Whenever asked, what are some of my recommendations for a solid resume, these five always top my list:
1. Make sure that you are using a current e-mail service provider for your personal e-mail address. Your e-mail address is typically located among the top 3 to 5 lines of your resume; don't blow the first impression by telling the reader that you've been slow to adapt to change. If you're using an aol.com account or any other outdated e-mail service provider you're telling the reader that you're not keeping up with the latest trends being adapted by mainstream America. The use of an obscure e-mail provider could start making people have red flags about you. For mature job seekers aol.com is not obscure, but for that 23 year old Recruiter, it could be. Stick with the trendy stuff, like g-mail, yahoo, or local phone company providers. Lastly, do not use cute or funky names as e-mail addresses. It shows bad judgement. Stick to e-mail addresses that include a combination of your name or initials and numbers.
2. Create a LinkedIn Account as well as a LinkedIn URL and use it within your contact info at the top of your resume. Any job seeker who does not have a profile on LinkedIn is missing a huge opportunity to seek and be seen by Recruiters and potential hiring managers. LinkedIn in now among a Recruiter's most invaluable tools for searching talent. Regardless of whether its their primary tool or their supplemental tool for sourcing, chances are the Recruiter will look for you on LinkedIn. Make it easy for them by immediately telling them "Yes, I'm there, and here is my profile link". In doing so you immediately invite the Recruiter to check out the rest of your brag book and to see that you have many more dimensions to your work history.
3. Start your resume with an Executive Summary paragraph. Like all things in business that evolve over time, the Executive Summary is the result of an evolution to what use to be called the Objective Paragraph. Currently the Executive Summary is designed to quickly tell the reader what makes you so unique or different from the other 500 candidates that are also vying for the role you seek . It must be packed with punch if anyone is going to keep reading beyond for more. Everything else in your resume technically must support the claims you make in this critical section. If you are a seasoned professional in your industry then focus on describing the individual in you that is highly familiar with the business principles colleagues in your field live and die by each day.
4. Don't use your resume space to mimic what would be seen in a typical job description. Outlining the daily tasks you were responsible for through your work history is always insulting to the reader. Its like the feeling you get when you go to a workshop and the presenter just stands there and reads each bullet point to you. When outlining your work history give a 1 to 3 line summary description of your overall role. Under that narrative, pick 2 to 4 bullet points that were the highlight of your job successes in that role. If you were an Admin Assistant don't list that you answered the phones and answered e-mails That would be a given, everyone knows that. Instead use bullet telling that you planned an annual conference single handed or that you wrote a standards and policy manual from scratch. For as many things as possible use quantifying language that describes degree of complexity, dollars, value, caliber , urgency, volume, speed, standard etc. Doing so shows that you understand business is about numbers and the things that separate a great performer from a non performer.
5. Make sure the overall look of your resume is clean and professional. My husband once brought home a friend's resume for me to proof read. Although I can't remember the content of the resume, to this day, I can remember what the resume looked like. The document was so busy, so flashy and so full of varying sizes and styles of font that I could not get passed it to read it. When you pick up a resume it should look like a business suit. Clean, crisp, well fitted and consistent in its overall look. Stick to one font style and to 2 to 3 font sizes to vary the impact of sections and their content. There should be plenty of white space, meaning that you do not want to cram 3 pages worth of material into 2. This is why wasting paper space on bullets or sentences that don't ad value to your credentials is critical; turns out in the end, the white space is just as valuable for overall look and presentation.