Job hunting is a rite of passage that we all go through once we’re at the legal age to work. Getting hired is another thing. This is where we need the magic of a resume to step in.
A resume is essentially a document that summarizes an individual’s background, skills and accomplishments that is often used by employers to determine whether the job applicant has the requirements they are looking for in order to hire and fill the position.
Sounds easy enough, right? Send your resume out and hope for the best? If this is what you believe then here is a reality check. Employers receive hundreds of resumes each day and only a handful of these prospects are actually hired. It all comes down to how effective your resume is and how much it stands out from the rest.
How do you make your resume stand out?
- Write your resume as a direct response to the job description – provide concise and relevant information that fits the job description advertised. For example, if the job description asks for an experienced graphic artist and this is your field of expertise then state your graphic design qualification and years active.
- List your accomplishments – this is how an employer will determine if you are actually as good as you say you are. Listing your accomplishments and successfully completed projects explains your experience. The more numbers you have the more trustworthy your skills will appear to the employer. For example, as a graphic artist list the number of projects you have done in the past and where. So, if you did 100 projects in 6 months then this means your work has been in high demand.
- Keep focus on the top of the page – because resumes are usually quickly skimmed over you need to ensure your most important details are to the top of the page and attention grabbing. Proper formatting and easy to read fonts can aid in this. Write your most relevant and viable information in the first half and leave the rest of the document for less important features. This means your name, contact and email as well as your qualifications and accomplishments should be the first chunks of information a potential boss may see.
- Keep it down to one page – Nobody has time to read 3 pages of a resume when they have 300 resumes to review in a day. Keeping your resume down to one page can be a challenge if you are an experienced job seeker with many accomplishments under your belt and in these cases two pages are acceptable.
Are Double-Sided Resumes Effective?
Taking this point further now we ask ourselves, if my resume is two pages long can I simply print it on one page but both sides? Here are some reasons why this may or may not be acceptable:
- First of all, it’s an industry standard to present your resume in a professional manner. Even though there are many templates and eye-catching designs out there, employers actually prefer simple and straightforward presentations that are easy to read in a hurry.
- Therefore, if you have a two-page resume chances are that the employer will rather flip the page on to the next to browse your application as it would be faster and most resume reading is done in stacks. So, the action of flipping pages is how most employers view applications. If you send in a double-sided resume it’s very likely that only the first side will be seen.
- Another point to note is when resumes are sent in, they are often scanned or copied to send to different departments for review or filing. Due to the volume of resumes that a firm may have to sort through, again there is high chance of only one side of your resume being scanned or copied. This is because copying something that is double sided means changing settings on the xerox machine which takes time. These tasks would also be done in bulk and sent in stacks through the machine. It’s also possible that they will not even notice that there is anything printed on the back side in the rush.
- A double-sided resume may work if you are applying to a small business with fewer applications to evaluate such as a retail store in your local mall or a ‘mom and pop’ run kitchen. It saves on paper and in these smaller businesses there tends to be more ‘one on one’ or personal interactions.
- As mentioned before, keeping your most vital information on the first page is going to matter more than your method of printing or how many pages your resume consists of. If you go with a double-sided resume then keep this in mind. If the back side is never read what is important is that the employer sees all that they require on the front page.
As you consider the points discussed here is a summary of guidelines to assist you in your resume production:
- Despite the paper saving benefits of printing double sided it’s safer to go with the standard of printing on two separate pages
- Most resumes are now submitted online, therefore, the way it’s printed by the employer is up to them as they review each one
- Printing a hard copy of your resume is ideal for in person interviews even if they already have it on file
- Don’t use staples on your resumes because it’s far easier for administration to remove paperclips than staples before scanning or copying
- Simple and straightforward formatting is going to matter more than making your resume look like an art assignment
- When applying to various jobs there is no ‘one size fits all’ resume, always write your resume specifically geared towards the advertised job specifications
- Present your best qualifications and accomplishments on the first page
Resume writing is something that takes a lot of thought and planning, the most important aspect you should consider is to always present relevant information!