I almost hate to post resume writing advice. It’s boring, and it usually feels a little obvious, and I get emails that say, “That was really boring and obvious.” On the one hand, I see where those people are coming from…but on the other, I get questions about these things all the time, from people who don’t necessarily live and breathe job hunting like some of us. So make sure your resume has these three things:
- Contact information. Make absolutely sure that your email address is on the resume. Yes, you’re probably either sending it via email or listing your email as part of the online application process…but make sure it’s on the resume anyway. If you use a cell phone, you should put that number on as well. In fact, make sure all of the phone numbers you list are labeled (i.e. home, work, cell, etc.). That way people can call you at the right number at the right time of day. This is very basic, but a lot of people forget.
- Context. It may be obvious to you what Acme Corporation does, since you’ve worked there for years. It’s not obvious to everyone though. Unless your resume includes nothing but very big names that even cavemen would recognize, consider adding a line under the title but before the bullet points that says what each company does, how big they are, etc. This goes for titles too. If you have a title that is obscure (like “Specialist III”), explain in your first bullet what that means. The people who do the initial resume reviews in most companies are HR people, and they don’t necessarily know your line of work. You’ll need to spell it out for them.
- Numbers. If you’re a manager, always say how many people you manage and how big your budget is. If you’re a salesperson, tell me how much you’ve sold. This seems hard for some jobs, but almost every business manages your work somehow…and if yours doesn’t you can measure it yourself. If you’re a receptionist, track how many calls per day you take and how many visitors you greet. If you’re a cashier at Target, track how many customers you help in an hour. In fact, I went through the Culver’s drive-through the other day and noticed a sign on the inside that congratulated the team on breaking their record—50 customers went through that drive-through in one hour. That’s impressive (and that particular Culver’s has the most efficient drive-through I’ve ever seen, which is why I always go to that one). Those teenagers who work there should be putting that on their resume when they graduate and go on to bigger things.
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