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.
Use Bullet Points Where Appropriate
Using bullet points in your experience, skills or education sections allows employers to easily read the most relevant information from your background. Bullet points should be used to list your achievements. Avoid using only one or two bullet points in a single section if you have less than three pieces of information, simply list them without bullets in sentence form or use other punctuation to separate different ideas.
For example, when describing a role youve held in the experience section of your resume, you would use bullets to communicate how you were successful in that role:
- Consistently operated overhead cranes, hoists, power tools and other project equipment safely
- Anticipated needs of 11 on-site workers and delivered parts to 23 field technicians
Completed weekly service reports, time cards and other related project equipment paperwork
In the education section, you might not have three or more ideas to share, so it might look something like this without bullet points:
CORAL SPRINGS UNIVERSITY, May 2020Juris Doctor
What Should A Resume Look Like
If your resume looks good, its more likely to catch the attention of hiring managers and be examined more closely. Use these tried-and-tested tips to create a resume that stands out for all the right reasons.
The example in this infographic shows you what a resume should look like. If youre still unsure how to transform your resume into one that looks like this, heres how to do it:
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Take Time To Edit And Proofread
Carefully edit and proofread your resume before you submit it. A resume that’s grammatically correct will make you look more professional and appealing than a resume filled with typos. While both Microsoft Word and Google Docs do a decent job of detecting technical errors, other tools, such as Grammarly, are better at catching minute grammar mistakes.
After you’ve cleaned up your resume, slowly read it over to look for any awkward phrases, inconsistencies, ambiguous descriptions, or poor word choice and tweak as needed.
Determine The Appropriate Length
We’ve all heard the conventional wisdom that one-page resumes are the way to go, that managers and recruiters lose patience with longer resumes and only spend 7.4 seconds reviewing the document anyway, so keep it short.
But a recent study from ResumeGo, a resume and CV writing service, found that recruiters and hiring managers were 2.3 times as likely to hire two-page resume applicants over similar one-page resume applicants. And the call-back benefits of including a second page increased the more senior the role candidates with longer resumes were hired more than 70 percent of the time for mid-level or managerial-level jobs.
This doesn’t mean you should pad your resume with irrelevant information or verbose sentences just for the sake of filling out two pages, but if you were struggling to cram all necessary details about your experiences or skills onto a single page, stop cutting and embrace a second page.
“If you’re an entry-level worker, you should probably stick to one page, but once you’re beyond that first job, we expect you to graduate to a two-page resume,” says Amanda Augustine, a career coach with TopResume, though she notes that “it would be very rare to encourage someone to write beyond two pages.”
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A Short Memorable Resume Summary
Instead of a boring resume summary that looks like everyone elses, design a short, pithy summary that describes your career level and goals, along with an achievement or two followed by soft skills.
This hooks employers, and makes them eager to meet you. Try this formula for a powerful 2021 resume summary, with examples shown for each component:
Job Title & Span of Experience
- Division CFO Metals & Manufacturing
- High-performance team-building and mentoring producing next-generation leaders
- Aligning technology with business needs in nonprofit and healthcare environments
- Models strategic objectives against cost and economic constraints
- 172% revenue growth against downturn market
- Multimillion-dollar IT initiatives in cloud and digital transformation
- New OPEX controls enabling 32% lower spend in overseas production
- Wharton Cybersecurity education
Then put it all together for a summary that wows employers in 2021:
Division CFO Metals and Manufacturing. Noted for high-performance team building and mentoring producing next-generation leaders. Models strategic objectives against cost and economic constraints. Led new OPEX controls enabling 32% lower spend in overseas production. TEDx speaker.
By including keywords, metrics, proper names, and distinguishing details in a concise and potent paragraph, your 2021 resume summary will be hard to resist.
What Does A Good Resume Look Like
A resume gives you the opportunity to present your background, experience and abilities to an employer before meeting with them. A well-written resume should highlight your qualifications for the position you have applied for. In this article, well review what makes a resume look good and provide some examples.
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Keep The Layout And Design Simple
Most employers use an applicant tracking system to scan resumes and check whether those resumes meet their needs.
If your resume cant pass the ATS, the software will automatically reject it before the hiring manager sees it.
Resume layouts with graphics or excessive design elements are too confusing for the software to process, so keep your resume simple.
These elements make for a less ATS-friendly resume:
Avoid these elements:
- Infographics: An ATS cant read images, only words.
- Uncommonfonts: The best fonts for your resume are easy to read and professional, like Calibri, Cambria, and Times New Roman. The ATS might not understand uncommon fonts.
- Graphics/tables: Just like infographics, most ATS software cant read graphics and tables.
- Unclear section titles: If the ATS is looking for your education section, it wont recognize that a section titled Stuff Ive Learned is the same thing.
- Uncommon file types: Most types of ATS software are programmed to read PDFs and DOCXs, but will reject an OTT file.
What To Put On A Resume If You Have No Work Experience
Now, if you just graduated and have absolutely no work experience, heres what I recommend
However, if you have absolutely no work experience, heres what to put on your resume
Were going to follow the sections outlined above, but move #5 up to #3 so it will be right below your Summary section.
So it will look like this
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List Work Experience Starting With Your Most Recent Job
Many hiring managers prefer chronological resumes because they present them with a timeline showing your career progression.
While there are two other resume formats, most job seekers should use a chronological resume because their work experience is usually their strongest qualification.
A chronological resume works for all industries and experience levels, is conventional and easy to understand, and clearly demonstrates a vertical career progression. Unless youve had long periods of time out of work or are switching to a different industry, stick to the chronological resume format.
How To Write A Resume Header
If you’re still using an old email address from high school, it’s time to create a new professional account. Choose a popular email provider like Gmail or Outlook and keep your address simple by using your full name or a variation of your first and last name.
Your contact information must be up to date so that potential employers won’t have any issue reaching you. Make sure to include your first and last name, phone number, and email address in the header of your resume, and double-check that these are correct.
If location is important or relevant to the company, you may also include your city and state in your header. You can usually skip putting down your full home address.
If you don’t have a lot of work experience but do have a portfolio of relevant work you can show, you should insert links to your personal website and/or online portfolio in your resume header.
You might also consider including a link to to help the hiring manager get a better sense of your professional presence. Steer clear of adding links to any other social media accounts unless the job specifically requires social media skills.
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Use Active Voice Throughout Your Resume
Active voice is short, concise, and to-the-point. When you write in an active voice, you show your prospective employer that you understand their time is precious. You prove that you can tell them just as much in a few words as someone else can say in endless sentences.
One example of an active voice might include: I led multiple group training sessions, and achieved superior results.
When you write in an active voice, your words come across as authoritative and powerful. It shows that you feel confident in yourself, and in what you have accomplished thus far. As an added bonus, an active voice helps you save space on the page, which is important when you are trying to add as much information as possible to your resume.
Second Consider Using Color
If youre applying for a job in the art or design industry, consider using color to add a personal touch to your resume. Make sure to use color carefully and if youre selecting a paper color, make sure it complements your font color. The text on your resume should remain legible. Refer to the color theory when selecting your resume colors.
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What To Leave Off
You don’t need to list your whole career history on your resume employers care most about what you’ve done recently.
In most industries, going back 10-15 years will be enough to demonstrate that you’re qualified. Detailing any positions beyond the 20-year mark could date you, clutter your resume, and likely won’t impress anyway, because they are usually your most junior roles.
Drop the year of your college graduation or other certifications unless their recency is one of your main selling points, as these too could date you, says Suarez.
You can also skip including a mailing address.
“Everything is online now. An employer will email or call you if they want to follow up,” says Salemi. Employers can also be thrown by the address if you’re applying from another state, she adds.
Save references until they’re requested. There’s no need to include them on your resume that’s limited real estate that needs to be used to showcase your experience and skills.
Unless your Twitter, Instagram or Facebook accounts are directly relevant to the role you’re applying for, leave them off, too.
And finally, eliminate pronouns, says Augustine. Resumes are written in silent first-person.
Why Your Resume Should Be Two Pages
Your resume will most likely need two pages to show your career progression. If you have more than 10 years of experience, youâll also want to include a professional summary and possibly a career highlights section. These are both excellent opportunities to fit in more keywords.
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Spelling And Grammar Mistakes
Always proofread your resume before you send it out! This includes double checking your contact information. It wont do you any good if you have the perfect resume and employers who want to hire you if they keep calling the wrong number or emailing the wrong email. Double check! Thencheck again!
Similarly, dont forget about punctuation! According to the Cawley Career Education Center at Georgetown University, be consistent in your use of punctuation throughout the document. For instance, either use periods at the end of all your bullets or not. Great advice!
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 Your Resume Should Be Three Pages
You could have more than two pages if youâre a high-level or senior-level executive or in a very complex, technical field. For example, a scientist may need more than two pages to showcase background, education, published work, and studies. An executive resume usually shows a clear progression of responsibility and job titles with many related experiences.
Your professional document can be three pages if you are actually writing a Curriculum Vitae . This is more common if youâre applying for jobs outside of the USAâread more about the difference between a resume and a CV here. In the US and Canada, there are some other industries that use CVs such as academia and medical.
Federal resumes also follow a different format and can easily be three pages or more.
For most job searches, you should focus on your most recent 10 to 15 years of experience.
âConsider utilizing your to fit the information that is important, but not strictly necessary on your resume,â suggests Caitlin.
âConsider utilizing your to fit the information that is important, but not strictly necessary on your resume,â suggests Caitlin, a ZipJob career expert and certified professional resume writer .
Read our article on for more information.
Adding Skills To Your Resume
Showcasing skills on your resume lets employers understand the variety of your strengths. While skill sets can vary, the best approach is to use keywords from the job description to show how your skills are relevant.
In general, there are two types of skills you should consider adding to your resume.
- Soft or Transferable Skills
- Hard or Technical Skills
What are soft skills?
Soft skills are self-developed skills that will be valuable to employers to many different types of jobs. Some examples of these include communication, teamwork, organization and leadership. Listing soft skills is recommended if you’re thinking about a career change where your skills would serve both industries.
For example, there might be a job that requires candidates to be very strong in teamwork skills. If youâve worked in team settings, and enjoy collaborating with other group members, this is a skill that you might want to call out.
Here’s a list of common soft skills:
What are hard skills?
Hard skills are specific skills that are learned to perform a certain task or master a craft. These skills are often completed during your job, and sometimes require specific education or training to learn and master. For example, some technical skills can include computers or hardware for jobs like a Web Developer or an IT person.
Here’s a list of hard skills for specific roles:
Why Your Resume Should Be One Page
Your resume can safely stick to one page if that is all you need to market yourself. One page resumes can be scanned over quickly by the human eye, so a one-page resume could appeal to in-person scenarios like job fairs and networking events.
If you have a two-page resume with no work experience, it probably contains filler words and information that isnât relevant to your current job application. Cut your resume down to one page by tailoring your resume to your relevant experience.
If youâre making a career change, your past experience is unlikely to be fully relevant to the new job target. Try to lead with your transferable skills and abilities if youâre in this position, rather than experience. A functional resume format may be better for you.
The same goes for recent grads. Odds are that you donât have two pages of relevant experience. However, some graduates have multiple internships, volunteer work, on-campus activities, or publications that belong on a resume. If you just graduated, read more about how to search for a job as a recent graduate.
Tips For Formatting A College Student Resume
Selecting the right font and font size ensures your resume looks presentable and professional. Stick with simple fonts, such as Calibri, Cambria, Helvetica, or Georgia. For example, you could use Georgia for your name and section headings, and Calibri for the rest of your resume.
Many contend that 12 pt is the ideal font size for the resume body, though if you’re having trouble fitting in some of the text, you may go down to 11 pt. What’s important is that you don’t make your font so small that it’s difficult to read at a glance.
For headings and subtitles, increase the font size about 4-6 pts larger than your body text. For section titles, consider using bolding, underlining, or capitalization to provide even more visual emphasis.
Setting your margins correctly is crucial to presenting an organized and readable resume to potential employers.
Microsoft Word’s default page margins are 1 inch the standard margin size for resumes. If you need a little more room, however, you can move your margins within a range of 0.5-1 inch. For instance, you could drop your top and bottom margins to 0.5 inches and your left and right margins to 0.75 inches.
Making your college student resume easily accessible means aligning your content in an effective manner. In most cases, you’ll left-align the bulk of your resume, including your contact information, as people’s eyes naturally move from left to right when reading in English.
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