Proofread. Be clear and concise. Don't include your high school education. If you've written a resume before, you've probably heard all the typical advice. But have you heard it from the ones whose opinions count most? Those who could become your future employers?
We asked five industry HR professionals what advice they have for applicants completing their resumes including what impresses them, what makes them scratch their heads, and what they recommend avoiding. Take note of these tips next time you apply for a position.
"Put your GPA if you have above a 3.0. Put a professional email address (nothing like cutebaby123@gmail). Include extracurricular activities and leadership experience. I want to see that you are involved in your passions, beyond just academics. Leave off information that is no longer relevant (i.e. if you are a senior, leave off your high school jobs and sports). Don't include a photo of yourself. This seems to be becoming more common, but it's distracting."
- Cristine Buggeln, JBS USA
"Demonstrate your ability to solve problems and collaborate with others. Highlight these talents in their work experience section by describing major projects they were part of and what end result was achieved. Describe the problem that the project/initiative solved and what specific actions you did to make that happen. Or highlight experience with volunteering, professional organizations and extracurricular activities."
- Kelly Olmsted, The Maschhoffs
"I LOVE to see resumes that are one page and summarized well. The best ones include education, past experience starting with the most recent employment, and any certifications or societies you may be a part of. Everything I need should be right there in those three sections. Also, ALWAYS include the reason for gaps in employment if it exceeds six months. If you were not working due to raising kids, caring for an ill parent, or simply due to searching for work, those are all understandable situations, so mention that! Otherwise, employers wonder what you were doing for so long without a job."
- Ashely Konsowitz, Helena Chemical Company
"Make sure it is clean and easy to read. No fancy fonts. Script fonts, even for name, address, etcetera are not good! Colored paper or some artistic background on a resume or electronic version will send it to the trash. Also include clear section headings. It doesn't have to follow 'traditiona' resume format as long as the section headings provide a picture of what you have accomplished."
- Anne Cleary, Wilbur-Ellis
"You want your resume to be aesthetically pleasing, while still being concise and easy to read. Spacing should be consistent throughout, and remember you do not want your resume to look cluttered."
- Heather Benson, Cargill
This article was first published in the 2014-2015 AgCareers.com U.S. Ag & Food Employer Guide.