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How to Write a Strong Resume

Updated: Feb 7

Person sitting at a table looking at their resume

Resumes. The one thing that can separate you from another applicant.

On average, 10% of job applications result in interview invites. Out of those who land the interview, only about 20% are then offered the job. These stats show that the job application success rate goes between 2% and 3.4%. This means that people who are searching for employment need to send out their resume anywhere between 30 and 50 times to get hired. That's a lot! In order to impress employers, your resume needs to be strong.

Resumes are used by people to present their background, skills and accomplishments. It is a way for potential future employers to get to know someone’s past experiences, education, skills and other good attributes that will hopefully help the company or organization they are applying to. One’s resume can either make or break them.

70% of employers say that certain resume deal-breakers would make them reject that candidate, maybe even before they finish reading the whole thing entirely.

Some resume deal-breakers that you need to watch out for include:

1. Missing contact information

- Contact information is important so that the employer can contact you if and when you get the job. If one’s resume doesn’t have the proper information to get called, the employer will just simply move onto the next. Always make sure that you have all the basic information, name, date of birth, address, phone number and email address all put on the resume accurately and that it looks clean and well organized on the page.

2. An unprofessional email address

- This one is something that maybe people wouldn’t think about right away, but it is certainly one thing that employers look at. Some people make their email addresses when they are young and some names can be pretty common, so it might be hard to just get your name with the address, but it’s important to make it as plain and basic with your name as possible.

3. Lies about skills and education

- Telling a lie will always come back to haunt you. Some people might think that telling a lie on a resume is easier because the people reviewing it don’t really know anything about you, but especially in today’s world, it is very easy to find out things about people. If you lie about where you went to school, the employer can look it up and find out pretty quickly. If you lie about certain skills you have, they will know if you get the job and then can’t do those skills well. Every lie is a slippery slope, so it’s always better to tell the truth. Be yourself and always be honest, even if you didn’t have the best schooling or all the skills that you wish you did. Employers will respect the honesty and hard work you put in.

4. Lack of interest in position applying for

- If you are applying for a job in say, a teaching position, it would be wise to have some experience, whether through some classes taken or some substituting done. If you have virtually no experience or interest in the position you are applying for, the employer will skip right past you. Don’t just apply for a job because you’re applying for a ton and need work. Take your time and apply for the jobs that you are qualified for and actually want. Having a job that you have an interest and passion for, will make it easier to get the work done because you will actually enjoy it! Plus, the employer will like your drive for the position.

5. Not enough attention to detail

- Attention to detail in a resume is important because that resume is the first insight a future employer has of you. It’s what allows interviewers to see if you are right for the position that is available, so you need to make sure that you have everything on there that you need to. Make sure that everything is correct. That your past work experience is all there and in full detail. If anything needs to be explained, explain it and make sure everything else is also clear and makes sense. Attention to the small details might not pop out right away to an employer viewing it but overall, the employer will be impressed that you put so much thought and time into your resume.

6. Grammar or spelling mistakes

- Having grammar or spelling mistakes on anything is an unfortunate event but having those mistakes on a resume will cost one the job. Employers will look at those errors and think that you didn’t care enough to correct it or proofread your work. They will think that you just rushed through it to get it done and thought it would be fine, which it isn’t. Spell check on the computer may not always catch everything, so make sure to check it all yourself as well. Proofread the resume once done and have others proofread it as well. Double checking your resume before sending it out to employers could potentially be the difference between you getting a job or not.

7. Vague employment dates

- Again, this is something that maybe people wouldn’t think about, but employers see as a red flag. One could simply just not know the exact month they were hired versus when they started and just put the year on their resume thinking it’s fine. However, in the employer’s eyes, they may think that you are trying to hide something about that certain work experience. With a lot of employers, if they suspect that you are hiding a gap in employment, they will just assume that something bad happened while you worked there and view you as dishonest for attempting to deceive them. They will most likely just trash your resume right there and then instead of giving you the benefit of the doubt.

There are many things to be cognizant of when creating a resume, however, the most important thing to remember is that it needs to show your best self through the pages. Take your time when creating one and have people you trust view it as well. Everyone has a resume, so you need to make sure that yours stands out!


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