for a killer resume

The job market is tough. Though the economy is slowly recovering, many Americans are underemployed or looking for work. When the competition is fierce, it helps to have a stellar resume and cover letter. Here are five tips for crafting the perfect documents.



A resume is supposed to be a representation of who you are and why you’re the ideal fit for a job. If there are spelling or grammatical errors, you can kiss that position goodbye. Have a friend, teacher, or mentor look over a draft before you send it off to avoid careless mistakes that can cost you the job.


27.5% of new hires are generated from referrals. Referrals are the number one source of external hires.

Keep it short and sweet.

If you’ve been in the workforce for less than a decade, your resume should be a one-page document. Once you’ve accrued years of experience, you’re entitled to present a two-pager, but even then, keep it brief. Optimize the layout so you can fit in the pertinent details and draw in the reader. No need to include high school achievement awards or Greek life participation if it’s unrelated to the job opening.

6 sec

Recruiters spend just 6 seconds reviewing an individual resume.

PDF it.

To avoid formatting changes after you’ve put in so much hard work, PDF the final version before sending to the prospective company. When a resume has mismatched bullet points, long paragraphs of text, or poor spacing, it looks sloppy and unprofessional. Don’t let a formatting error be the reason you miss out on a great job opportunity. PDF the document to ensure it appears professional and clear every time.


Hiring managers spend 80% of their time looking at six data points on a resume: Name, Title at current company, Title at previous company, Previous position start/end dates, Current position start/end dates, and Education.

Tone down the theatrics.

While many applicants want to stand out from the pack, don’t submit a resume with fancy fonts, colored backgrounds, or strangely-sized text. Keep it simple and professional. No photos! If you have to resort to these showy strategies, many hiring managers will assume you don’t have the true qualities that matter for the job.


In one study, eye-tracking based “heat maps” of LinkedIn profiles showed that recruiters fixated on profile pictures for an average of 19% of the total time spent, instead of examining other vital candidate information.

Learn the lingo.

To make your resume stand out and illustrate why you’re a perfect fit for the job, use industry buzzwords to describe your previous experiences – even if they aren’t perfectly aligned with the field. Find someone with your dream job on LinkedIn and look at their list of job responsibilities. Learn the words and phrases that are industry-specific and pepper your resume with them where appropriate. This could help you appear to be a better fit and land you an in-person interview.

$130 Billion

Every year, $130 billion is spent on hiring in the U.S.

Submitting a high-quality resume is just the first step. The goal is to land an in-person interview where you can really showcase your strengths. Use your resume to get a foot in the door and impress a recruiter. Then, seal the deal by being punctual and prepared for the formal interview.