How to write a better résumé

Use a readable font, remove irrelevant jobs from high school, and delete all that mindless jargon. 

Other than a marriage license or a mortgage note, a résumé might be the most important document you’ll ever put your name to.

A great CV can be a gateway to the job of your dreams; a poorly written one can keep you locked in the career of your nightmares. How is yours looking these days?

An article from Zety offers a boatload of tips to help you refresh, rewrite or rejigger your résumé in ways that will catch a recruiter’s eye.

The piece includes specific instructions and guidance from HR professionals, including these helpful nuggets:

  • List a professional email address. Would you hire Gamblingninja69@earthlink.com? Even if your handle is not outwardly embarrassing, be mindful of your email provider. Gmail and Outlook addresses are viewed more favorably than, say, Hotmail or AOL.
  • Choose an attractive, readable font. Unless you have a sharp eye for design, err on the side of playing it safe. Zety recommends using fonts (not larger than 12 point) that “sound like the names of hipster children,” such as Verdana, Helvetica or Arial. Steer clear of Comic Sans, Curlz MT and the much reviled Papyrus.
  • Don’t list every job you’ve ever had. You can delete your stint as a bouncer or when you captured iguanas in high school. Zety advises leaving out irrelevant jobs you had more than a decade ago.
  • Include relevant URLs. A résumé shouldn’t be the whole story. Provide links to relevant social media profiles, online portfolios and websites that showcase your talents.
  • Name your file strategically. If the file name of your CV is just “Resume,” you might get lost in the nondescript “Resume” sea. Make sure your name is included when you click “Save As.”
  • Explain career gaps. Did you have a baby? Perhaps you spent a year flying a hot-air balloon around the world. Provide a brief explanation for any fallow periods in your experience.
  • Delete mindless jargon. If you truly are an “innovative, results-driven team player,” great. Just find a more interesting, less annoying way to put it. Use eye-grabbing words and phrases, and describe your accomplishments in more human, descriptive language.

Don’t let a drab, bland or sloppy résumé prevent you from landing the job you’ve always wanted. Review the rest of Zety’s guidance, and make your CV pop out from the pack.

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