Your resume reflects your professional and personal brand. It’s often the first impression you’ll make with a potential employer, which is why writing a resume can be intimidating regardless of how many years of experience you have.
To ensure your resume will catch the attention of future employers, seek the advice of professional resume reviewers and career development coaches. For insights, we connected with two experts – Mary Jo King, founder and owner of Alliance Resume and Writing Services and Nikki Ryberg, a career coach who is the founder and owner of Ryberg Group.
Here are some tips they recommend to help you create a stand-out resume:
1. Look for Grammar and Spelling Errors
Even seemingly small grammar and spelling errors can be the difference between you landing an interview and an employer tossing your resume aside. These types of mistakes can communicate that you’re not detail-oriented and that you rush through things. Using only your computer’s spell check may not cut it, either. Instead, rely on tools such as Grammarly – a writing app that can help you identify mistakes in your content.
2. Replace “Objective” with “Professional Summary”
Instead of sections highlighting “objectives” and “references available upon request,” employers prefer a professional summary. It is a two to three sentence summary of your qualifications, soft skills and what makes you stand out as a potential candidate. Additionally, most employers require a reference, which makes the “references available upon request” note unnecessary.
3. Highlight Your Skills
It’s important to have a separate section illustrating all the professional skills you’ve developed over time since it can set you apart from other candidates. Soft skills, such as time management, multi-tasking and the ability to work well with others, are equally important and can go a long way with an employer. Remember, employers are looking for candidates who not only have the necessary professional experience but also have refined soft skills they can build their company culture around.
4. Tailor Your Resume
You often have less than 30 seconds to impress employers with your resume, so make it easy for people to read. Use job descriptions to tailor your resume to your advantage. For example, if an employer is looking for someone with one year of clinical experience, you should clearly state that in your resume if you have that experience. In nursing, whether it is the BSN or DPN programs, employers and hiring managers love to see your experiences during your clinical rotations. Things you could note about your clinical experience in your resume could include what nursing unites you've worked in, who you've worked under, what hospitals you've completed clinical rotations and more.
5. Make It Easy To Read
Avoid using a wild font that no one can read. Some popular, classic options people use in their resumes include Arial, Times New Roman, Georgia and Tahoma. Remember to bold the things that are important, whether it’s a specific skill or certification.
6. Display Metrics and Results
Show your potential employer what you have accomplished instead of explaining what you did. Bring the numbers out. For example, instead of saying “I see multiple patients during my shift rotation,” say “I oversaw 10 patients with various injuries during one overnight shift on the pediatrics floor.” This gives your employer a direct, quantitative way of measuring your experience. It also gives them a perspective of what you can handle.
7. Add Certifications and Training
If you have multiple certifications or training that you have accomplished over the years, tell your potential employer about it. It never hurts to highlight additional knowledge and experience.
Remember, Herzing University career development coaches are here to help you craft your resume and reach your career goals.