A Few Resume Tips for Job Seekers


It can be easy to get caught up in all the other demands that your job search requires that it can be easy to forget about the little things. Here is a list of little things that if done right could make big impacts when it comes to applying for a job.

Save Your Resume as a PDF

One of the best tips I received during my library residency was to save resumes as a pdf. Why? Well unfortunately if you save your file as a word doc your file might loose its original formatting due to different word processing programs or versions of Word. In reviewing applications for a library assistant position, I noticed the majority of resumes were submitted as a word document. When I opened them with Word 2013 many of them had skewed formatting with extra spaces and indentations which I’m sure the applicant did not intend to happen. To make sure your resume file retains its original formatting you can save your word doc (or OpenOffice or Pages file) as a pdf file.

Here’s how to save it using MS Word: When you save your document select pdf from the drop down menu under “save as type”:


Ditch the Career Objective

Trudy Steinfeld in “The Only Resume Advice You’ll Ever Need” (Forbes 6/6/2012) states that you should “let your experience, skills and results-driven descriptions make the case for you.” I agree, I always skip over this section and go directly to the sections that list skills and experiences. I also have removed this portion from my own personal resume.

Tailor Your Skill Set to the Specific Job You Are Applying For

I am always more interested in an applicant who seems genuinely interested in the specific position that I am hiring for. One way to convey that interest is to make sure the skills you list are specific to the job your applying for. You can find many of these skills in the job posting itself. You can also go into further detail about your specific skill set in your cover letter.

Use Consistent Verb Tenses

Use present tense verbs for your current position and past verb tense verbs for previous jobs you’ve had. For example I used “use” for my current position experience and “used” for my past position experience:

Reference Librarian
August 2011 to Present

• Provide reference service in person and by email, phone, and chat
• Provide research instruction to undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students
• Evaluate and maintain serials
• Use Baker & Taylor, RCL and Choice for collection development
• Develop research guides and finding aids
• Serve as a liaison librarian to the education and English departments
• Manage student workers

Library Resident
February 2011 to May 2011

• Collaborated with librarians for library instruction in discipline specific classes
• Used Horizon ILS to support and provide reference services and catalog library materials
• Supported the online book sale using Alibris
• Used Baker & Taylor and several other resources for collection development

Name Drop Specific Software, Learning Management and Content Management Systems You’ve Used

If you’ve used Blackboard, Millennium, Horizon, Baker and Taylor, etc include that in your list of experiences. Librarians want to know that you are aware of and use the software programs that are used in their field.

Use a Creative File Name

Alison Doyle warns job seekers not to name their resume “resume” because it causes them to lose a “great opportunity to brand themselves (e.g. ‘John Doe – Quota Crusher’).” Creative file names can help you stand out in a sea of banal “resume.doc”s. If you can’t think of anything creative try using your name as the title.

4 thoughts on “A Few Resume Tips for Job Seekers

  1. That’s really interesting about the file name – I never thought of that!

    I COMPLETELY agree about saving your resume as a PDF, and not just for formatting reasons. When I receive Word documents from job applicants it immediately makes me think they are not tech-savvy. Word documents can be edited, PDFs can’t be because they are essentially an image. They look more professional and can easily be opened on a mobile device.
    On a Mac I think you go to Print –> Print as PDF

    Also, look for an attractive template that seems a little more design-y than the typically plain Word doc, but make sure it’s still legible! I feel like good design always makes you stand out more.

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