The 5 Steps to a Killer Resume

The 5 Steps to a Killer Resume

According to an average of 118 candidates apply for every job that’s posted, and just 20% of those applicants get an interview. Getting the interview takes the right chops and a resume that shows off your experience.

1. Keep it simple.

Recruiters and hiring managers making their way through a stack of resumes spend an average of 30 seconds on each one. Your resume needs to be easy to scan, highlighting your achievements and skills at a quick glance to land you in the yes pile. And it shouldn’t be more than a page or two long. If you need to go to two pages, that’s ok – just make sure it’s relevant.

First, ditch that old objective and under your name and contact info, start out with a quick headline that immediately gets some attention and shares your calling. Here are some examples:

  • Telling Brand Stories that Build Customer Loyalty
  • Showing Businesses the Art of Lead Gen
  • Creating Unforgettable Brand Experiences

list out two to three bullet points that share your experience, here’s an example:

  • Known for bringing Creative teams together for measurable results.
  • [x amount of] years of experience in Creative Direction and Brand Strategy.

Now, detail your work experience, but instead of listing your responsibilities under each position, list your top three or four big wins in each role with bullet points. (Include numbers, percentages and stats whenever possible.)

2. Focus on your skills, tech savvy and achievements.

Still building your experience? That’s O.K., but avoid using phrases like looking to “gain additional experience” or looking to “grow with [insert] company” that can make you sound inexperienced.

Instead, be sure your resume highlights what you already can do and focus on the specific skills and achievements from #1 above. Any new employee will need some training, but every hiring manager is looking for someone who can bring valuable skills to their organization from day one. Make sure you’re laser-focused on how your skills and qualifications can benefit them.

Finally, be sure to add a short but detailed section on your technical skills. It’s important for employers to know what software, media and coding abilities you have. This is a great place for marketers to list relevant social media and related programs (Hootesuite), Google Analytics or AdWords, Marketing Automation software, (ActOn, Marketo, etc.) and software like Microsoft Office, InDesign, Photoshop and other on-the-job essentials. Another great addition? Your SEO prowess and any additional SEO software you have under your belt.

3. Be consistent.

Make sure the layout for all your headings, bullets, paragraphs, and sections are consistent. Be sure to check these off your list:

  • Keep all of your headings consistent.
  • Use the same type of bullet in every section.
  • Use the font style and size for your full resume – except for your headings.

Want to get creative? You can bold, italicize, underline text or change colors, but using more than one font or bullet style is distracting. If you’re a graphic designer, you can definitely take the creativity to the next level and show off your abilities. Just make sure it’s in a clean format that’s easy to read and scan for experience.

4. Have your professional email address ready.

Your email address should be a simple combination of your first and last name. This makes it easier for recruiters and hiring managers to get a hold of you. Stay away from email addresses that use your nickname, birth year, or interest. sounds like Spam. Messages from are more likely to get opened.

5. Leave your references off.

If an employer is interested in contacting anyone, they will let you know. This is usually the final step in the hiring process. Have a separate document ready if they ask, but save the real estate on your resume to talk about your experience, accomplishments, and skills.

Meet the Authors

Evelyn Vega is the Founder and President at Staffing Strong and the President of the Phoenix American Marketing Association. Since 1999, she’s made her career about supporting her clients in building meaningful careers and partnering with businesses in finding quality hires. In her free time Evelyn is a Girl Scout Troop leader and yes, she can help you order some cookies.

Amy Roberts is a Senior Creative Recruiter at Staffing Strong and is on the Hospitality Chair for the Phoenix American Marketing Association. For more than ten years Amy has been helping professionals in finding their dream jobs.  She also makes a mean margarita.

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