How a Compelling Resume Should Look Like

3 min read
blue journal on a pink background with tips about writing a compelling resume

To land a decent job in today’s tough job market, you’ll need a compelling resume to evoke the interest and attention of the employers. If you’re new to resume writing, below are the things that employers should see and not see in your application.

What You Should See on a Compelling Resume

1. Prominent basic details

In case you’re just starting out and really don’t have a clue on how a good resume should look like, your name and contact details should always be on the top spot of your paper for an easy reference. Some applicants are often too busy polishing their work history and relevant skills that they forget the most important detail that should be put on their papers: their contact information.

2. Balanced layout

Is the overall appearance of your document balanced? If there’s too much white space on the right, try using tables to organize and layout your document beautifully. But of course, remember to hide the borders before you print.

3. No objectives

This is the 21st century, and long, redundant objectives are already passé. If you wish to strike a stronger impression, you have to do a lot more than starting with the employers with “A creative and detail-oriented professional who wants to find a career that will serve my passion.” First, it’s generic. Second, it’s not-so stimulating to read. The solution: ditch it out and get right down to the business.

4. Noticeable achievements

If you think you have the edge over other candidates, don’t let the reader miss it. Knowing how a good resume should look like is all about emphasizing what’s best about you. Use bold and italics occasionally, and even vary the font size. Distinguish the peak parts of your achievement. Some applicants are not nailing it on the first screening just because the HR haven’t noticed the important things.

5. Specific accomplishments

If you’ve got accomplishments, don’t just recite what you did. Give a clear picture on their minds, and that is, by revealing specific details about the achievement. Don’t make it sound like it’s just another task in your former job, make it sound that you exceeded what is required of you. Emphasize what’s so exceptional about the accomplishment.

6. Bullets

It is a proven fact that bullets capture attention easily. Use the character to your advantage by highlighting your key competencies and unique abilities. Lengthy paragraphs never work with hiring personnel who only scan the application for about 10 seconds, so a bulleted one liner will be better to let them notice what needs to be.

What You Should Not See on a Compelling Resume

girl covering her eyes representing what not to see in a compelling resume

1. Grammar errors and typos

Beware, typographical mistakes are easy to find. The person in charge of screening is not looking for accomplishments and everything good about you, they are looking for mistakes! Sadly, that’s what screening really means. That’s how they separate the wheat from the chaff. And the most obvious chaff you can have in a resume is a grammar mistake.

2. Unrelated skills

Base all your featured abilities according to what the job will require of you. One of job seekers’ most common mistakes is including details that is important to them but isn’t important to the employer. Pick choices carefully.

3. Highfalutin words and numbers

Alright, seeing some percentage sign won’t hurt. In fact, it even helps. However, seeing the numbers accurate down to the 2nd decimal place will turn hiring managers off. Think of this: professionals who screen your application are, most of the times, not likely to be involved in your business. Human Resources personnel, secretaries, and assistants who do the first screening are people who are not too fond of mathematical figures.

Lastly, to know how a good resume should look like, you have to first know how a bad one does. Pore through some examples that didn’t work.

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