Make Your Resume Stand Out with the KISS Principle

on 12 | 16 | 2014

There’s a reason people swear by the KISS design principle: it works. Sure, there are times when being wordy and overly descriptive is valued–say, in a research paper–but when it comes to resumes, keeping it short and simple is indeed the best approach. Here are some tips that can help your resume avoid the brush off.

Be descriptive but concise

A few key sections will clearly and simply describe your competitive edge, including industries you are familiar with and your key areas of expertise. The most important sections to include on your resume are Qualifications Summary, Education, Skills, and Experience.  In this day and age of 140 characters or less, a few key bullet points using action verbs to describe the work you did and want to continue to do in the future will delineate you most important contributions to your career roles. If you are transitioning into a new career, be sure to identify your transferrable skills from past experience.

Use professional contact info

Be sure to use a personal email with a professional feel rather than your work email.  The format is always a go-to.  Check in with your cell phone voicemail account to ensure that whatever phone number you list on your resume has a professional outgoing message that is easy to hear, and is currently accepting voicemail messages.

Show by example

Always include examples of your work whenever possible; for example, if you’ve got an app in the App Store and have sold several thousand copies, that’s a great statistic to demonstrate your traction.  Alternatively, be active on Github and include a link on your resume, or maintain a blog on LinkedIn to build credibility in your area of technical expertise.  By backing up your experience with viewable samples rather than just saying that you have a skill, you’re going the extra mile.

Don’t over design

Don’t use multiple colors for your text or section headings. These can be hard to pick up when a resume is scanned into an Applicant Tracking System, or they may not show up when you resume is printed.

Get a second opinion

When you think you’ve narrowed in on a final draft, ask a trusted friend or colleague to proofread your resume. Or go to the next level and get assistance from a skilled career counselor who can help you strategize the best way to identify your skills and how to verbalize them during the job search process. Either way, making sure your job search documents are properly proofed will ensure you’re making a great first impression.

Wendy Saccuzzo is Career Development Specialist at Riviera Partners and Director of Career Development at Women Who Code.  Follow Wendy on Twitter @aboutworkstuff