Much about 21st century job searching has changed, but resumes remain an important aspect. Check out our tips for a strong resume, as well as suggestions for more modern approaches.
5 Tips for a Traditional Resume
#1: Be genuine!
Make every word count! Avoid nonsense terms that don’t truly add meaning (Check out this article with the best and worst phrases that experts see on resumes!). Employers can see through insincerity right away, and that’s NOT the kind of first impression you want to make!
#2: Be careful with your objective
- Tailor it to position for which you apply! Just as each company, school, and organization varies in its priorities, so should your objective reflect how you can meet their unique needs.
- As Richard White points out in his article: “…It is not about how you can benefit from the company, but how the company can benefit from you.” For this reason, your objective should not say what you hope to get out of working there! We recommend starting with a brief description of yourself, followed by what you would truly contribute if hired by the company. For example: Highly enthusiastic teacher with a passion for educational technology seeks to contribute to increased technology effectiveness in the classroom.
#3: Skip your address
Donna Svei shares the risk in her article, “The Real Reason You Shouldn’t Put Your Address on Your Resume.” She cautions that if you would need to commute, employers definitely take note of the your potential burn-out liability. Instead, she recommends you put down your most recent employer’s city location.
#4: Quantify and Qualify with power verbs & nouns
Strunk and White’s tip to “write with nouns and verbs” in their book, Elements of Style, is true in resume writing, too! Beginning each accomplishment with a power verb & using specific nouns can help focus your description (ie, instead of “Helped with training new teachers,” try “Mentored 3 first-year teachers through peer observations, coaching, and co-teaching.”). However, be conscious of tip #1 as you do so–make sure these are honest and objective descriptors! This word cloud of power verbs gives you a visual of the most commonly recommended power verbs we compiled from the sources listed below.
- University of Iowa Pomerantz Career Center
- Penn State University’s Information Sciences & Technology
- Yale Undergraduate Career Services
- Deseret News
#5: Create a proper balance between white space & text
Be sure to utilize indentations to make your resume easy to scan through!
5 Tips for 21st Century Resume Writing
#1: Recognize the need for a traditional paper resume
Many companies now have online systems in place for applicants to type in all the information from their resumes. However, it’s still valuable to have on hand a paper copy for interviews, job fairs, and other instances of personal contact.
#2: Have your resume ready for digital sharing
We’ve seen other companies that simply ask you to enter a link to your resume. Make sure you have a shareable version ready to go, such as a PDF downloaded in Google Drive!
#3: Consider a visual resume
The changes in a visual resume may be as subtle as adding blocks of color to organize your presentation, or it may be as dramatic as adding charts. This can be an eye-catching and efficient approach to your resume-writing. However, be sure to check out this article for some disadvantages to consider, too, such as the incompatibility with ATS (automatic tracking systems).
#4: Consider a creative resume
A creative tier above visual resumes is the infographic route! This is a more obvious choice for those in creative fields, such as designers, but it could also be an opportunity to stand out if you’re willing to take the risk! See some examples of Infographics resumes on Pinterest, and and excellent list on Cornerstone University’s blog.
#5: Consider your audience!
Evaluate the company’s characteristics. Is it a more established, traditional organization, or does it have more of an entrepreneurial history? Chances are that if it’s the former, you’ll want to stick with more traditional resumes and objectives. If it’s the latter, employers may appreciate your gutsiness in trying out bolder strategies.