Write A Matching Cover Letter
Now that you know how to write your dream resume, you might be wondering: is a cover letter necessary? The answer is yes, always include a cover letter if you have the option.
Knowing how to write a good cover letter helps you round out every application you ever send out, and boosts your chances of landing an interview.
Cover letters are a valuable tool in your job-hunting arsenal because they give you an opportunity to provide context to your resume, show off your personality, and express enthusiasm for the job youre applying for.
Heres an example of what a resume paired with a matching cover letter might look like :
Highlight The Important Information
Even if your information is in bullet format, it may still be difficult to quickly identify the pertinent skills and accomplishments that are important to the potential employer. If a bullet contains an impressive award or measurable accomplishment that illustrates your qualifications, then draw attention to this detail by bolding the text.
This type of strategic highlighting is illustrated below. While both phrases contain the same information, someone quickly scanning your resume will go to the bold information and note that you were exceptional at sales in this position.
Next Steps After Your Resume
Now that weve covered everything you need to know about how to create a resume, lets talk cover letters & interviews.
After all, your resume is only the first step in your job search. To really land that job you deserve, you also need to craft a killer cover letter, and ace that upcoming interview.
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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:
Include Keywords From The Original Job Posting
One of the best ways to make your resume stand out is to use the job posting as a guide. Schweikert says that she often tells people that is the first place they should look when revamping their resume.
Weve written the job description with certain words, Schweikert says. And when we see a resume with those words on it, those are the resumes that instantly get our attention.
Some companies actually conduct keyword searches when sorting through resumes, Schweikert adds, which means those terms are even more important to include if you want to secure an interview. It may sound tedious, but taking the time to customize your resume for each individual job you apply to is a surefire tactic to stand out among the pack of applicants, she says.
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Work Experience And Volunteering
If youre traveling for a long period of time, there may come a point where you need to work abroad to pick up extra cash. And many popular jobs, like working at a hostel reception, teaching English as a foreign language, or working as an au pair, often have skills that are directly transferable.
So include any and all relevant work experiences on your resume even if it was an unpaid work exchange. Its a good habit to get into to ask your boss to write you a reference before you leave the job.
Volunteer work will also earn favor from employers because it demonstrates your commitment to education, and shows that you have a strong motivation and work ethic to be contributing your time without pay.
If youre not keen on volunteering, or jumping on a plane without work in place, many careers have opportunities for work exchange, which will allow you to continue your career in another country and give you the opportunity to travel at the same time.
Show The Employer That You’re Qualified
Customize your resume. Dont send the same generic resume in for every job. Take the time to customize it by including the qualifications and skills the company is looking for so the employer knows you have the right stuff. As well as writing your resume to match the job, take a few minutes to update your job descriptions so they make the best impression.
Focus on your accomplishments. The employer wants to know what you accomplished, not just what you did. Focus your resume upon what you achieved in each job, not your job responsibilities. Review these tips for including accomplishments on a resume, and make sure you’ve included your most current achievements.
Include your most relevant skills. The screening system that employers use matches your resume to a designated set of qualifications. Include keywords on your resume that match the job-specific skills the employer is seeking.
Add a cover letter. A cover letter, even if its not required, is the best way to highlight the specific qualifications you have for the job. CareerBuilder reports that sending a cover letter is 40% more likely to get your resume noticed. You can use your cover letter to focus on the experience that best suits you for the job. Heres how to write a cover letter for a resume.
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Pick The Resum Type That Is Right For You
The type of resumé you use will depend on your work history and the kind of work you are applying for. Use the resumé type that highlights your best and most relevant skills and training. The following describes each type of resumé and provides links to an example of each:
- A chronological resumé is a good choice if the job you want is similar to the one you have now. It highlights your work, education, and training history in chronological order from most recent to oldest.
- A functional resumé may be best if you have gaps in your work history. For example, if youve stepped out of the workforce to travel, raise a child, or deal with an illness, this format will focus on your skills. It focuses on your skills and capabilities not work experience.
- A combination resumé works well if you want to change careers. It highlights your skills by organizing your information in skill categories then briefly outlines your work history.
Now that youve picked the type, you can custom-build your resumé. Doing this lets potential employers know that you understand what they are looking for.
Create An Original Resume Template
While it’s helpful to refer to a professional resume template, don’t follow it rigidly, said Claire Bissot, SPHR and managing director of CBIZ HR Services. Employers appreciate originality.
“I often pass over resumes that match Microsoft Office templates,” Bissot said. “The templates are meant to be a guide to get started, but it should be expanded on to make it your own.”
Format your resume in ways that make you look good. For instance, Bissot recommended, if you advanced in a company quickly, draw attention to that growth if you excessively job-hopped, bullet those jobs without providing specifics, and detail more applicable positions. This will play to your assets.
When structuring your resume, make sure the information is presented in a logical order, said Veronica Yao, a former recruiter and current marketing and community manager at #movethedial. “A hiring manager read your resume starting at the top and ending at the bottom. However, if they don’t finish reading the whole thing and they often don’t you still want to ensure your strongest points come across.”
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Your Resume Format Is The First Thing A Potential Employer Will Notice Follow These Tips To Make Sure Its A Positive First Impression
A smart resume starts with a design that’s easy on the eyes.
Between optimizing keywords and jotting down your accomplishments, writing a resume is no easy task. However, from a recruiters perspective, your resumes look is just as important as its content. Think about it: When you have to evaluate hundreds of resumes each week, youre going to spend more time on the ones that are both easy on the eyes and better for your attention span. But what should a resume look like in order for you to stand out from the competition?
Resume design matters. For example, if your resume format features wall-to-wall with text, uses several different fonts, and is peppered with dozens of bolded, italicized, and underlined words and phrases, its probably not going to get the attention it deserves.
So what makes a resume visually appealing? When you can quickly scan the document because it makes good use of white space, features clear and consistent section headings, and uses bullet points to make important items stand out.
List Your Experiences Or Skills
For Chronological/Combination Résumés, List Your Experiences
Starting with your most recent or current job, list your previous work experiences.
- This section shows where you have worked and when. It also states specific accomplishments for each position or job.
- This is where content can make your résumé run over a page, so be selective about what you include.
- Pick experiences that seem most relevant to the position you seek. For inspiration, think of your full-time or part-time work, summer jobs, occasional jobs, internships, fieldwork and special projects.
- Don’t worry whether your experiences are “good enough.” Employers admire people who have worked hard in a variety of positions.
- Always start each achievement with an accomplishment verb, like accelerated, achieved, expanded, influenced, solved, maintained, generated, effected, advised, controlled, trained or utilized.
- Don’t worry if there are gaps in the timeline, but keep everything in chronological order, with most recent jobs at the top.
Southwestern Writing Center, Peer Writing Tutor, Yuma, AZ
Camp Granite Falls, Area Director, Mountainville, TNJune 2013September 2017- Directed staff of four while supervising 20 campers.- Taught crafts, sports and cooking.
For Functional/Combination Résumés, List Your Skills
Self-Motivated: Proactively organized volunteers to assist with distribution at the community food bank.
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Why You Need A Resume
In todays job market, the resume has become the number one requirement potential employers request. Before an employer will take valuable time to interview you, he or she wants to meet you on paper. How you impress that employer with your resume can, and will, make all the difference.
Without a resume, you cant even begin to compete, and an inferior resume will quickly eliminate you before you even have a fighting chance. That is why it is imperative to have a superior resume, one that effectively lets employers know what you can do for them.
A Resume is a Summary of Your Qualifications
The term resume comes from the French and means a “summary.” Thats exactly what your resume is: A summary of your qualifications, skills, and achievements. It shows a future employer what you have done in the past. It details your skills and training, work experience, and education, and, most importantly, the accomplishments you have made with past employers.
It should also inform the employer of your career objective and communicate in a concise manner the benefits you will bring to the job if hired.
Skills Versus Employer Benefits
The Purpose of the Resume is to Get You an Interview
How often have you thought, “If only I had met with the employer in person, I could have convinced him that I was the right person for the job!” Your only chance is to compose an impressive resume, one that will get noticed and get you in the door so you can meet the employer in person and get the job.
Never Include These Certain Elements
While there are many elements you should consider adding to your resume, there are a few things you should never include on your resume because they waste space, don’t tell the employer anything relevant, or could damage your personal brand. This list includes, but is not limited to great employment references, writing samples, and photos of yourself. Do not add this information to your resume unless an employer or recruiter asks you to provide them. In addition, make sure you’re not using an unprofessional email address. Kegmaster2017@email.com may have sounded great when you were younger, but it’s not the right message to send to prospective employers. It’s easy to create a free, professional-looking email address for your job-search activities with platforms like Gmail.
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Research The Companys Culture
Take the time to go beyond the job description and do your research on the company. Schweikert suggests simply going on the companys career website to see what their values are. In addition to including your professional experience on your resume, think about including information relevant to that companys culture.
For example, if you see that a company participates in a significant amount of charitable work and you have volunteer experience, consider adding that to your resume, Schweikert says. And even if the company doesnt mention anything about volunteering, you may want to include it anyway about 80% of hiring influencers , indicated that they believe there is a relationship between volunteering and leadership ability, according to a 2016 Deloitte survey.
Before You Send Your Resume
Check for typos. Resume errors matter: dont think a spelling or grammatical error wont get picked up. Unfortunately, the mistake will jump right off the page and get noticed. Grammarly is a terrific tool for making sure that your resume and cover letters are perfect.
Give it a recognizable name. Dont call your resume resumetake a second or two to personalize the file name to FirstLastNameResume.docthat way its clearly recognizable as your resume to recruiters and hiring managers.
Save it as a PDF. If you save your resume as a PDF, you wont have to worry about funky formatting or the recruiter seeing a garbled mess. Unless the employer requires a different format, send a PDF so readers can view your resume exactly as you want it to look. Here are 11 free tools you can use to convert your resume to a PDF file.
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Add A Resume Summary Or Objective
After your contact information, you have the option to include either a resume summary or objective statement. An objective statement quickly explains your career goals and is a good choice for those with limited professional experience, such as recent college or high school graduates. A resume summary is a short statement that uses active language to describe your relevant work experience and skills.
Highlight Changes And Growth
In your CV you should focus on your personal development. Show how you have grown and changed in your roles, and the accomplishments you have achieved. This will show the recruiter that you have learnt a lot from your past positions, and that you are committed to learning and expanding your skill set.
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Start Your Own Digital Business
Another option if youre traveling for a while, is to set up and start your own digital business. This has never been easier with the technology we have access to these days, and it wont leave a gap on your resume.
Digital Nomads are increasingly common, where you work for yourself, remotely. This allows you to freely travel the world, while working from your laptop, and there are remote business opportunities available for almost every skill set.
For instance, jobs that may allow for this lifestyle could be teaching English as a second language, content creation like social media or blogging, or publishing an ebook. If you have professional skills in accounting, design, etc you can set up a business in those fields.
This is so common that companies like Xolo will set up your remote business for you, handle all your paperwork, invoicing, accounting you need zero experience to set up a business these days and everything is now done online.
Xolo is great for one-person-businesses like designers, copywriters, translators, software developers and consultants, and they take care of everything from business set up to accounting. But even if you want to develop your own brand and own a real company, theyll get you set up with a real EU company registered in Estonia .
Xolo Go vs Xolo Leap
More Soft Skills Than Hard Skills
As mentioned earlier, employers have a preference for seeing hard skills on a resume. The right place to highlight soft skills is your cover letter or in an interview, where you can better demonstrate communication skills, interpersonal skills, active listening, and more.
So as you review your resume, its a problem if you find many soft skills but few hard skills and job-related skills.
In fact, you should be looking to highlight these job-related skills in practically every resume section, starting with your resume summary paragraph.
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Hubspot Inbound Marketing Certification
With online marketing a major priority for many firms, every employee should have at least a basic understanding of its principles. When it comes to free certifications in that area, the Hubspot Inbound Marketing Certification Course is considered a real standout.
It can provide you with a better understanding of blogging, search engine optimization, online conversion analysis, social media, email marketing, and more. Consider it your basic primer for learning about digital marketing.
Add In Your Work Experience
This section will most likely be the bulk of your resume. Even if youre changing careers, employers still want to see where youve worked, what youve done, and the impact of that work to get a sense of your background and expertise.
Your Work Experience might be one entire category, or you might choose to break it up into Relevant Experience and Additional Experience to highlight the jobs that are most important for hiring managers to focus on. Either way, youll almost always want to have your most recent experience at the top and your older experience down below.
Within your work experience, youll want to include each official job title, the company , and the years you worked there. Below that, youll add in two to four bullet points explaining what you did in that job, the skills you built and exercised, the tools you used, and the results of what you did. If you accomplished a lot during your time there, focus on the responsibilities that made the most impact or youre the most proud of, as well as the ones that best align you with the job youre applying for . Its key here to list, if relevant, quantitative as well as qualitative accomplishments.
For example, you might write:
Associate Accountant, Finances and Co., Ann Arbor, MI
If you have a ton of experience and this category is starting to run long , consider kicking out your oldest jobs unless theyre super relevant to the job youre applying for, or extra impressive for your field.
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