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What A Professional Resume Should Include

Who To Use As A Reference + How To Request Them

What Should You Include on a Resume?

Choose your references carefully since they could be the difference between landing a desired job or continuing your search. You want to select people who can speak to your talents, skills, and abilities, especially if they are pertinent to the open position. Typically, the best people to include as references on your resume are:

  • Managers

  • Academic advisor

  • Client

Avoid using family and friends on your reference list. Your list should include only people who can speak of your professional abilities. If you worked for someone with whom you had personal ties, you might want to leave them off your reference list too.

When considering who to include on your reference list, make sure you are comfortable with these people knowing you are looking for a new job, especially if they are someone you currently work with.

There are times when you may be asked to include a personal reference. This is someone who can speak to your character, integrity, and personality. Good personal references may include:

  • Teachers

  • Volunteer leaders

  • Religious leader

Only include a personal reference if asked. Otherwise, stick to references that can speak to your professional abilities.

It’s good etiquette to ask if you can list someone as a reference before adding them to your resume. A quick phone call or email is all it takes. Ask if they are willing to be a positive reference in case a potential employer reaches out. Allow them to pass if they are unable or don’t have the time. That’s their right.

Listing Accomplishments On Your Resume

While your resume should highlight your skills, education and professional experiences, you also want to consider emphasizing your accomplishments and achievements. Accomplishments and achievements can be stand-alone or be included throughout your resume in your summary, professional experience, education and skills sections. Listing achievements on your resume can help employers better understand your strengths and talents while setting you apart from other candidates

In this article, we discuss how to add accomplishments to your resume and show examples of how to do it.

How Long Should A Cv Be

A standard CV in the UK should be no longer than two sides of A4. Take a look at our example of a chronological CV for inspiration.

That said one size doesn’t fit all. For example, a school leaver or recent graduate with minimal experience may only need to use one side of A4. Although not used as often, a three-page CV might be needed for those in high-level roles or for people who have gained a lot of experience or worked in multiple jobs over the last five to ten years. For example, some medical or academic CVs may be longer depending on your experience. While it’s important to keep your CV concise you should also avoid selling your experience short.

To save space only include the main points of your education and experience. Stick to relevant information and don’t repeat what you’ve said in your cover letter. If you’re struggling to edit your CV ask yourself if certain information sells you. If it doesn’t cut it out. If it’s not relevant to the job you’re applying for delete it and if it’s old detail from ten years ago summarise it.

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How To Write A Resume Summary

A resume summary is a 2-3 sentence summary of your entire professional career. If you have more than 2 years of work experience, youd opt for the resume summary instead of an objective .

The core structure of a resume summary should contain the following information:

Jobs and years of experience

  • Senior front-end developer with 10+ years of experience in Angular and ReactJs

Relevant achievements and responsibilities

  • Specialized in developing e-commerce solutions following agile development principles.

What you are looking for. Your goal.

  • Seeking a position as a front-end lead developer at a startup company

To make sure your resume summary is memorable, make sure to mention how your previous experience on motivation will be beneficial to the company youre applying for. You should include the following information:

  • What can you do for them?
  • How will your previous experience fit in the companys current environment?
  • How can you help their company grow while pursuing your own personal goals simultaneously?

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Remove A Hobbies And Interests Section

âSometimes listing your hobbies and interests can help you stand out from the job-seeker crowd,â says Jennifer. âBut tread carefully: Some hobbies/interests can have a negative effect based on the personal biases of your audience.â

If you feel strongly about your hobbies or interests, include them in your summary section as opposed to their own section, and stick to the main one or two that make you stand out as an applicant and a co-worker.

Safe hobbies or interests that can set you apart from other applicants:

  • Musical talent: if you play an instrument, sing in a band, or write music

  • Physical activities: If you hike, swim, or kayak

  • Community-focused work: if youâre involved with charity work, Eagle Scouts, or local theater

Steer clear of anything with a religious or political affiliation.

A better way of including hobbies or interests is to join LinkedIn groups related to the topic, or posting about your passions on LinkedIn or another blogging forum. You can also establish yourself as an expert or thought leader on Reddit and Quora, which will likely come up when an interested hiring manager looks you up online before calling you in for an interview.

Example: Including interests/hobbies in a resume summary:

Make The Right First Impression With A Resume Summary Or Resume Objective

Nowadays, it takes less than half a second for someone to swipe left and discard your entire worth on Tinder.

Luckily, when applying for a job, you wont be swiped left based on how you look. Youll get discarded if you fail to catch the HR managers attention.

On average, it takes an HR manager or recruiter around 6 seconds to decide whether your resume goes on the discard pile or not.

Thats why you want to leave a good first impression. Just like you did with that Tinder profile photo you uploaded from the time when you still had abs!

When writing a resume, the best way to achieve that is by writing a killer resume summary or objective.

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What To Put On A Resume: 7 Things To Include

If youre wondering what goes on a resume, Im going to share everything you should include to get more interviews, including:

  • What to put in a resume for experienced candidates
  • What to put in a resume if you have no experience
  • What NOT to include in your resume
  • How to look at the job description for clues about what skills and experience to put on your resume to grab each employers attention. .

Heres exactly what to put on a resume, based on my experience as a recruiter

Describe Your Achievements Using Numbers And Percentages To Back Them Up

Should You Include Your Publications On An Industry Resume?

When possible, you should back up your achievements with numbers and percentages.

This is how you show the employer that youre a high-achiever.

To show you how this looks in practice, lets take an example of an achievement for a customer support agent:

Increased customer support ticket closing satisfaction rate

While this is definitely a good start, it doesnt actually mean anything. Anyone could say theyve done this – but theres a huge difference between someone who increased the satisfaction rate by 0.5%, and by 30%.

What if you rephrased it as:

Increased customer support ticket closing satisfaction rate from 47% to 72% within 3 months.

Now, this is a lot more actionable. The hiring manager can see how good you are, and how youd be an asset for the company.

In this case, its instantly clear that you know what youre doing, and your resume goes directly to the YES pile.

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Final Step To Gain An Unfair Advantage: Tailor Your Resume To The Job Description

I recommend tailoring your resume to match the job description before sending it out for each job. Look at the skills and keywords listed on the job description as youre writing your resume, and include matching information as much as possible.

Recruiters are always evaluating your resume relative to the job opening, so the more you can include skills and professional experience from their job posting, the more interviews youll get.

Customize your career summary statement, work experience, and even skill list. You can use the job posting to discover new ideas of what to include. You can also reorder your content and even remove one or two areas that arent relevant to the jobs you want next.

Heres a full article on how to easily tailor your resume for each job.

It will take you slightly longer to customize each job application, but youll get far more responses.

Would you rather apply for 50 jobs and hear back from one? Or apply for 25 jobs and hear back from four?

Thats the type of difference tailoring your resume can make.

Now you know what goes on a resume and how to make each section attractive to employers.

If you follow the steps above youre going to have a great resume that grabs attention and shows recruiters and hiring managers why they should interview you immediately.

Whats A Resume Objective & When To Use It

A resume objective is, in a nutshell, the goal of your resume. It communicates your motivation for getting into a new field. As with a resume summary, a resume objective should be around 2-3 sentences.

As weve mentioned before, a resume objective is the go-to for anyone that either has no work experience or is going through a career change.

Formula to Create Your Resume Objective:

Looking to apply my at

to help .

Examples of Resume Objectives

1) So, heres how that would look like if youre a student:

  • Hard-working recent graduate with a B.A. in Graphic Design from New York State University seeking new opportunities. 3+ years of practical experience working with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, creating illustrations & designing UX / UI. Looking to grow as a designer, as well as perfect my art, at the XYZ Design Studio.

2) Or, on the other hand, if youre going through a career change:

  • IT project manager with 5+ years of experience in software development. Managed a team of developers to create products for several industries, such as FinTech and HR tech. Looking to leverage my experience in managing outsourced products as a Product Owner at XYZ.

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Design & Formatting Tips

The subject matter of your resume is ultimately what recruiters care about most. However, that doesnt mean you should slack off when it comes to design and formatting. A cluttered, visually confusing resume makes it more difficult to read, and therefore more likely that recruiters and hiring managers will cast it aside. On the other hand, a sleek, polished resume will have the opposite effect. Use these rules of thumb to ensure that your resume looks its best.

  • Use an easy-to-read font of no less than 11 pt.
  • Add margins of at least .7 inches.
  • Make sure theres sufficient white space between sections.
  • Dont go overboard with intricate design or decoration touches of color are fine, but avoid any clashing or visually busy details.
  • If youre going to print out copies of your resume, invest in good paper and use a high-quality printer.
  • Dont save your resume as a PDF unless the application specifically says it accepts PDF files. Some applicant tracking systems scan PDFs as if they were one big image, which fails to capture your information.
  • Keep your resume to 1-2 pages max, unless youre in a field like academia or medicine and must cite papers and publications.

Want some specific examples? You can find attractive and effective resume templates here and here.

Resume Summary Example For Stay At Home Mother

Heres what your resume should look like in 2018

Performance-driven and knowledgeable Stay At Home Mother skilled at conducting detailed market research, developing new sales tools, creating reports, and promoting products and services. Certified Marketing Management Professional with an extensive knowledge of multiple marketing software programmes, great communication skills, and excellent teamwork abilities. Currently looking for any Marketing related remote part-time job.

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List Your Skills In A Separate Skills Section

If you want to support your professional experience with skills that are required by or relevant to the employer, you could include a separate skills section that highlights keywords from the job description. If you have extensive professional experience, your job history section should be highlighted as the first thing employers see. You can list additional skills in a separate section at or near the bottom of your resume.

Here is an example skills section for a payroll specialist:

*Relevant skills: Mastery of Quicken and Quickbooks, employee benefits administration, new hire onboarding, multistate payroll, employee relations.*

Here Is A Good Sample For Someone Who Is In The Middle Of A Career Change:

This is a good example because it hits on everything we discussed above. Its specific. We know exactly who this person is , what company theyre applying to , both how they benefit the company and what value they bring and best of all, its short and to the point.

In just a few words this individual has taken what might seem like a totally unrelated field and shown how the skills and experiences they have directly translate to the job theyre applying for. Brilliant!

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Tailor Your Resume And Optimize For Applicant Tracking Systems

Its very easy these days to fire off your resume to dozens of jobs, but if youve tried this method, you may have been disappointed by your success rate. Thats because you didnt take the time to customize your resume for each individual roleand recruiters can tell.

The most impactful thing you can do to improve your chances of getting interviews is tailor your resume to each and every job. Customized resumes that align with job requirements and include keywords from the job description will stand out to recruiters who often receive hundreds of resumes for each role.

When you tailor your resume to the job, youre also optimizing for applicant tracking systems., because many ATS allow recruiters to filter and search by keyword. Want to see if your resume is well-tailored? Use Jobscan to see your match score and discover missing keywords.

Dont Use Clichs Or Jargon

Should You Include References on Your Resume? | Resume Tips

Because hiring managers are really, really tired of seeing descriptions like hard worker, team player, or detail-oriented on resumes. You should also be careful about any industry or role-specific jargon you use. In many companies, if you want to your resume to land on the hiring managers desk, youve got to get it past HR firstwhich means putting everything in terms a layperson can understand.

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Should I Label It Hobbies And Interests

Here is where you may want to change it up. When you think of hobbies, you think of crafts, fishing, sports, music, etc. You may want to change the label of this section to be more professional.

You can label this section of your resume:

  • âActivities and Interestsâ

You can change the labeling a bit depending on what youâre putting in.

Professional Summary Example For Receptionist

Customer-oriented and performance-driven Front Desk Assistant skilled at performing various administrative tasks, improving all office processes and procedures, and providing support to Office Managers. Great communicator with a Business Administration degree from a well-known university and an exceptional ability to remain calm in stressful situations. Possess well-developed communication skills and excellent time management abilities.

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Changing Times For Resumes

It goes without saying that resumes these days are delivered as email attachments, not printed out and mailed.

Although the two-page maximum still stands, many applicants use the web to the max when it comes to attachments. Video introductions, charts, graphs, and other illustrations can make you stand out, as long as they’re relevant and slickly made.

Three Exceptions For Hobbies And Interests:

What to Include in a CV: 6 Must

1. Your hobbies section is too short

If you have a couple of relevant interests or hobbies, you might want to add some less-relevant information. âListingâ one or two hobbies tends to look visually unbalanced, so add in your zest for cooking or passion for pottery. Continue to shy away from dangerous or controversial pastimes.

2. Your interests align with the company youâre applying to

If the company is affiliated with anything religious or political, showing your similar affiliations might be a good idea. Tread with caution here, though.

3. Your hobbies prove your work culture fit

Some companies value cultural fit very highly. If you find out that this company has an Ultimate Frisbee team and youâre the captain of your hometownâs recreational team, go ahead and list it!

Itâs okay to list out a few interests outside of your work life as it shows some personality and adds a human touch. Remember to make an effort and lead with something thatâs relevant.

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