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8 tips for crafting a compelling resume

Many candidates dread creating or revising their resumes. From perfecting formatting to determining the best way to summarize their job duties in a few bullets, resume writing can feel like the most important single-page document you will ever write. Thoughtworks Tech Recruiter, Chelsey Opare-Addo, who also runs her own resume writing business, provides some quick-hit resume writing tips to demystify and simplify the resume writing experience. Here are her top 8 pieces of advice to crafting a standout resume that can set you apart from the rest of the talent pool.

Chelsey Opare-Addo resume tips TW recruiting

1. Keep it concise - You might have heard of the "one-page rule.” That rule originated back when people were mailing resumes, and it remained relevant when people printed consistently resumes, but now it’s outdated. Unless you’re entry-level, you’re allowed to have a two-page resume. The one-page rule is now a guideline to keep your resume concise. The goal is for your resume to be a bird’s eye view of your greatest accomplishments and transferable skills.

2. Include your achievements - Showcase your greatest professional achievements by including awards, official recognition, revenue earned, money saved, efficiencies created, time saved, goals achieved, major projects completed, and ideas you brought to life. This will set you apart from another applicant with the same job title and background.

3. Quantify your experience - Build credibility by quantifying your experience with percentages, dollar amounts, and numbers. Instead of saying “Managed a project to implement self-service tools,” say “Slashed time-consuming help desk tickets 90% by implementing self-service tools” 

4. Leverage bullet points - Recruiters only scan your resume for 6-7 seconds. Paragraphs and blocks of text are difficult to scan, and important information might be missed. Utilize bullet points to clearly organize your experience.

5. Use power verbs - Avoid starting each bullet point with “responsible for.” Amplify your impact by using power verbs like boosted, enhanced, generated, implemented, launched, maximized, revamped, spearheaded, strengthened, and revitalized.

6. Ditch the objective, use a summary instead - The point of an objective is to tell the reader what you’re interested in, and they typically read like “seeking a job that will utilize my technology skills…” or “seeking a job where I can grow…” Objectives are usually lackluster and outdated. Replace your objective with a summary that grabs the reader’s attention and highlights your personality, unique skills, and major accomplishments. 

7. Keep it relevant - Your resume doesn’t have to include every job you’ve ever held. Only include your most recent positions that are relevant to your target job. A good rule of thumb is to include 10-15 years of experience in your resume.

 8. Use keywords from job descriptions - Read job descriptions in your field, and ensure your resume is using the same language and terminology. For example: if a job description says “test-driven development,” make sure that your resume has the phrase spelled out the same way, not just “TDD”. This will ensure that your resume is searchable by recruiters and able to get past the Applicant Tracking System.

Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.

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