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Resume Writing Tips to Help You Get an Interview

Abraham Mendieta | April 12, 2023

Your resume is more than paper and bullet points; it’s a first impression for the person who decides if you can move closer to landing that job you’re after. What kind of impression are you making?

According to Top Resume, 75% of resumes are rejected before they reach the hiring manager, so it’s imperative that you work to keep your resume on top of the pile.

If you want to take that resume from drab to fab, you’re in the right place! Let’s start with some writing tips to help you stand out, and we’ll wrap up with some tips on what not to do on your resume.

Brevity is king, or is it?

The one-page resume rule isn’t the standard anymore. A recent Zety report found recruiters are 2.9 times more likely to pick a candidate with a two-page resume for managerial roles and 1.4 times more likely for entry-level positions. And 77% of employers say experienced workers should not use a single-page resume. Use the front and back of the page to show why you deserve an interview.

Blow that horn!

Don’t assume a by-the-numbers work history tells the whole story of your professional career. Call attention to your achievements and successes. Did you raise profitability or participate in a major project? These wins are important to you, right? A prospective employer should know about them, too.

Show, don’t tell.

Anyone can say they’re serious about success and career growth, but it’s much more convincing when their work history demonstrates that kind of commitment. Your resume should clearly depict a professional who is expanding their abilities. Highlight promotions, trainings, new certifications and any milestones that help the reader see that you take the upward trajectory of your abilities and your career seriously.

Lead with action!

Whenever possible, start paragraphs, sentences and even bullets with action verbs and avoid using passive voice when you write.

For example:
Sales in the third quarter were raised by 12% when I was regional manager.

This sentence tells the story of growth, but it’s a bit dry and it’s unclear who was involved.

Instead, try this:
I managed initiatives to grow sales by 12% in one quarter.

That statement starts with an active verb and puts you in the middle of the success.

The ___ to pay the bills.

Include a skills section in your resume, but list both hard and soft skills. Hard skills are those easy-to-identify skills like being an Excel power user or having a professional certification. Soft skills are just as important, although they tend to be more intangible. Valuable soft skills include abilities like collaboration, conflict resolution or problem-solving.

Read our blog post to learn more about hard and soft skills and why recruiters want to find applicants possessing a good mix of both.

Now that you know how to write a resume with strong content, let’s talk about the common resume mistakes to watch out for.

Cut the fat

Here are some things you don’t want on your resume.

  • Social Security Number or home address — An email address and phone number are sufficient.
  • High school information — Once you enter college, high school graduation is implied, so use that space for something more descriptive.
  • Personal photos or demographic info — As a rule of thumb, don’t add anything that isn’t relevant to your professional history or the job at hand.
  • Unprofessional email addresses — If your college email address contained something like PartyAnimal2007, you can still use it to keep in touch with college friends, but create a more formal account when it’s time to enter the workforce.

These tips will help you write a strong resume, but you can also improve your resume by avoiding more common mistakes.

Be typo negative!

Typos or grammatical errors can significantly hurt your chances when a hiring manager sees your resume for the first time. For best results, use a spellchecker, check your resume on a site like Grammarly and, most importantly, get someone you trust to be a proofreader.

If possible, print out your resume to review the spacing and page formatting. Your resume may look great on a computer screen, but you also need it to be clean and easy to read on paper.

You get a resume! And you get a resume! And you get a resume!

Don’t use the same resume for every application. Take the time to tailor your information to match the language and needs found in the job listing. Your main goal is to present yourself as an ideal candidate for the position in question, so portray yourself as the best match for that role.

According to Top Resume, 32% of hiring managers say it’s a deal-breaker if a resume is too general or not customized to the position. Think of it this way: If the job listing is a question, your resume needs to be the answer.

Are you ready to put that newly updated resume to work? You can start by applying for a position at Paycom!

About the author
Author picture, Abraham Mendieta
Abraham Mendieta
As an employer brand marketer, Abraham Mendieta helps the recruiting teams engage top talent and increase brand awareness. Mendieta is a proud graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where he earned degrees in both sociology and advertising. His efforts on Paycom’s employer brand team include company culture; careers; and diversity, equity and inclusion. Outside work, Abraham enjoys reading, going to the gym, spending time outdoors and hanging out with his family and friends.