25 Resume Tips That Help Make a Great First Impression

resume-tips-first-impressionFrequently your resume is your first chance to make an impression on a recruiter or hiring manager. And you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so the importance of the resume cannot be underestimated. Here are my top quick tips for creating a resume that makes a great first impression and gets hiring managers to take a second look at you.


  1. Include a professional e-mail address; even your e-mail is part of your brand. (i.e., partygirl7@aol.com won't cut it)

  2. Include a phone number that is attached to a professional voice-mail message. A goofy voice mail will encourage recruiters to walk away.

  3. A resume objective describes what you want, and employers don't care about what you want. They care about problems you can solve for them.

  4. Create a profile at the top of your resume to prove your value proposition to a hiring authority, instead of an objective.

  5. Refrain from using subjective words like "loyal" or "trustworthy" to explain your candidacy; you are a job seeker, not man's best friend.

  6. Omit phrases such as "responsible for" or "duties included" from your resume; opt for stronger language such as "managed" or "oversaw."

  7. On your resume, your professional experience section is about where you've been; your top profile section is about where you want to go.

  8. Your resume profile is the 40,000-ft. view of what you can do; your experience section is the granular proof of this based on past success.

  9. List core competencies, keywords, or buzzwords for your job function/industry on the resume to please recruiters and resume-parsing software.

  10. Include months and years on your resume for any positions you were at for less than two years; omitting the months in short-tenured positions is deceptive.

  11. If you were let go from several positions with short tenure due to a downsizing, explain that briefly right on the resume. Transparency is always better than obscurity.

  12. If you left the workplace to take care of a child or aging parent, explain that right on the resume. Don't make the reader guess what you were doing during that gap. Their assumptions will rarely work in your favor.

  13. Minimize descriptions of job tasks and maximize descriptions of accomplishments. Sell it, don't tell it.

  14. Quantify your accomplishments: Show numbers, dollars, and percentages to prove impact in a job.

  15. List hobbies and volunteer experience when relevant to your job target. Leave your passion for stamp collecting off the resume.

  16. Include graduation dates; omitting them raises suspicion and calls more attention to the very thing you are trying to hide. (See also Resumes and Age Bias: To Date or Not to Date?)

  17. If you are a recent grad, list a high GPA and relevant coursework, school projects, and internships. Unpaid experience still counts.

  18. Omit "references available upon request." With Google and other search engines, references are available whether you want them to be or not.

  19. Use charts and graphs on your resume to demonstrate impact. A picture is worth a thousand words -- and a bit of "bling" is not a bad thing.



  20. A longer read that is readable is better than a quick read that is not. Pick a font of at least 10 point so the resume is easy to read.
  21. For a U.S. resume, omit references to date of birth, marital status, or religion. Employers cannot request it; offering it makes you look clueless.

  22. Create a text-only version of your resume to preserve the formatting when uploading into a company text box. Word documents will quickly turn into gibberish when placed in a text box.

  23. Treat every word on your resume like expensive New York City real estate. Square footage is at a premium; so make every word count.

  24. Half of hiring managers read cover letters, the other half do not; but you never know which half you are dealing with -- so always send one.

  25. Use the cover letter to match your skills to the job spec. If the job requires eight skills and you only have two, don't apply.

Next: Check out the AOL Jobs collection of resume samples >>


Filed under: @AOLOriginal, Resumes
Barbara Safani

Barbara Safani

Editor

Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, has over fifteen years of experience in career management, recruiting, executive coaching, and organizational development.

Barbara partners with both Fortune 100 companies and individuals to deliver targeted programs focusing on resume development, job search strategies, networking, interviewing, salary negotiation skills, and online identity management.

She is the author of Happy About My Resume: 50 Tips For Building a Better Document to Secure a Brighter Future and #JOBSEARCHtweet and her award-winning resumes are featured in dozens of career-related publications.

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zigmoon

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February 08 2014 at 5:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Oliver Beaty

Good tips! But do they really make your resume stand out? I guess it would if all other applicants' CVs are downright ugly. That though would never happen. What you will have though is a good resume just as the rest of the other 100 or so applicants.

I do believe in making sure your resume has awesome content. Your content should be concise, pertinent and straight to the point. But your over all resume should stand out. But how? There are many ways to do this. I've heard of video resumes but has never done one. I have done infographic CVs and found them to be highly effective. They are easy to do, too! I did mine on my iPad using an app called SHINE (http://goo.gl/vhZ2q).

September 20 2013 at 3:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
garciajames0206

I like how you explain each tips very precise..

anyone might want to check this out if it can help... http://www.resumore.com

February 17 2013 at 4:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
garciajames0206

I like how you explain each tips very precise..

February 17 2013 at 4:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tina

The best way to create a good resume i believe is with www.makemeresume.com it's simple and very esay :-)

December 13 2012 at 3:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jennifer

CM1958-
I just tried commenting to your post but I dont think it went through, so let me try again..1st off ...I did a temp job w/a wonderful african american man also in his 50's and also an accountant. He was trying to find a different career choice but stated that being a black man gave him advantage as a lot of companies are looking for diversity to bring into their businessses. I am a white female age 40 and I have a hard time finding work. I interviewed for a company that stated they really liked me alot and I would fit in great, but they couldnt hire me because they stated they could not guarentee me ANY hours. HUH ?? THIS is why I think perhaps busniesses have to post and interview for tax write offs or something...I dont hear anyone getting hired anywhere around here....Good Luck My Friend...and Plz Wish Me Luck Too !! :)

August 02 2010 at 11:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jennifer

Katie....
Are you even reading the postings?? CLEARLY you are not interested in finding employment or you have a job and you just dont understand what the rest of us are going through. Have some compassion and do us all a favor, U must be blonde so...DYE YOUR HAIR BROWN !!!

August 02 2010 at 11:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dd

All this emphasis on how to create "the resume" is a bunch of crock. I've been following all the rules, tested with high scores, considered good looking, intelligent, an eloquent speaker, a nice person, and do very well on interviews. Offering $8 an hour for over 10 years of experience or starting at $12 training then lowered to $10 with increments of .50 cents to $12 again?? Or, unpaid training, while on a trial basis??? How about when they keep the salary or benefits a secret? Those are examples of what I encountered and wasted my precious time on. I was earning a good salary that no one wants to pay anymore and had to lower my standards. Unless you have no financial obligations or want a "career job," can you survive with such low paying salaries. Bottom line, the unemployment rate is sky high and most of these employers are taking advantage of it, offering meager salaries regardless of your experience, education and skills. I hope that labor rules change soon, it's really pathetic.

August 02 2010 at 8:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Katie

Why so much hate? Can't we just respect each other? Aren't we faced with enough haters in this world. If you don't like her advice, don't take it. RESPECT is free, doesn't cost you anything. Just be nice. Didn't your mother ever say "if you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all" or "some things are just better left unsaid" or here's one, "keep your opinions to yourself".

And to Ellen in CT.......get over it already and stop the racial comments. This has nothing to do with a black man in the White House. White people voted for him and were a big part of putting him in that job so stop playing the race card......it's getting old. If the President was doing a great job and bringing our economy back and creating jobs it wouldn't matter what color he was......he could be pink with purple polka dots and he would be great.

It's about doing what's best for the people of this great country which is falling apart daily and quite honestly not getting any better. The blame game is over.

BE NICE AND LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR..........NO ROOM FOR HATERS.........

August 02 2010 at 8:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robin

I am certainly glad that I can objectively read the reviews of others and still form my own well-thought out opinion. The information is valuable and has put many to work,...others may want to read and take heed and then implement it into a good resume'. Just like any career, one has to really input much into to it for it to be rewarding. Take this advice and apply it accordingly. It's free !!

August 02 2010 at 8:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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