Q: I recently was told by a recruiter that my resume needs to be improved. I am not sure what he was talking about. I was given no specific comments.
A: Having not seen your resume, I am unsure of the recruiter’s specific observations. However, let me take an educated guess.
1. Different fonts and inconsistent spacing make resumes look sloppy. A resume with a consistent and legible font is easier to read and sends a message that you are organized. Spacing should also be easy to follow.
2. No typos allowed. You are not allowed to have typos or spelling errors. Have a few others review your resume to catch these mistakes. Sometimes we don’t catch our own errors.
3. Your contact info should be readily available at the top of your resume. Your name, address, phone numbers, and a URL for your LinkedIn address. Don’t make it tough for a recruiter to track you down!
4. In addition to some of your responsibilities, think about what you accomplished in your past role. An example: Hired 12 Ruby engineers at an average cost per hire of $6K. Or, worked on CRM implementation saving the company $100,000. Most recruiters like to see metrics on what you have achieved or what you have accomplished. Think impact!
5. Grammatical errors are unacceptable. Know the difference between there, their and they’re and to, two and too.
6. Too dense or too much information. A resume should be, at most, two to three pages. My resume is just under three pages and includes lots of white space and font size 10. Remember, a resume is selected highlights, not every task you have ever completed. Search online using the term “sample resume” and many sample resumes will be found. It is sometimes helpful to review resume samples to think about new formats, wording, or how to condense.
7. Think verbs like created, developed, launched, designed, engaged, implemented, managed, etc.
Lastly, when you have a final version ready, put it down. Don’t share it. Review it a day or so later with “fresh eyes” and confirm that it is the best version it can be.
Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.