How do you land that dream job? How do you obtain that amazing opportunity you’ve had your sights on? How do you drastically change your situation for the better and achieve career bliss? All this starts with getting your foot in the door, and that begins with your résumé. Your résumé is a peek into who you are, what you’ve done, and what you are capable of doing. It allows the recruiter to feel a little bit of confidence with taking busy time out of their day to speak with you about their open position. You can be the greatest speaker in the world and have the utmost confidence that you are the right candidate for the job, but if you do not have a solid résumé behind you, you won’t even be given the chance to showcase all those skills. To top it all off, the average recruiter only looks at your résumé for about 10 to 15 seconds, if that, which means your résumé must capture their attention in a short time span when up against dozens or hundreds of other applicants. But do not fret, the MJH Life Sciences® team is here to help you craft the right résumé to get you in the door.
Creating a résumé from scratch can feel like putting together a puzzle. Where do you even begin? Well, like most things, it begins with your mindset. Approach your résumé with the mindset that this piece of paper isn’t just a collection of your experience but a marketing document that will be used to advertise your skills and abilities to future employers. Once you have that down, here are a few dos and don’ts to consider when crafting your résumé:
- Include your name and contact information right at the top. There is no need to include your full address or any personal details beyond this.
- Have your education at the top of your résumé, as this will likely be the most relevant piece of experience toward the position you are applying for. As you gain more experience, your education will start to move toward the bottom of the page and become less relevant.
- Make sure your résumé makes narrative sense in terms of your timeline and experience. Have your most recent position first, then descend accordingly. The recruiter should be able to follow the timeline of your experience.
- Tailor your résumé to the job you are applying to. Look at the job description and tailor your experience to that role. What have you done in your past roles that aligns with this opportunity? It doesn’t matter what role you are applying to, you likely have transferrable skills from your past roles, so make sure to highlight those. If you are struggling to write about what you did in your previous roles, use the job description for those positions as a template. (Note: do not copy and paste this.)
- Keep your résumé to one page if you are seeking an entry-level role. At this point in your career, you likely do not have enough relevant experience to warrant more than one page. Recruiters also do not have enough time to read every single page, so keeping your résumé to one page helps make sure all your relevant experience is visible and seen.
- Strategically choose every single word on your résumé. Space is limited (as mentioned above), so you must make sure every word is adding value. You can also look up key résumé words to incorporate (and pull specific word choices from the job description).
- Include links to any relevant websites or your portfolio, if applicable.
- Keep consistent formatting throughout your résumé.
- Proofread, proofread, and proofread again! Have someone else look over your résumé for you, as well.
- Unless you are applying for a job in the creative space, avoid creative fonts or designs on your résumé. This doesn’t make your résumé stand out, it makes it more difficult for the recruiter to look for key content.
- Because this is still a controversial topic in recruiting, avoid including a picture on your résumé. This doesn’t add any value, it takes up space, and it leaves room for unconscious bias.
- Avoid utilizing your résumé as a cover letter. They are two separate documents and should be treated as such
- Show, don’t tell. Provide specific examples of how you gained certain skills. Do not just say you have communication skills, provide an example of something you did that required and helped develop your communication skills.
- Do not save your résumé as anything other than “First Name Last Name Résumé,” preferably in a PDF or Word document.
- Do not include your work email or any nonprofessional-looking email address on your résumé.
Your résumé is your golden ticket to a great opportunity; it grants you the opportunity to showcase your talents and what you have to offer. By taking the time to craft a strategic, well-thought-out résumé that represents your individual brand, you will not only be making an investment in yourself but also in your future. So put the pen to the paper (or computer) and start writing your new résumé. Your future self will thank you.