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5 Tips to Make Your Resume Not Suck


LAST UPDATED: 02 April, 2024

Bear with me through this analogy… Dating and applying for jobs are very similar. Ryan, are you nuts? How on earth are they similar?

Well, they're similar in the sense that you only get to make a first impression once. Now, some people are great at making a first impression and others well… not so much. The fact of the matter is that regardless of whether you're dating or applying for jobs, you want to be able to showcase yourself in the best possible light.

I've checked with the boss and I've been advised to stay on-brief and steer clear of offering dating advice in my blog posts; however, what I can do is offer some advice about how you can craft the perfect resume. So stick with me, while I share my insider tips on how to make your resume not suck.

Tip #1 – Keep your resume short ‘n' sweet

I read literally hundreds of resumes every single week. Some are great, others are below par. The ones that are great often have one thing in common. They're all short and sweet.

I get asked frequently, ‘how long should my resume be?'. The answer is simple, keep your resume between 1-2 pages max. This rule applies for absolutely everyone. I don't care if you've had 50 years' experience or 5-minutes of experience, you need to keep your resume under two pages in length.

Why keep it below 2 pages? 

Recruiters and hiring managers do not read every word of your resume *gasp*. On average they read your resume for anywhere between 6 to 10 seconds in total. What this means in reality is that you have exactly 6 to 10 seconds to capture the reader's attention and give them the information they need to decide whether they're going to want to schedule an interview. In the world of resumes ‘less is more'.

Tip #2 – Include tangible results

Okay, so you've got only 1-2 pages to work with, so what should you actually include in your resume. The one thing I'm always telling my candidates is to include tangible results in your resume.

Tangible results can be absolutely anything:

  • I generated X number of leads generated
  • I achieved $X in revenue
  • I grew our NPS score to X from Y
  • I grew our social engagement by X
  • I reduced the Cost Per Lead by X
  • I rebranded X which resulted in Y 

Keep in mind that every single role will have different KPIs but ultimately you want to showcase the tangible results that you delivered. The reason you want to do that is because hiring managers and recruiters are looking to see what you have achieved as this shows us that you have a track record of delivering results in previous roles.

Tip #3 – Include keywords

As corny as it sounds, keywords are key. As I mentioned before, you have 6 to 10 seconds to capture the person's attention. How do you possibly capture someone's attention that fast? With keywords. 

Recruiters and hiring managers speed read through resumes and are trying to find keywords that match back to what the role asks for.

Resume Example 2 - How to Make You Resume Not Suck

The screenshot above is from a candidate who I recently placed. Pay close attention to all the keywords they managed to squeeze into 10 bullet points. This candidate was able to tell me that they have:

  • Developed and implemented digital strategies
  • Worked on website optimisation
  • Used paid social, email marketing, paid search
  • Worked on reporting and analytics
  • Worked with an external agency
  • Used Trello, Google Analytics and Sprout Social

These keywords were identical to the keywords that were used in the job description. This enticed me to read more about their experience. My advice is be sure to have a look at what the actual job description is asking for. If it lists a range of different skills that they're looking for, your best bet is to make sure that you have mentioned these exact things in your resume. Recruiters and hiring managers have a mental checklist, they're going to be matching your resume to the JD saying okay cool they've done this, this and this. That is enough for them to go ‘alright their skills match the JD, let's pickup the phone and find out more or book an interview'.

Tip #4 – Don't BS on your resume

Any recruiter or hiring manager worth their weight is going to be able to spot BS very quickly  when they're reading through your resume. 

Now don't get me wrong, your resume should paint you in the most positive light possible. However, there's a big difference between talking yourself up and just straight up lying on your resume. At the end of the day, be honest and be transparent about what your experience has been and I promise you will be fine. 

You're going to be wasting your time. You're going to be wasting the other person's time as well.

Tip #5 – One word… Canva

There are a million different templates to make your resume look incredible on Canva right now. If you're building your resume in a word document, stop what you're doing and go and make an incredible resume (for free!) on their website.

I've compiled below a handful of my favourite templates they have available:

Now there are a few reasons why I have chosen these three particular templates:

  1. They are structured and easy to read.
  2. They don't include headshots.
  3. They're 1-page long.
  4. They're professional and minimalistic.

In summary

  1. Keep your resume between 1-2 pages in length.
  2. Include tangible results in your resume.
  3. Use keywords throughout your resume.
  4. Don't include any BS.
  5. Use a professional template to make your resume pop.

 Use these tips to help level up your resume. I guarantee it's going to help you with your job search. Good luck!