Did you know that a resume will only get less than a 15-second glance at the first screening?
If you don't make a good impression within those 15 seconds, it's straight to the "no pile". Before sending off a resume to an employer, be sure that ALL your answers are YES to the following questions:
- Does the resume look original and not based on a template?
- Is the resume inviting to read, with clear sections and ample white space?
- Does the design look professional rather than like a simple typing job?
- Is a qualifications summary included so the reader immediately knows the applicant's value proposition?
- Is the resume's length and overall appearance appropriate given the career level and objective?
- Does the resume provide a visually pleasing, polished presentation?
- Is the font appropriate for the career level and industry?
- Are there design elements such as bullets, bolding and lines to guide readers' eyes through the document and highlight important content?
- Is there a good balance between text and white space?
- Are margins even on all sides?
- Are design elements like spacing and font size used consistently throughout the document?
- If the resume is longer than a page, does the second page contain a heading? Is the page break formatted correctly?
Are all resume sections clearly labeled?
Are sections placed in the best order to highlight the applicant's strongest credentials?
Is the work history listed in reverse chronological order (most recent job first)?
- Is the career objective included toward the top of the resume in a headline, objective or qualifications summary?
- Is the resume targeted to a specific career goal and not trying to be a one-size-fits-all document?
- If this is a resume for career change, is the current objective clearly stated, along with supporting details showing how past experience is relevant to the new goal?
- Does the resume include a solid listing of career accomplishments?
- Are accomplishments quantified by using numbers, percentages, dollar amounts or other concrete measures of success?
- Do accomplishment statements begin with strong, varied action verbs?
- Are accomplishments separated from responsibilities?
- Is the information relevant to hiring managers' needs?
- Does the resume's content support the career goal?
- Is the resume keyword-rich, packed with appropriate power words, buzzwords and industry acronyms?
- Is applicable additional information, such as awards and affiliations, included, while personal information like marital status, age and nationality unrelated to the job target omitted?
- Is the resume written in an implied first-person voice with personal pronouns, such as
- I, me and my, avoided?
- Is the content flow logical and easy to understand?
- Is the resume as perfect as possible, with no careless typos or spelling, grammar or syntax errors?
Adapted from: Resume Critique Checklist
By Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert