We all know how important first impressions are, but can we control them without the uncertainty of human interaction? What if we could present ourselves in a nice, shiny, polished package? Who wouldn’t want that? Why do we not take advantage of the fact that this is possible? A digital resume is our first impression, so it must be high-quality to impress prospective employers.
Short answer? Employers like brevity in conjunction with effort.
Have you heard of sweet and simple? That’s what recruiters want. You might think a long, sweeping narrative outlining your past achievements is ideal, but it’s most definitely not. Save that for sonnets. You should go for a clean and succinct description of your duties that will paint a clear picture of your time with your current employer. Keeping your resume straightforward and concise is the best way to show that you know your stuff while still being able to work with restraints. Remember, less is more (but not too much less!).
The chief rule is to stick with a chronological resume when considering design. Keeping things in chronological order helps in two ways: first, it keeps you organized when creating the resume (so you don’t forget anything), and second, it helps the employer digest the information you are trying to convey. It doesn't matter too much about organizing this information, whether it’s in an ascending or descending order. Everyone has a preference, so do what feels right to you, but make sure it’s as straightforward as possible.
You should only submit your professional resume in PDF format. Why the PDF? Firstly, you can open it on nearly any device—Apple, Microsoft, you name it. PDFs make it much easier for employers to get right to the point and see if your experience aligns with the position they are filling, thereby saving both their time and yours. Secondly, opening a non-PDF file can be frustrating, complicated, and sometimes corrupt the file, so pieces of information get lost. Do yourself a favor and avoid this—it’s simple! If you’re second-guessing and thinking about submitting a Docx, Google Doc, or any other non-PDF format, go with the safe route and export it to a PDF. While this doesn’t seem like it should matter, it does.
First impressions are essential and complicated to change once formed. That’s why it’s so important to create a professional and polished resume. It’s the most important tool to set you apart from the crowd and show you’re serious about interviewing. If you’re emailing your resume to a recruiter, consider using a professional email signature so that they can put a face to your name. One last piece of advice: check (and double-check) your grammar and spelling!
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