YMCA Employment Programs

How to write a one-page resume that recruiters and employers will notice

03 April 2020 - by YMCA of Greater Toronto
There’s no better time than now to work on refining your resume! You’re probably spending lots of time at home, physical distancing, which means you likely have some down time to invest in updating it if it’s been a while, or tweaking it to make it as effective as possible.

What’s a one-page resume?

A one-page resume is meant to highlight your relevant expertise, getting directly to the most important points you want to draw attention to. Those points depend on the job you’re applying for. By taking a close look at a job posting, you can determine the skills required for that job, then use your one-page resume to prove you have them.

Our clients sometimes get nervous at the thought of trying to fit everything they want to say on one page. Or, they think it sounds like a lot of work to tailor their resume to each job they apply for. The reality is, recruiters and employers are receiving a ton of applications. Your resume has to grab their attention in a matter of seconds. You can make that happen by being clear about exactly why you’re perfect for their specific job, and by keeping it to a single page so you don’t make them feel even more overwhelmed than they already are.

Here are five tips to help you build the perfect one-page resume

1. Match your skills to the job description

When you find a job you want to apply for, thoroughly read the description and note down which skills you have that match what the posting is calling for. What does it say the employer is looking for in a candidate? How much experience do they expect you to have? What kind of expertise is required for the position? Are there any certifications or credentials you need?

Your one-page resume should answer these questions, explaining how your skills, experience, expertise, and credentials align with what the employer is looking for. If you’re missing some of these things, focus on the transferable skills you do have. (And check out our tips on how to land a job without much previous work experience.)

2. Pick a suitable style for your resume

There are several ways you can organize your resume, including functional, chronological, and combination formats. The one that will work best for you really depends on your skills and experience. Our YMCA Employment Services team can help you figure out which one you should use, provide you with samples, and help you pull yours together.

Whatever format you choose, highlight only those accomplishments that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Narrowing your focus will help make sure you can fit everything on a single page.

3. Choose the right sections

Our Employment experts say there are a few sections you should include to highlight what makes you right for the job:

  • Begin with a two-line summary about yourself

  • Use bullets to highlight your core competencies/skills

  • Include two or three key accomplishments you're proud of. For example, one of your accomplishments might be “3 years of experience [doing the type of work the job application calls for]."

  • List your employment history, with two or three bullets under each role explaining why it’s relevant for the job you’re applying for

  • Finish with your education

4. Include quantitative results as proof points

Anyone can say they’re hardworking, dedicated, and so on. Including numbers helps you prove it. For example, you can spotlight your achievements and your work experience by including impressive sales targets you met, “employee of the month” awards, high volumes of orders you processed, and so on. Quantifying your work like this helps showcase the kind of impact you’ll be able to make possible in your next job.

5. Carefully format your resume and include white space

To fit everything on one page, you’ll be squeezing a lot of information into a small space. That means formatting and white space are key, since they’ll help make your resume clear and legible to recruiters and employers. Use one single, professional font throughout your resume. Make your name and contact information stand out right at the start, in header-sized font. You can also draw attention to the start of each section using sub-header-sized font, bolding, or underline. Make sure your smallest-sized font is still big enough to be read easily; 12 point is usually good for classic fonts like Times New Roman. Keep your margins at about an inch on all sides.

Our YMCA Employment centres are closed temporarily right now, but our expert staff are still available to help you by phone and email — completely free of charge. Book a free appointment today so we can help you perfect your resume!


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