Welcome to Inpsiware’s Ultimate Resume Tips and Strategies. Here are 37 actionable ideas and 10 do’s and don’ts to improve your resume and boost your job search prospects.

Writing a resume is more than listing a few facts and biographical details. Great resumes tell compelling stories – a life story of your educational and professional journey with critical milestones and achievements peppered along the way.  The resume tips and tricks in this article are practical and actionable and help you write a CV that enables you to stand out from the crowd and help secure the job interview – a critical next step. And even during the interviews, best resumes acts as the reference and anchor for the interviewers.

Use these 37 killer resume tips and ideas, which are updated for 2019, to spruce up your resume and get the job you deserve.  Some of the resume writing strategies and approaches are essential tips, some deal with formatting, and also the structure and flow.  The resume building strategies outlined here will work for experienced candidates as well as freshers.

Today, many employers are using machine learning and other artificial intelligence, in addition to the traditional ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) and other tools. So, it is more important than ever for your resume to shine and showcase your competence, capability, and credentials coherently and compellingly.

The best resumes are great for two reasons: A) The person has impressive qualifications, experience, and accomplishments. And B) The format, content, and story the resume conveys.  Item A is different for each one of us.  As for item B, we all can strive to do better by creating the best resume we need and deserve.

Resume Tips and Strategies – How to Build the Best CV for your Job Hunt

Are your Contact Details Accurate and Presentable?

  1. Is your name spelled correctly? There is a possibility of an inadvertent error, and sometimes the autocorrect feature of word processing programs butchers your name. Ensure the spelling is correct, and add any accents.
  2. Is your address correct? Most of us don’t update our resumes or CVs regularly, and these days most companies don’t respond via snail mail. But yet, it will be sloppy to leave an old address in your resume. Update to whatever is your latest and if your living situation warrants, a PO box may be appropriate as well.
  3. Is your email ID Professional? It may be fun (or creepy based on your perspective) to have an email ID like Big_Daddy@SomeDomain.com or BabyDoll@somedomain.com, but it does not fly well in a professional situation.  On the other, many folks make the mistake of using current employers email ID as it is habitual.  Since free emails are easy to get, ensure your email ID is simple – some variation of your full name is ideal. For example, emails like lastname@domain.com or firstnamelastname@domain.com or firstnamelastinitial@domain.com or firstinitialandlastname@domain.com are common and simple ways for an email ID.
  4. Did you add a Phone Number? If you share your landline with family members or roommates, consider adding your cell phone number.
  5. How about your LinkedIn Profile? For most us who have a LinkedIn profile, it will always make sense to add your LinkedIn public profile.  For LinkedIn profile, please ensure you have a custom or vanity URL with your name.  For example, LinkedIn.com/in/MyName. Please avoid profiles ending in a long list of alpha numerals. LinkedIn.com/in/9208765B23U71Z. Check out this LinkedIn article to customize your URL.
  6. Do you have a Professional Website? If you have a website that focuses on your professional work or a portfolio on a site relevant to your work (such as GitHub, etc.), it will be appropriate to include the same.

How do you wish to introduce yourself?

  1. Do you want to state an objective or a summary? Many job seekers start with an objective at the very top of their resume. Since it has become a norm, it is OK to state a purpose.   Otherwise, you should have a summary of who you are.  You don’t have to restate everything about yourself but think of it as an elevator pitch about who you are and what you bring to the table.  The summary is a rather critical piece of capturing the fleeting attention of recruiters and hiring managers.  Hence, spend enough time iterating and refining the summary.
  2. Do you need a Keyword or Skill section? There are differing opinions about the value of adding a skills section or a section with keywords where you just list the functional skills, sector exposure, and competencies. Our advice is contrary, and we think it is better to include the keywords as a part of your work experience section rather than list a few keywords separately.

Showcase your Work Experience:

  1. List your Professional Experience in a Reverse Chronological Order: Needless to add, employers, are in interested in your most recent job.  So, start with your current position or if you are unemployed list the last position.
  2. Pepper your CV with Action Words: Please ensure you draft sentences and bullets that are action-oriented. Action verbs will make your accomplishments come alive.
  3. Focus on Achievements: When you are describing your previous positions (or the current position) emphasize what you accomplished, not just what you did.  What you did will be a part of what you accomplished.  For example, “Led the western sales region and increased new account acquisition by 23%,” communicates both what you did and how you performed.
  4. Quantify Everything Possible: The quantification applies to not just sales numbers but almost everything where it is possible to quantify.  Instead of saying, “Reduced cost by optimizing procurement” is fine, but adding a number will bring a sense of realism and specificity.  For example, “Reduced procurement costs by $3 million by an emphasis on e-sourcing,” Is specific, real, and compelling.
  5. Emphasize Recent Positions: In terms of how many bullets to use and how much information to provide, focus on the most recent positions – like the last five years.  And if are the same employer longer, and have received promotions, list each role/position within a company separately.
  6. How far back do you go? If your experience is less than ten years, it may be a good idea to list all your past employers. However, if your career spans say 25 years and the early part of your career has nothing to do with where you and who you are currently, listing the last 10-15 years may suffice. Of course, this is not about hiding anything but has to do with the length of the resume and the relevance of some of the posts held way back at the beginning of your career.

List your Educational Credentials:

  1. Drop Some Names: If you were one of the smart ones that went to a prestigious university, please do list the University name (or college name) as recruiters rely on such keywords to extract resumes. For example, if your alma mater is Harvard or Princeton or Berkeley or Duke, it would be a good idea to name the institution.   However, if you graduated from a commuter university, just the degree may suffice. Again, this is not lying but not including information that may not be beneficial for an initial screen.  (It would be lying and illegal to say you attended “XYZ University” while in reality, you were an alumnus of “PQRS University.”
  2. Add Relevant Certificates and Courses: If you have any certifications from an ivy league university, which is pertinent to your current or prospective job, it will make sense to include the same. For example, if you are applying for a role in labor relations and you have a certificate in conflict resolution, that may be worthwhile to include on the CV.  Again, the simple test is whether the inclusion of something bolsters your prospect of standing out in the initial screen – way before the interview process starts.
  3. Resume Tips - Add graduation date or not?How many Educational Milestones do you include? This depends on several factors – such as how many years of work experience you have, the relevance of that education to your job, and the prestige of that institution. If you have 20-years of experience and your last degree is an MBA from a reputable university, just one degree may suffice.  If on the other hand, if your undergraduate degree is from an ivy league college and it conveys something fundamental to who you area – for example attending the West Point Military Academy, by all means, include the degree on your profile.  For someone with 20 years of experience, highlighting education back from high school is probably a bridge too far.
  4. Professional Designations: It is beneficial to list professional certifications, particularly those that are relevant to your position. A financial advisor will benefit from listing her CFP (Certified Financial Planner) designation. Similarly, a project or program management professional should list their PMP (Project Management Professional) title.

What about Hobbies and Extracurricular Achievements?

  1. Accomplishments that Showcase your Personality: A statement on a resume that indicates, “Likes Music and Books” is rather generic and blasé.  However, if you were to run marathons, that may show your endurance, physical fitness, and motivation.  Similarly, if you have a low handicap golf game that may be an indicator of not only your ability in the sport but also a subtle hint that you may be good at social relationship building with clients and other stakeholders.  Avoid adding things that do not necessarily distinguish your candidacy.

Other Relevant Information to include on the resume:

  1. Patents: If you have patents in your name, that may be a something you should add to your resume.
  2. Philanthropic or Volunteer Positions: If you hold a position of importance or have significant contributions in the not-for-profit world, please add it to your profile. For example, while once a month, volunteering at your local charity may not necessarily add luster, a board of trustees for a respected non-profit is a profile booster. (Of course, you do charitable work for personal, moral and self-actualization reasons and the primary purpose is to do good, not necessarily to include as a resume bullet.)
  3. Personal Details: Avoid any personal details in a resume. In some countries, for example, in India, applicants include marital status and date of birth.  Our recommendation is not to include any personal details – age, marital status, health issues, race et al. – in your resume. The reasons are twofold: a) They are not relevant to your job b) Implicit and explicit biases and discriminatory practices still exist.
  4. References: It is too presumptuous to list your references on your resume. And it is redundant to say, “References available upon request.” Of course, are you going to refuse to provide references if a prospective employer requests them as a part of the final steps during the hiring process? Of course not. So why mention that at all?

Resume Tips – Formatting Matters:

  1. Structure: Structure and format are critical to a great resume. Careless spelling mistakes, incorrect grammar, and lack of visual aesthetics in a CV will adversely impact your candidacy.  You will need both style and substance to create a world-class resume.
  2. Resume Tips - How long should your resume be?

    Unless you are a senior exec or an academic, don’t write a tome. Stick to a short resume of 2 pages.

    Resume Length: Limit your resume to one or two pages. If you have too many positions to list in your work history, leave anything that is beyond the most recent 10-12 years out of the resume.  Highlight only the highest educational attainment and most relevant professional designations.  Only exceptions are if you are a scientific or academic field where you may have mention your research papers and journal articles. Or a top-level executive with so much to say, two pages may not be enough. For the rest of us writing a resume that exceeds two pages boils down to laziness or inability to separate the wheat from the chaff.

  3. Photo: Does your job rely on looks? If so, by all means, you can add a photograph to your resume.  For example, if you are a runway model or a news anchor, your looks may be a part of the overall package.  But in all other cases, it is best to avoid a profile picture in your resume. Of course, you are not trying to hide, but it is not necessary and distracting.  You may still have an image on your LinkedIn profile, and recruiters and hiring managers are but sure to come to know your face.
  4. Resume Tips: Education or Experience First?Order of Things: How to order the resume with regards to work experience and education boils down to the length of your career.  If you are just out of college (or say three years removed from college), you may feature your education as the first component right after the contact information and the summary.  For all others, work experience in reverse chronological order should come first followed by education and other details.
  5. Explain Acronyms: If possible, don’t use acronyms and abbreviation and if you must, use them sparingly. If you ever were to use an acronym or an abbreviation, please write the full form the first time you mention.
  6. Punctuation: Be consistent with punctuation and follow the basic tenets of grammar.  For example, do you need to include a colon after each subheading? It depends. You may choose to bold the subtitles and then put a colon. Or just bold or underline without colons.  Whatever pattern you want, please follow it consistently.
  7. Font: The rules for fonts are simple. Don’t use a fancy font. Stick to either 11 points or 12 point font.  Readability is paramount for a resume and hence don’t use any fonts that are difficult to read or strain the eye.  You cannot go wrong with fonts like Calibri, Helvetica, Arial, Times, MS Trebuchet, and other classics.
  8. Layout: Leave enough margins on all sides. Use reasonable line and paragraph spacing to avoid cluttering information too densely. Follow any format or pattern you choose consistently across the entire resume. For example, if you underline subheadings, do so across the board. If you use a specific style of bullets, please use the same pattern everywhere.  Cleanliness and elegance matter a great deal.
  9. Capitalization: ALL CAPS ARE A DEAL BREAKER. Don’t use all caps – ever.  Use standard capitalization techniques.
  10. Spelling and Grammar: Please use word processing software’s native spelling and grammar check. Also, print and review the resume before sending it out. And ask a friend or a family member to do a sanity check. We also highly recommend a tool such as Grammarly. But there are basic things that you should consider: Use periods consistently.  Spell out numbers from 1-9, and then you can use numerals from 10 onwards.
  11. Minimize Personal Pronouns: Don’t use too many “I” “Me” “Mine” “Myself” et al. There is no need to say “I lead a team of 20 cross-functional staff to complete a $10 million project successfully.” Drop the “I” and start with “Led a team…”
  12. PDF Format: Always attach your resume as a PDF document for its ability to retain the original formatting despite the specific word processing software and the version the hiring company may use.
  13. Template: Don’t follow any model blindly. Use it as a guideline and a starting point. Try to use templates that are standard in your industry or country.
  14. Versions: Don’t use a single version of a resume as one-size-fits-all. Each job position and role will be slightly different sometimes in the same company let alone across companies and sectors. Try to have 2 or 3 standard versions of your resume and then further customize and tailor it to different positions based on job descriptions.  If you do end up with multiple variants with further customization, it is vital to save a copy of the exact resume you sent to a specific employer. For example, you have three versions of your resume for sales and business development positions. Then you further customize version 2 before sending to XYZ company. It is a good idea to save the specific version you posted as “B2B Resume_ABCD Inc” in your folder. That way, when the company calls you for an interview, you will have the replica.

Writing a Great Resume: Do’s and Don’ts:

  1. Do create multiple resumes and tailor them to each job posting.
  2. Do write a killer cover letter to along with your impressive resume.
  3. Do quantify everything and use action verbs.
  4. Do focus on both style and substance when building your resume.
  5. Do print and take copies of your resume for attending job fairs or interviews.
  6. List your resume in online job portals.
  7. Do not lie on your resume. It will catch up with you and expose you to significant jeopardy.
  8. Do not include personal details – age, religion, marital status, sexual orientation et al. Avoid stating anything that may lead to bias or discrimination.
  9. Do not go way back into your history.
  10. Do not include a reference or a statement such as “references available upon request”

Hope you found some value in our exhaustive list of resume tips, tricks, and ideas. Please do let us know if we missed any significant resume tips and ideas.  Happy job hunting.






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