I run a local job board in the Bay Area, and every day I get to see hundreds of resumes that come through our platform.
Believe me, I’ve seen all types of resumes: the good, the bad and the ugly.
If your resume falls into the “bad” or the “ugly” categories, there are a few simple things you can do that will make big improvements. To help you out, I’ve compiled a list of the biggest problems I’ve seen and distilled them into a handy checklist:
Keep your resume to one page
If you absolutely insist on making it longer, then make it a full two pages. The worst thing you can do is to make your resume one and a half pages.
Include updated contact info at the top
If the employer wants to bring you in for an interview, it would be a shame if they called the wrong phone number. On that note, make sure your voicemail message is professional.
Use a professional email address
It’s time to finally get rid of your firstname.lastname@example.org email address. Sign up for a free Gmail account and get the address email@example.com.
Don’t use personal pronouns
Start each bullet point with an action verb instead.
2-4 bullet points per job
If you include more than 4 bullet points, your resume will likely end up on two pages. That’s a no-no. Remember checklist item 1?
1-2 lines of text per bullet
This is a resume, not an essay! The employer should be able to quickly scan your bullet points.
You can choose to end each bullet point with a period or without a period. Select one and make sure you are consistent.
Consistent use of tenses
Both past tense and present tense are fine, just pick a tense and stick with it. Never mix and match tenses under the same job.
Use spell check
This should be obvious, but it’s often overlooked.
Spellcheck doesn’t catch grammatical errors and spacing issues, so you’ll need to go line by line.
Have someone else proofread it
You’ve read your resume too many times. An outside eye will catch things that you didn’t see.
PDF your resume
When you send a Word Doc, the employer will see the spelling and grammar mistakes highlighted, and the formatting often gets messed up. A PDF ensures that your resume looks just the way you designed it.