Want to secure that startup job you’ve been eyeing? Simply browsing to see if there’s maybe possibly anything out there for you? Whether you are actively seeking a job or just thinking about getting one, there’s one thing that should always be ready to go: your resume. No matter how technologically-enabled job-searching and hiring have become, the resume is here to stay. It represents the depth and breadth of your experiences, so think of it as a continual work in progress.

To get started, check out this simple checklist that will help you get your resume application-ready!

Don't forget to fast-track your resume to its final glorious form by downloading a Planted approved sample resume and the official Planted Resume Template here!

1) The general stuff

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Use common sense

  • Spell-check is your friend, don't be afraid of the squiggly red lines!
  • Make sure your grammar's on point. Read it aloud and see if everything sounds right.
  • All the words should have spaces between them. You’d be surprised at how many people forget this.

Keep it to 1 full page

  • Hiring managers are busy people! They often only dedicate 10 seconds, not 10 minutes, to reading your resume. Don't forget: your resume isn't a list of everything you've ever done. Instead, think of it as a chance for you to market yourself to a new position or industry. It should be targeted and intentional. Make it 1 page, and include only what's most relevant.
  • If the page doesn’t look healthy and filled, you might need to include more roles-- professional, academic, leadership-oriented-- or more of a description of what each job entailed.

PDF it unless otherwise specified

  • Make sure the PDF you upload looks exactly how you want it to look (check for alignment and that it doesn’t have a blank second sheet).

2) Formatting

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Formatting is consistent

  • Make sure dates are specified for each role (ex. Month, Year - Month, Year).
  • Don't forget to check that the font style is the same throughout.
  • Speaking of font, make sure the size is consistent too! Except your name in the header of course (make it visible).

Sections are ordered reverse chronologically (so list the most recent things FIRST)

  • This applies to the education section, the work experience section and any other time-related sections you decide to include (volunteer experience, relevant projects, leadership experience etc).

3) Content

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Bullet things out (each bullet should describe a distinct responsibility of the role)

  • Avoid explaining your role/organization/work in paragraph form. It’s too hard to follow and bullets are much easier on a hiring manager's eyes.
  • Don’t have too many bullets! Including 12 bullets for one role is too much like a list and it makes the hiring manager think you didn't spend enough time organizing your language. Aim for 3-5 bullets that really flesh out each of the responsibilities that the role entailed.
  • On the flip side of the coin, one bullet is too few! If you have just one measly bullet under a role it probably shouldn't be included on your resume. Think of more responsibilities or nix the position altogether.

Get your tenses straight

  • If you're still working at the position, use present tense (ex. create, support, pitch).
  • If you're listing the position as one of your past jobs, use past tense (ex. generated, led, presented).

Strengthen content both qualitatively and quantitatively

  • Use strong action verbs (ex. collaborated > helped, composed > put together).
  • Be results oriented: What did you do in each position and what was the outcome of your work? Was there an amount of revenue you generated? Did you acquire a certain number of users? How many blogposts did you write?

Show don’t tell (aka ditch the summaries and objectives)

  • These chunky statements tend to waste space and limit opportunities (unless you’re making a radical career transition and would like to briefly explain why). Save the bios for your Tinder profile! Instead if you have certain attributes that you want to share, highlight them in your bullet points. You don’t want to lock yourself in by writing that you are “seeking an X role in Y industry” if you are trying to cast a wide net in your search.

Include interests if you have them!

  • If you have hobbies outside of work, share them! But don’t just write “reading” and “cooking”... Be specific. Do you like Ancient Greek poetry? Vegan cooking? Comic book movies? An interviewer would never say, “You like to read? Me too!!!” But they just might have been a Classics major in college and have some thoughts to share about Homer’s Odyssey.

Feeling ready to see what’s out there for you? Sign up on Planted so you can put your revamped resume to good use and find your next great job.

If you need help crafting or formatting yours, download a Planted approved sample resume and the official Planted Resume Template here!