Dont Worry Too Much About Gaps
One of the questions that Lees and Heifetz get asked regularly is how to account for gaps in a resume, perhaps when you werent working or took time off to care for a family member. If you were doing something during that time that might be relevant to the job, you can include it. Or you might consider explaining the gap in your cover letter, as long as you have a brief, positive explanation. However, the good news is that in todays job market, hiring professionals are much more forgiving of gaps. In a recent survey, 87% of hiring managers said that they no longer see candidates being unemployed or having an employment gap as a red flag.
How Long Should My Resume Be
Your resume should be approximately two pages long. If it is substantially longer, eliminate information that isnt relevant to the role or industry. For instance, look back at the key skills and attributes required for the job in question and then review your resume are you using valuable space to describe skills, attributes and responsibilities from roles that dont match up to the job in question? If so, remove this content or, at the least, simplify your language. On your resume, you must get to the point, so dont use ten words to say something you could say in five.
On the other hand, one page may suffice in certain circumstances. The main thing to keep in mind when youre writing your resume is that you must be able to demonstrate and articulate your skills, experience, and future potential to the reader. If you can do that well in one page, thats great. However, the average length of a resume is usually around two pages.
Write A Winning Resume Introduction
Placed at the top of your resume, a well-written resume introduction briefly introduces your key qualifications and skills, and convinces employers to continue reading your application.
There are many different types of resume introductions used by job seekers today, including the:
However, the two most commonly used introduction styles are the resume objective and the resume summary.
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Tailor Your Content To The Position
When describing your previous work experiences, its best to select the most relevant roles and describe your accomplishments based on the job description for which youre currently applying. Determining what is relevant and what is not greatly depends on what the potential employers are looking for. Use the job description to find what their needs are and what they are expecting from a future employee in this role. A well-written job description section that is also tailored for the job you are applying for has the potential of setting you apart from other applicants with similar qualifications.
Decide Which Type Of Rsum You Want
There are three types of résumés: chronological, functional and combination. You might want to consider more than one format of résumé if you’re applying for multiple jobs.
- Chronological is the most traditional format and lists experiences according to the order in which they took place. These résumés generally appeal to older readers and may be best suited for a conservative field.
- Functional is a type of résumé that lists your experiences according to skill. This is the format to use if you’re changing career direction . Because it displays your skills first, your work experience, or lack thereof, is not the main focus.
- Combination combines the best aspects of the chronological and functional styles. Be careful with length for this format the résumé can quickly get long.
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Start With A Resume Objective
A good resume objective first tells the hiring manager what your career goals are, and why youre passionate about the position.
In three or four sentences, your resume objective should:
- state your skills
- highlight your relevant experience
- detail your education or training
The relevant experience can be something you accomplished at school or elsewhere in your life, as long as it relates in some way to the job.
When writing the objective for your first job resume, consider the companys needs. Dont just write about what you want from working there. Instead, show the hiring manager how your goals align with theirs. For example:
Resume for First Job Objective
High school honors student with two years of volunteer experience. Aiming to use acquired interpersonal and problem-solving abilities to effectively fill your retail position. A quick learner looking to fulfill the company mission and grow in the role as fast as possible.
If you can quantify several of your core skills, a different type of introduction might benefit your overall application. Its important to learn how to start a resume in the way that best plays to your strengths.
How To Write A Professional Summary Or Objective Statement
Both professional summaries and objective statements are short statements, usually just two to four sentences, that serve as the main introduction to your resume and yourself.
Whereas a professional summary serves as a sales pitch that outlines your career experience and top highlights, an objective statement focuses instead on what you hope to achieve if hired for this new job.
The professional summary is ideal for more experienced candidates because it focuses on your expertise, skills and achievements. Meanwhile, the objective statement is better-suited for entry-level candidates or those who are changing careers because it shifts the focus from what youve done career-wise to what you hope to accomplish given the chance.
If you have some work experience, it is a better choice to use a professional summary because it will make a more convincing case for you.
Now well go into more specifics about what makes a successful professional summary or objective statement.
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Formatting Sections On A Resume
Clearly separate resume sections by formatting them in underlined and bold using a size that is one or two points larger than the rest of the text. This helps a hiring manager easily scan through your resume and pick out the important information fast.
When creating a resume, especially when you have no experience, it saves a lot of time to use a resume building template. Using a free resume template allows you to focus on writing the content without spending too much time on formatting.
What Are Some Examples Of A Good Resume
Heres the thing: Your resume wont ever look exactly like someone elses, nor should it. How you choose to format it, organize your information, and talk about specific experiences depends not just on your career path, but on your field, the job youre applying for, the company that job is at, and more.
So there isnt a universal way to do a resume. But there are common themes. To give you some context as to how yours might turn out, here are three examples of different kinds of resumes.
Include A Skills Or Strengths Section
Including a skills, key strengths, or competencies section on a resume is a great way to let employers know what hard skills and soft skills you bring to the table. Indeed defines hardskills as abilities specific to the job and softskills as abilities that can be applied in any job .
So how do you know which of your many talents to list on your resume? According to The Balance Careers, Some skills are in high demand for employers hiring college graduates, and there are other skills that specifically relate to the job for which you’re applying. Try reviewing several job descriptions specific to the industry or role youre applying. Be sure to focus on the key desires and requirements employers emphasize for candidates. Jot down a list of the ones that stand out, then review how their desired skills match your core competencies. From there, you can decide which key strengths to include on your resume.
Organizing Your Contact Information
When adding your contact information, start with your full name at the top of your resume you can use a larger and bolder font than the rest of your resume. Then add your city/state location, a professional email address and phone number. Including a physical mailing address is considered to be very outdated.
Please note that a professional email should be one that is a close reflection to your proper name: e.g.,
DO NOT include a non-professional email: one that is reflection of your personal interests or hobbies, e.g., . A hiring manager may not be inclined to treat you as a serious candidate.
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List Any Relevant Certifications
Many fields require specific credentials and certifications. If you have them, position the certifications on your resume where they can be easily seen. Some creative resume templates even place your certifications at the center of the resume, which is a good way to highlight them.
If youre unsure what certifications to get for your target industry, look at job analysis sites like Onetonline. Online resources like these have detailed information about what certifications, skills, and education are required for a wide variety of professions.
However, if you dont have job-specific certifications that apply to your new career but have similar ones, you can mention those too. Ultimately, any professional certification or qualification is good, and should be featured on an effective career change resume.
Fourth Keep Your Summary Short
A resume summary should be no longer than 2-3 sentences or bulleted points in a list. Space is limited in your one-page resume, so keep your summary short and straightforward.
Award-winning digital producer with 10+ years experience in supervising and creating digital media content. Adept in complex and compelling storytelling.
Proven leader of international sales organizations offering 20 years of experience in developing successful growth strategies and training team leaders. Known for crafting compelling marketing strategies. Effectively managed multi-million dollar, multi-product global businesses on several continents.
Blending lab management experience and academic training as a PhD in microbiology. Background includes office administration, event planning, and scheduling expertise.
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How To Write A Resume For A Career Change
Learning how to write a great resume as someone changing professions with little relevant experience can seem difficult.
Fortunately, it doesnt have to be. Anyone can write a strong resume to change careers by emphasizing these two things in their application: 1.) relevant experience, and 2.) transferable skills.
To make sure you hit upon that relevant experience and target those transferable skills in your career change resume, follow these five steps:
Use Your Work Experience To Highlight Transferable Skills
The work experience you list on your career change resume should reflect your transferable skills.
Think about experience from previous jobs that applies to work in your new industry, and then make bullet points in your experience section that highlight those skills in action.
For example, if youre transitioning from a career in marketing to a career in NGO fundraising, you should highlight your ability to convince people to part with their money for a product or cause.
Transferable skills are valuable because they make it easier for you to transition into your next position, where you have less actual experience.
A well-written experience section for a career change resume should read something like this:
Career change resume experience section
Intern at Greenway Construction, Hartford, CT
Implemented Riverway Cleanup Initiative for Connecticut River.
- Organized weekly teams of volunteers to meet and remove all litter from 2 mile section of Connecticut River embankment.
- Liaised with environmental soil sampling company to analyze riverbank soils for contaminants.
Manager of Sustainable Computer Systems, New York, NY
Led a computer recycling program that saved a company $1.3M per year and provided refurbished computers for impoverished neighborhoods.
Additionally, there are certain skills that are universally important. Leadership skills, for instance, can be applied to a broad range of professional contexts, making them a strong addition to any career change resume.
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Proofread Your Resume And Finish Strong
Once youve written your resume and cover letter, youre in pretty good shape to send out that first application. However, youre not quite done yet.
The most important step before sending out any resume is to read it over and make sure that there are no issues that could get your application discarded.
To help make that process easier, heres a checklist you can go through to make sure your resume is looking spotless:
The Resume Genius Resume Checklist
Is your contact information accurate?
Does your resume NOT include details like headshots or sensitive personal information?
Does your resume fit on one page ?
Is your information easy to read ?
Is the design of your resume appropriate for the position youre applying for?
Did you include all relevant sections on your resume?
Did you include quantified achievements in your work experience section?
Does your resume address the requirements stated in the job ad?
Is your resume free of typos and grammatical errors?
Is all of your information clearly formatted and professional?
Feel free to use our on-page checklist, or and begin reviewing your resume.
Create A Clear Education Section
If you lack professional experience but have a good track record in school , your education section should be highly detailed to highlight all of your education-related accomplishments.
On the other hand, if you possess more than a few years of professional experience, then its appropriate to keep your education section short and sweet.
Additionally, if youre a student or recent graduate, list your education section above the experience section of your resume. This way, you emphasize your most marketable qualifications at the top of the page.
Here are the main points to include in a standard education section:
- The names of your university, community college, or technical school
- Location of the schools
- Date of graduation
Additionally, include relevant coursework on your resume if youre a recent graduate and dont have much work experience yet.
Here are two examples demonstrating how to format your education section:
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Prioritize Education Vs Experience
For college students or recent graduates, it can be difficult to decide whether to list your education or experience first. Notice in Jonathans resume below, he lists his education history first to showcase his student activity and accolades, like the Best Student Web Developer Award. Thats because his educational accomplishments demonstrate more enthusiasm and mastery of his technical abilities than his limited experience as a freelance web developer with just two work projects completed.
Not sure whether to list your education or experience section first? Figure out which one allows you to present your most pertinent and remarkable information. If your main selling points come from your college experience, then be sure to list your education section first. Then you can get really creative in emphasizing your academic history and accomplishments, as discussed next.
Explain How You Used Your Time To Grow
If you retired more than a year ago, consider explaining how you used your time away from work to grow. Consider also including volunteer work you did or new skills you learned, even if they do not directly relate to the position you apply to. If you took continuing education classes, for example, mention that in your summary or cover letter. You can increase your chances of getting a job if you show that you spend your spare time growing and learning.
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Choose The Most Suitable Format
Before you start writing anything, the first step is to decide on the right format for your resume. There are three basic resume formats used by job seekers today: reverse-chronological, functional, and combination. Each format has advantages and disadvantages based on how the resume sections are arranged:
What Is The Best Way To Layout My Resume
Your resume must look clean, clear and well structured, with enough white space to enhance readability. Use a simple font like Arial 10 or 12 point, and keep formatting, such as italics and underlining, to a minimum. Bullet points are extremely useful as they allow you to highlight key points succinctly and keep the document tidy. Start each one with an action verb if you can , rather than I.
Spelling and punctuation must be perfect, so after you proofread and spell check your resume, give it to a friend to do the same. Hiring organisations are inundated with so many applications that unnecessary mistakes can see yours rejected.
As for the document layout, most organisations will upload your resume into their database so make sure it is in a commonly accepted format that follows the below structure. We recommend a cleanly formatted Microsoft Word document or PDF with no graphics, images, no fancy formatting or fonts. While a creative CV may look good, graphics and special fonts can be difficult for an ATS to process.
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Start With Your Basic Information
Your contact information should always go at the top of your resume. In this header youll want to include anything that could be helpful for a recruiter to get in touch with you. Usually, this means adding in:
- Your full name
- Your phone number
- Your personal email address
You might also choose to include other basic information, such as your LinkedIn or personal website URL, your GitHub , your social media profiles , or your address. If youre looking to move for a job, you may choose to leave out your address or write open to relocating to better your chances of getting an interview.
The key is to make this part as clear as possible. If a hiring manager cant reach you, theres no point in perfecting the rest of your resume.