Monday, October 28, 2013

8 Tips for Writing a Resume

Posted by Doug White

Attention creative professionals: The traditional resume is alive and well. A new TCG survey finds employers still favor a Word document or PDF version over infographic, social and video resumes.

More and more job seekers are getting creative and playing around with novel resume formats. But before you start filming a string of wacky Vine videos or designing an intricate infographic to highlight your experience, be aware that most employers still expect (and want) a plain old resume. A majority of advertising and marketing executives said they prefer a traditional resume, like a Word document or PDF, from candidates applying for creative roles, according to a recent TCG survey.

Even in today's highly digital world, there isn't great demand for infographic, video or social resumes. Here are eight tips for writing a resume that's clear, concise and compelling:

  • Create customized content. Some people view job hunting strictly as a numbers game. They blast the same cookie-cutter resume to every employer with an open creative position. Bad move. Targeting your pitch to individual employers is a much better strategy. Thoroughly research the company or agency online, follow them on social media and tap members of your network for additional insights. Once you have a sense of the role and organization, play up your professional skills, experience and achievements most relevant to that particular opportunity. While you don't need to start from scratch every time, a little resume tailoring can make a big impact.
  • Key in on keywords. Who'll see your resume first? Well, it might not even be a human. Employers often use computer programs to scan resumes for keywords. How can you boost your odds of making the initial cut? Use the job ad as your guide, weaving in keywords wherever possible (as long as the terms accurately describe your abilities, of course).
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread. A designer friend of mine asked me to proofread his resume last year. When he saw I flagged a few typos, he laughed and said, "See, I'm not a word person." OK, dude, but your job does require attention to detail, right? Time-strapped hiring managers are far less likely to interview careless candidates. In fact, 76 percent of executives polled by our firm said it takes only one or two typos on a resume to eliminate an applicant from contention. Guard against goofs by running spell-check, but also slowly proofread your resume both on screen and on paper. Asking a copywriter pal for editing assistance won't hurt either.

  • Keep it simple. Steer clear of convoluted jargon, flowery prose and distracting graphics, fonts or colors that can make your resume difficult to read. Instead, let your portfolio showcase your creativity. When crafting your resume, use clear section headings and bullet points for easy navigation. In addition, don't muddle your message by cluttering your resume with hobbies and other extraneous personal information that has no connection to your career. It's great that you love mountain biking and going to hipster bars, but referencing those pastimes won't get you a job.

  • Tips 5-8 and the complete article
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