First Study The Job Posting
You need to figure out what to say before you figure out how to say it. And that starts with knowing what the employer wants, because youll never catch any fish if youre using bait they dont like.
Employers know what theyre looking for, and they usually spell this out explicitly when posting a job listing. What you need to do as a job applicant is to make the language of your resume match the help-wanted ad as closely as possible.
One reason this is so important is because of Applicant Tracking Systems , which rank resumes according to whether or not they contain the keywords an employer is looking for. The place to find these keywords is in the job posting. This is also why you should tailor your resume for each employer, changing it up each time you apply for a job in order to highlight the qualifications that each employer is seeking.
Making The Most Of Interests
Under interests, highlight the things that show off skills you’ve gained and employers look for. Describe any examples of positions of responsibility, working in a team or anything that shows you can use your own initiative. For example, if you ran your university’s newspaper or if you started a weekend league football team that became a success.
Include anything that shows how diverse, interested and skilled you are. Don’t include passive interests like watching TV, solitary hobbies that can be perceived as you lacking in people skills. Make yourself sound really interesting.
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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Limit Your Resume To One Page
You may have heard the warning not to exceed one page for your resume. For most people, this old rule of thumb holds true. You should be able to communicate everything you need to say on a single page.
Of course, there may be some situations where it makes sense to exceed a page. For instance, you may need additional bandwidth if youâre applying for upper management or a professorship at a college.
But otherwise, youâll likely be better off sticking to one page. If youâre emailing your resume, try saving it as a PDF first. That way, the recruiter will see the right page length and formatting.
Keep Your Resume Short And Direct
The No. 1 rule of writing a resume is to keep it short and to the point. The general rule is no more than one page unless you have a very good reason for it to be longer, like an extensive career or many highly applicable work experiences.
Your resume should target the specific job you are applying for. Sending the same resume off to every job you apply for will be a detriment.
“Don’t write a generic resume that could work for any job,” said Wes Lybrand, teacher and former assistant director at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Career and Professional Development Services. Be sure to prioritize your skills and qualifications for each job you try to land. Your resume “should be focused, clear and concise.”
An easy way to keep your resume trim is to only include recent, relevant experience. While that yearlong first or second job might have taught you a lot about the field, it’s not always necessary to include every detail from your entire career history.
“If an experience noted on your resume is from prior to 2000, consider striking it,” said Jane Trnka, executive director of the Career Development Center at Rollins College’s Crummer Graduate School of Business. “The skills listed are probably not the most relevant to the work you are currently doing or plan to do in the future.”
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Use An Appropriate Font
Fonts matter, so use one thats professional and easy to read. See our blog on best fonts to use in a resume. Well show you the good, the bad and the ugly, and you can make an informed decision from there.
There are several factors to consider in choosing the best font for your resume, but you want hiring managers to focus on the content of your resume, not the unusual font youve chosen.
Create A Page With Visual Balance
In line with the above advice, you want a resume where all the elements are balanced and evenly distributed on the page. You dont want a bunch of text at the top and nothing at the bottom. You dont want the bulk of your text to be on the left with very little on the right.
Your resume should look great at arms length, before anyone reads the first word, and this is achieved by striving for a balanced look.
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Resume Summary Or Objective
Its not a secret for anyone that first impressions matter, whether theyre in your personal life, or your career.
If you leave a bad first impression, chances are, its there to stay. After all, its very hard to change someones opinion of you.
The same applies to your job search – the HR manager spends around 6 seconds scanning each resume. Yep, your carefully-worded, hand-crafted resume only gets 6 seconds of attention. Unless, of course, you manage to leave an amazing first impression.
The way you accomplish this is through either a good resume summary or objective. Both are placed at the top of your resume, right around the contact information section:
So, heres what you need to know about the two:
Include Contact Information With A Caveat
Include all your contact information so that employers can easily get in touch with you. Give your full name, street address, city, state, zip code, phone number, and email address. If you have a LinkedIn profile or professional website, include those links as well. Under some circumstances, you might want not want to include your entire mailing address, but it is generally good practice to do so.
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Write A Resume Summary Statement
You may have heard of a resume summary statement. Theyre not super common, but they can be useful to include near the top of your resume if youre looking to add clarity or context to your resume. If youre a career changer, you might find a summary statement helpful in explaining your leap and tying your experience to your new path. Or if youre a more experienced professional, you can use a summary statement to highlight a theme that brings your career trajectory together.
Overall, you probably wont need a summary statement if your career is pretty linear and your bullet points do a great job of emphasizing what you have to offer in terms of skills and experience. But if you think it makes sense to include one, Take the time to think about what the person reading your summary wants to know before you write it, says McGovern. Good summaries explain why you do what you do and how it can help. For instance: Merging a background in ABC, I help companies improve XYZ through 123. Summaries shouldnt be any more complicated than that.
So, taking McGoverns example, you might say:
Merging a background in social media marketing and PR with seven years in the consumer tech space, I help companies improve their internal and external communication and brand awareness through data-driven, quality content and strategies that align with the modern trends of the space.
What Are Employers Looking For In A Resume
Hiring managers look for three things on your resume, What did you do? Why did you do it? And what was the result? says Muse career coach , owner of Career Therapy. If you can answer all three of these questions in…your resume bullet points, youre going to be on the right track.
Clear, easy-to-understand language is key. The truth is that most resumes make no sense. They are stuffed with jargon, they are too technical, and they are filled with redundancies. Try to read a resume that isnt yours and you will quickly realize that it feels like an alien wrote it, McGovern adds. Put yourself in the shoes of a recruiter who has no idea how your role workshow can you make your resume accessible to them?
The hiring manager also cares about more than just you and you alonethey care about you in relation to them. Hiring managers want to see if a candidate matches the requirements of the role theyre hiring for, Yurovsky explains. Your resume should paint this picture so the hiring manager not only knows what day-to-day responsibilities you can handle, but why you, above other, bring value to their organization.
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The Most Popular: A Reverse Chronological Resume
As previously mentioned, a reverse chronological resume is preferred by many coaches and HR experts, mainly because its super readable. When everythings in a clear order, its easy to skim and even easier to draw lines between experiences.
Who its good for: Just about everyonefrom students applying to internships all the way up to senior-level executives
Final Tips To Remember When Writing Your Resume
By the time the recruiter or hiring manager reaches the end of your resume, they will have more than likely made their decision about whether to add your resume to the interview pile or not. Here are three final tips to help your resume reach the shortlist:Firstly, tailor your resume for each application. To make the interview shortlist, your resume must demonstrate that you possess most or all the criteria required in the job. Tailor your application for each position you apply for by expanding on your experience relevant to the job and cutting back the less relevant parts. You should also show that you are genuinely interested in this job. Failing to tailor your CV by submitting a blanket application will not impress. So, weave into your professional summary the reasons that make you a good fit for this particular position and what specifically resonates with you about the organisation or role.Secondly, make sure you add quantifiable results. As mentioned above, providing evidence to support the claims you make on your CV brings it to life and establishes for the reader the value you could bring. However, not every role allows for the sort of measurement by which you can prove your expertise. If you find yourself unsure how to add quantitative evidence this blog provides some tips. Adding links to your LinkedIn profile and online portfolios of work can also help the reader build a better picture of your competencies.
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Leave A Judicious Amount Of White Space
White space is a term used to describe the parts of a page that contain nothing at all, and its vitally important to good design. Every once in a while, the eye and the brain need a break, and thats what white space is for.
Good page designers will tell you not to trap white space but to push it to the outside. This means you dont want big white holes in the middle of your document, but you do want them toward the outside. This is why you want to leave one space between resume sections, but not three because those three would create trapped white space.
So if your resume should end up being a little short, do not space it out internally by adding extra returns between sections. Youre better off putting an extra return or two at the top and bottom or using slightly larger margins.
Think Beyond Your Job Duties
Hiring managers don’t want to read a list of your job duties. They want concrete examples of your accomplishments in previous positions that show how you can make a difference in this new position. Rangel noted that specific merits are more engaging to read than just your experiences. For example, “I reduced operating expenses by 23% in six months” is far more interesting to an employer than “I have 30 years of sales experience,” she said.
When deciding what information to keep or cut out of your resume, focus on striking abstract traits and qualifications in favor of concrete, quantifiable results.
“The best resumes highlight a job candidate’s actions and results,” said Bob Myhal, director of digital marketing at CBC Automotive Marketing. “Employers want employees who get things done, and who take great joy and pride in what they do. Rather than a laundry list of your qualifications, your resume should reflect your accomplishments and enthusiasm for your career.”
You shouldn’t ignore your skills section either. Sade reminded job seekers to list any industry-relevant apps or programs they’re familiar with, and find ways to incorporate examples of their soft skills into their job descriptions.
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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.
Ramp Up Your Linkedin Profile
Beyond your resume, many recruiters check out your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is also a useful tool for reaching out to your network and discovering job opportunities.
So donât forget to build your LinkedIn profile with as much care as you do your resume. Use the same principles on LinkedIn as you do in your resume.
Use action verbs and highlight your accomplishments. You can also add testimonials from past employers or coworkers.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile and resume are consistent with each other. You wouldnât want a recruiter to ask why your LinkedIn profile tells a different story than your resume.
What Formats Should You Use
There are several types of resume formats you can choose from, including:
Traditional resume: Use this type of resume when you wish to highlight the importance of your job history and experience. This is the most-used resume by job seekers, where everything is listed in reverse chronological order, with your latest job first. The contact information comes first, followed by a summary and work experience, which should be the bulk of your content. After that, you can include skills, your education and additional sections, such as
Dynamic, detail-oriented operations manager with 20 years of experience in developing and maintaining all non-instructional services for a high school of 1000 students and faculty members.
Award-winning communication and management skills and ability to think outside of the box.
Expert at developing innovative programs and strategies that result in profound competency spikes for students in language arts and mathematics.
Fluent in French, German and Italian.
Proficient with SIS, Oracle-based FMPS, and Microsoft Office.
St. Anne High School, Brooklyn, NY.
Director of Operations, June 2012-Present
Develop and manage school’s budget, maintain all school data systems and directly supervise three office coordinators and two student interns.
Maple High School, Bronx, NY.
Education Director, June 2007-May 2012
Bradford High School, Brooklyn, NY.
Customize For The Job You Want
Respond directly to the job description and explain exactly why you are the candidate for the role. You can do this by relating your accomplishments to the elements of the job role.
Employers want candidates to understand the role they are applying for, and the more you can demonstrate this, the more your CV will stand out.
It might take longer for you to write your CV, especially when applying for a large number of roles, but it if it helps you to find your perfect position then it is time well spent!
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Clarity And Quantitative Stats
It’s important for you to be concise when discussing your qualifications, so the hiring manager knows what you can bring to the organization and understand your opportunities for growth. Stay clear of wordiness and prioritize the most valuable information you want your prospective employer to know about.
Example:Oversaw social media efforts that expanded conversion rates by 27% for client accounts.
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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