accurately reflect your experience level and capture all pertinent information and accomplishments. Early-in-career professionals and recent grads would generally not require more than a page to sum up their accomplishments. With growing experience, the number of pages can vary. Unless you are a senior executive/career professional with more than 15-20 years of experience, or a researcher with extensive publications, a two-page resume is considered the maximum. However, remember to include only the most relevant information.
2. Focus on aesthetics too. Granted, your content and experience is what recruiters are looking for. But an irregularly formatted resume causes more harm than good. Use a reasonable margin width (between 0.5” and 1”) and be consistent in your presentation. For example, if your job title is in bold, make sure you follow the style through the resume for all your job titles. Make a printout of your resume to see the layout.
3. Make it easy on the eyes. Use a font that’s pleasing to the eye, easy to read, and available on most computers. Just keep it clean and simple and use the same font style throughout your resume. The font size should be consistent. With the exception of the resume title (which can be larger), the font size of the body text should ideally be between 10 and 12.
4. Be faithful to the flow of your resume. If you are using a reverse chronological or a functional presentation, stick to the format throughout. Don’t switch from one style to another. It becomes very confusing and difficult for the recruiters to gather the key information they are looking for in your resume.
5. Submit in the file format requested. Most employers specify the format that they want your resume to be in. So make sure you read the instructions before submitting. Where there are no specific instructions, use a file type that does not require the recruiter to download any special software.
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