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Building a Better Resume: Tips from a Pro Recruiter

Posted: 09/22/2020 | Author: Creatives On Call for Creatives On Call | Tags: Thought Leadership

Building a Better Resume: Tips from a Pro Recruiter

At Creatives On Call, we receive multiple resumes weekly as well as love to give out advice on the best way to present yourself. Our Recruiters are here to take you through commonly asked questions about resumes to help you better your brand! Also, remember, resumes aren't the only thing getting you hired, learn more about the importance of networking here. Further questions? Reach out to us here.

The average hiring manager spends between 5-7 seconds reviewing your resume, so in this short blog, I will go over the tips and tricks that will make those few seconds count. Let’s start with some basic questions that I get quite often:

Does my resume need to be custom-made for every job I am applying to?

YES! The fact of the matter is there are fewer positions out there due to the pandemic and the downturn of the economy, so you have to make your resume stand out against the many, many other applicants. This means that each resume has to be completely tailored to the job you are applying to.

Is there a resume template that I can use?

Check our PDF link below for a template!

Are Cover Letters necessary?

It depends on the company and their requirements to apply. Typically, more corporate clients do require cover letters, but overall they are not needed. In recent years, I’ve found that most people aren’t reading them. Instead, I would suggest bringing back a “summary” section into your resume. This will be a short and to the point version of your cover letter. This is typically 3-5 sentences that explain why you would be a good fit for the job.

What format does the resume need to be in?

Always save it as a PDF, unless otherwise specified.

How do I name my resume file?

“Firstname_Lastname_Resume.pdf” - That is the easiest way for recruiters and hiring managers to find your resume, once it is downloaded. Never send a resume with files ending in “r4” or “July2019” because it can come off as unprofessional.

I am a designer, does my resume really matter?

Yes, very much so! Your portfolio is also very important in landing your next job, but you also need a good resume to show all the skills and experiences you’ve earned over the years. Furthermore, I would suggest branding yourself. Create a logo, have branding colors, and type styles reflected and consistent on your resume, portfolio, and professional networking sites.

Typography matters! I have seen designers provide resumes containing orphans, and inconsistent kerning and leading, as well as over use of hyphens. These are all big no - nos. Be sure to be thoughtful in your design and layout because too many errors in your resume layout could result in not getting an interview.

Of course, some applications only allow you to provide plain text resumes, in those instances keep the resume simple.

Overall a resume should be an extension of your brand.

I am worried about being discriminated against for my age, how do I avoid that?

I hear this time and time again, but I can honestly say, don’t worry about it. As long as your skills are relevant to the job, you are seen as someone who knows the industry well and typically you are viewed as a faster and more concise worker.

Your resume, however, does need to be tailored. You have a few options; 

A. instead of listing your professional experience in chronological order, try listing only relevant experience. Only include companies and positions related to the job. 

B. Summarize your wins and experiences vs. tying them to a company. Additionally, only give full details/responsibilities on jobs within the last ~15 years. Feel free to add a new section called “Experiences Continued” that includes only the company and your title, listed in chronological order. These are any jobs you worked before 2005.

Do I add a photo of myself on a resume?

Personally, I don’t think it really matters either way. Most recruiters and hiring managers will look at your Linkedin profile and other social networks to find what you look like. If you need that space on your resume, remove the image.

Can the resume be more than one page?

Of course! If you have the experience and need to add more details, go beyond the first page. This is common for senior level folks.

Can I use my downloadable Linkedin Profile as my resume?

No, don’t do it! It may be “the same information”, but it will not fly. It can be seen as lazy and include a lot of information that is not relevant to the job you are applying to.

References, should I include them on my resume?

No, only put “references upon request”. You don’t want sites and companies to use the contact info for sales purposes and annoy your references. Always include a Linkedin URL under your contact information. A recruiter or hiring manager can go to your profile to check skills endorsements and references here. If you don’t have references on Linkedin, ask.

Resumes are always changing and evolving. If you have questions about your resume, contact me, Brianne Creamer, on Creatives On Call’s Slack channel (

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