By Addie Radandt
Whether you’re looking for your first job right out of school or are a seasoned member of the workforce, nobody wants to have their resume passed over because of an easily fixable mistake. With the overwhelming amount of information out there claiming to give your resume that much needed boost, how can you be sure what actually works? Career specialist Amy Yang, from UW-Madison’s SuccessWorks, and Susanne Treiber, writing center coordinator at Madison College, offer some expert advice.
“One of the most common mistakes I see on resumes is inconsistency with formatting,” says Yang. “In some cases, the dates may be in the same area of the resume, but then they are not aligned together. In resume writing, it’s important to stay consistent so that it’ll be easy for the human resources and/or the hiring committee to review a resume.”
Resume templates can help eliminate formatting issues, and when it comes to finding a good one, try looking on your local university’s website. If you are a student and need some extra help, make a one-on-one appointment with your school’s career adviser. Treiber also recommends the website Ask a Manager (askamanager.org) for accurate and helpful resume advice.
TAILOR YOUR RESUME TO THE SPECIFIC POSITION
Yang suggests asking yourself a key question: “If I was a hiring manager what would I like to see?” Having only relevant information on your resume might seem obvious but be careful what you deem relevant. “You want to make sure that the experiences that you are including attend to your audience. They have to add value to the position and add value to the audience,” says Treiber. If you are considering changing careers, be intentional with how you present your information. “You want to really think creatively when you are listing skills. Don’t just list responsibilities; look at skills that can be transferable. How does what I learn in one industry apply to the other?” says Treiber.
CREATE A MASTER RESUME
Finally, Yang suggests that it can be helpful to create a master resume so you don’t have to remember all the dates and details every time you apply to a new position. “A master resume is a document you never turn in, it could be as many pages as you’d like it to be, and it houses all experiences and skills. When you apply to a specific role, you would copy relevant experiences from that master resume and paste it into a new document. That new document will be the one you turn in for the role you’ll be applying to.”