#ResuMAY Review: What We Saw on Your Resumes


A resume is a living document. It’s a lightweight, papery extension of yourself. It is normally the first view into your professional soul that a company will see. Fairly or unfairly, first impressions do make an impact on how you will be evaluated. That’s why it is important that your resume is specific, polished, and readable.

Blue Chip Talent recognizes the importance of resume styling so we dedicated the entire month of May to resume awareness. Along with sharing industry articles on resume tips and best practices, we offered free resume reviews to our social media followers in exchange for additional follows on our other social media profiles.

This campaign resulted in over 30 resumes being reviewed from a variety of backgrounds. We saw resumes fly in from followers working in IT and engineering but also in retail management, restaurant management, television writing and production, teaching, and human resource administration. After reviewing these resumes, we noticed a handful of common elements, which we listed below, that we would recommend changing or avoiding.

Layout

  • Move the Education section to the bottom of the resume

It is said that most hiring managers view only the top 2/3rds of a resume and for an average 6 seconds. The top of your resume is prime real estate that deserves to hold the nugget of your resume in it: your career summary, your skills, and your professional experience. While having a detailed Education section certainly helps, it would be best served at the bottom so that your experience rises higher. However, if you are in the Engineering industry, this would be the one exception where the Education section can remain near the top.

Body

  • Use a bulleted list to describe your roles and duties for each position

We recommend listing your tasks in bullets to make your resume easier to read. Paragraphs make things look jumbled and cause hiring managers to strain reading about your experience. The more direct and clean your resume is, the more of the reader’s attention you can capture.

  • Be sure to start each bullet with a verb and in the past tense

Action, action, action. Be firm and confident in your past by using authoritative action verbs to start describing what you did. Examples of strong verbs to use: Managed, Administered, Directed, Performed, Acted, Led, Wrote, Advised, Developed, Maintained, and more. Avoid using different forms of “assisted with” as it assumes you were only on the fringe when you legitimately did the work!

  • Avoid having punctuation at the end of a bullet

Bulleted statements are meant to be short fragments, not necessarily full sentences adhering to all the rules of grammar. Your bullets should be left open at the end, helping to make the resume look cleaner as well.

  • Avoid having multiple sentences within a bullet

  • Break it up with a sub-bullet

It’s awkward to leave a period in the middle of a bullet so there two remedies for it: use a sub-bullet to push the second point under the first point or start a new bullet entirely.

  • Avoid using slashes “/” and ampersands “&” by replacing them with “and”

In the same vein as the previous points, avoid having a clunky looking / or & in the middle of a bullet. The only time these items are okay to use is when they’re part of a proper name or a specific process.

Not Okay: Managed a team of five analysts & delegated tasks

Okay: Provided reports to the Research & Development department

Make your resume the best it can be by consistently updating it every few months, whether you’re actively looking for new work or not. Keep up to date with the latest trends (for example, providing the URL to your LinkedIn profile in your contact information) and see what hiring managers are looking for.

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