For those of us stuck in the formal, corporate world (for now), résumés (CVs) are a fact of life that we usually try to avoid and just deal with when it’s required of us. However, heeding some good advice can really change your perspective and make your résumé something you’re actually proud of.
And remember, résumés aren’t just for job-seekers: keeping mine up-to-date and editing it on a regular basis has helped me keep my personal and professional development goals on track.
A great starting point when looking to create/renew your résumé is LifeClever’s Give Your Résumé a Facelift; one of the best résumé design resources I’ve come across, giving simple but effective results.
Following on from that, if you’re looking for something a bit more special you could do worse than checking out these 36 Beautiful Résumé Ideas That Work. However, making your résumé stand-out as much as some of these do may not be advisable in some sectors, and I wouldn’t imagine that all 36 work. Instead, Michael Gowin shows a few of the best (see image, right).
Of course, design will always be secondary to content; write, re-write, and then triple-check your résumé. Here are some great articles giving some worthwhile advice (with some overlap, ordered by importance):
- 21 Ways to Improve Your Online Résumé – 11) Be sure any technical terms are understandable to non-technical personnel.
- The Five Most Common (And Most Avoidable) Résumé Errors – A great way to test the quality of a resume is to read just the first word in each sentence, and see what image those words build of you as an employee.
- Ten Easy Ways to Improve Your Résumé – Eliminate clutter from your resume.
- 25 Words That Can Hurt Your Résumé – Be extra-careful before putting these nice-sounding but empty words in your résumé.
- 10 Ways to Tweak Your Tech Résumé – Assume that any future employer will do a quick Web search on you.
- How to Write a Masterpiece of a Résumé – To write an effective resume, you have to learn how to write powerful but subtle advertising copy.
My tip? Stick to a constant grammatical voice. It’s my grammar Nazi showing, but there’s nothing worse than reading a sales document (what your résumé/CV really is) that intersperses the passive and active voice; choose one and stick to it, damn it! Personally I would choose the active, remove the word ‘I’, and start sentences with action verbs – very powerful.
Don’t forget to write that killer cover letter!
And is it just a new job you want, or a new career? Maybe the Princeton Review Career Quiz will shed some light on what you should really be doing?
(I originally meant to post this on LoneGunman.co.uk (an abstract is there instead), but decided against it as it didn’t seem to fit with the shorter, link-based posts I usually put there. Aren’t you lucky?)