Do you need to write a good resume? While Resume must be one page or two in length, a resume is one of the most important parts of a job application. Your resume is your most powerful tool to tell the story of your professional work history to hiring managers or potential employers.
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Good resume that highlights your most relevant qualifications for the job will help you get selected for an interview. Often, interviewers will consult your resume during the interview, too. Above all, your resume needs to be consistent, concise, and easy to read. If it’s not, your resume and cover letter won’t get a second glance from any hiring manager or potential employers.
The following are tips on how to write a resume that will get noticed and help you get invited for an interview.
What is a Resume?
Resume is like “self-advertisement” that sums up your experience on one page. Your resume is one of the most important pieces of your job application. It gives the potential employers an overview of the qualifications you have for the job for which you’re applying.
You should also familiarize yourself with the difference between a resume and a cover letter:
A resume is typically sent with a cover letter, which is a document that provides additional information on your skills and experience in letter form.
A resume is a concise, often bulleted summary, while a cover letter highlights and expands on certain traits or accomplishments that would be unique or ideal assets for the particular job.
Types of Resumes
There are several basic types of resumes used to apply for job openings. Depending on your personal circumstances:
A chronological resume (in reverse chronological order) is the simplest format to use, but there may be circumstances where you want to focus on your key accomplishments and skills rather than your employment history. For instance, this format can be helpful if you have an employment gap.
Which type of Resume is Right for You?
Which resume type should you use for your job search? That depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. The goal of any resume is to show a potential employers the applicant’s strengths, skills, and experience in as short a time as possible. According to one study, recruiters spend as little as seven seconds reviewing a resume before moving on to the next, so it’s in your best interests to put your finest qualities and accomplishments in a prominent position on the page.
In addition, functional or combination resumes may also be useful if you’re trying to draw the reader’s attention away from something namely, large gaps in your work history or detours into unrelated fields.
What to Include in Your Resume
An effective resume lays out a summary of your qualifications that will push the potential employers or hiring manager to move forward and invite you to interview for the position.
For many people, it can be helpful to sit down with a pen and paper, or a blank Word or Google document, and jot down their work history from start to finish. Of course, if you have been in the workforce for many years, this is not going to be time-efficient, so you may choose to focus on your most prominent and relevant positions.
Required and Optional Resume Sections. As well as details on skills, education, and work history, resumes can also have optional sections, such as an objective, summary statement, skills, or career highlights. Those sections can be added after you’ve compiled all the factual information you need to list on your resume.
List the Details. Make sure to include the name of the company, its location, dates of employment, and several bullet points describing your role and responsibilities for each position you list. Although you may need to expand on the bullet points later on, you’ll need this information at the minimum.
Include Your Experience and Accomplishments. Although this should focus on professional work experience, you can also include awards or accolades, volunteer or community experience and skills, as well as your college or university education, which can move to the bottom of your resume once you get your first job after University/college.
Focus on Your Achievements. When writing the descriptions for the jobs you’ve held, focus on what you accomplished rather than what you did. Listing quantifiable achievements in a numerical manner (increased sales by 20%, reduced expenses by 10%, for example) will help your resume stand out.
Match Your Resume to the Job. Be sure to match those accomplishments to the criteria the employer is seeking in the job posting.
Review Your Job Descriptions. Review the descriptions you’ve written for each job you’ve held:
- Are they going to show the hiring manager why you’re a good match?
- Do they sound impressive?
What to Leave Off Your Resume
Since your resume should, if possible, be no longer than one or two pages, you may need to nix certain items.
For example, if you took a job and only stayed there for a month or so, you wouldn’t want to include that position. If you’ve been out of college for more than five years, it’s generally best to remove any internships you’ve had, assuming you have other professional work experience to fill the gap.
However, this is a case where you’ll want to use your common sense. If you went to college for marketing and had a marketing internship your senior year, then worked as a server for the next several years, you would want to include your marketing internship.
Ultimately, you want to try to strike a balance between including experience that is both timely and relevant.
How to Format Your Resume
It’s important to choose a good font and font size that are legible and will leave enough white space on the page.
You also want to keep style features (such as italics, underlining, bold, and the use of bullets) to a minimum.
Focus on Resume Keywords
Most companies use recruiting management software to screen candidates for job openings. There’s not a lot you can do to get out of this kind of tailoring, although you can use similar job descriptions for similar positions to save time.
Spend some time matching your qualifications to the job to ensure you’re including the appropriate keywords and skills. In addition to helping your resume get selected, it will also help the hiring manager see how your skills and experiences make you an ideal candidate for the specific job.
Review Resume Examples
Read through samples that fit a variety of employment situations. These sample resumes will provide you with examples of resume formats that will work for almost every type of job seeker. They will also help you see what kind of information to include.
Download a Resume Template
Along with resume examples, you can use a resume template as a starting point for creating your own resume. Add your information to the resume template, then tweak and edit it to personalize your resume so that it highlights your own unique skills and abilities.
Download the resume template (compatible with Google Docs or Word Online)