The one thing that can easily discourage a job seeker is that little ticker at the bottom of job board postings: “215 people have already applied for this job.” Nothing takes the wind out of your job hunting sails faster than that. By employing these tips of the trade, you can be sure that the 216th resume (that would be yours) stands out from the rest.

DO: Website/Social Media Handles

DON’T: Home Address

It is rare for potential employers to snail mail you anything while you are going through the application process. Your mailing address contributes nothing to your resume and only occupies valuable space. You also have no idea who is viewing your resume and home address or how many people have access to it, which poses potential safety concerns. If you feel the need to include it, it should go in the return address section of your cover letter. (Yes, you need one of those too.)

What you should include in its place is your personal website and all appropriate social handles. A well-established social media presence is important, as most employers will expect their employees to have a basic understanding of how to navigate the company’s social media channels. (It should go without saying that you should not include any social handles with potentially embarrassing, unprofessional content…but then again, you shouldn’t have that on your social accounts at all, job hunting or not.)

DO: Competencies/Measurable Successes

DON’T: Objective Statement

Including the dated objective statement is a surefire way to give your resume a one-way ticket to the shred bin. You applied for the job, so they can pretty much assume that your objective is to work there. Objective statements are also a quick way to reveal your age (Pro Tip: So are double spaces after periods. Don’t do it!) and your lack of effort to provide a well-written resume. If you aren’t going to invest in yourself, why should they?

Employers don’t particularly care what you want to do, they are interested in what you have done (each job should detail some of your measurable successes, ie. “Top 5% of Sales in Region in 2016) and what skills you can bring to the table. Enter the section of your resume that highlights your skills and expertise, most often cited as “Core Competencies.” This appears near the top of your resume, making it one of the most read resume sections and can make or break whether or not recruiters will read on. If your skills and expertise aren’t a match, there’s not much point in knowing the specifics of your job history.

DO: Include Your References

DON’T: “References Available Upon Request”

We live in a world where instant gratification is expected and information is consumed at rapid speeds. Everyone is busy and wants things in as few steps or clicks as possible, so why go through the unnecessary step of an employer having to ask you for your references? Some will argue that job seekers need time to contact their references to give them a heads up, but truthfully, you should have solid references lined up before you ever begin your job search. Sending references to employers from the start shows that you are confident in your capabilities, that you respect their time and it gives them the ability to contact your references well ahead of the person who hasn’t yet submitted them.

If you still don’t feel comfortable listing your references, just be sure not to include the old “available upon request” line.

Translation: “I have them, but if you want them, you’ll have to ask.”

DO: Add a Professional Photo of Yourself on LinkedIn

DON’T: Post an Old or Unedited Picture

Your resume made its way into the “potential candidates” pile. Great. One of the first things many employers will do if they are interested is Google you, which usually lands them on your LinkedIn profile. Having a professional picture for recruiters to see humanizes you and shows that you want to be seen.

Pro Tip: I stress the word “professional” picture here, as cropping your head out of a group photo or a picture where (cringing) you aren’t even looking at the camera is not going to cut it.

Putting yourself out there with a professional (or at least a nicely edited) head shot gives your profile a refreshingly human feel and sets it apart from the sea of nondescript, black and white digital blah, littered with the same, boring industry jargon and sans serif fonts. Seeing your picture creates an instant connection with recruiters and sends the message that you have invested time and energy in putting your best foot forward, which is something that everyone looks for in an employee.

DO: List Technical/Software Expertise

DON’T: “Computer Skills”

Not too long ago I was on an interview when I was asked this question:

“Are you good with computers?”

I would love to have seen the confused look on my face as I held back laughter and a smirk. Let’s see…my cell phone is a computer, I have dual monitors in my office, a laptop that I use for my writing, three tablets, a digital doorbell and a house full of Bluetooth light bulbs. So yea, you could say that I am “good with computers.”

Asking me if I am tells me that you are not.

Your resume should list all software and programs you have used and your familiarity with them. Many modern resume templates have sections with sliding scales to indicate your proficiency in certain areas. These areas should be specific and, most importantly, relevant to the job for which you are applying.

Pro Tip:  Do not list how many “words per minute” you type unless the job specifically asks for this information. (Heck, I’m pretty sure I can text 50 wpm on my phone, so I would hope that I can do that on an actual keyboard.) 

Pro Tip #2: You’re in luck. You don’t have to write your own resume. Hire someone with business savvy and creative flair. (That would be me.) Contact me today to discuss your project.