In this post we will answer the following questions regarding;
1. Why is having a good resume important for my career?
2. How can a good resume help me find a job?
3. What can I do to create a good resume?
For employers, looking for the right candidate for a job can be like searching for buried treasure at a busy beach.
In an ideal world, every job you apply for would bring you in for a long, informative meeting.
In this meeting, you’d get to talk for hours about you and your career journey, your potential new employer and their vision for their business, and how you might fit into their vision.
In the real world, though, employers don’t have the time, patience, or resources to make that happen. Instead, they need a way to sift through applicants to know who it’s worth looking at closer. That’s where your resume comes into play.
Your resume serves as a first impression for your potential new employer, so make sure it captures who you are, what makes you special, and why you’re a good fit for the position you’re applying for.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW;
There are many different strategies for building a resume, and people will likely give you conflicting advice. To complicate things further, certain industries may have their own standards for resumes. Luckily, there are some basics to help you get from application to interview.
1. Format your resume in a way that makes it easy to read and understand.That means avoid using unusual fonts, changing colors, including images, or writing in all caps. Instead, simplify your resume to make the content it contains as clear as possible for the person reading it.
2. Spell check and proofread for any grammar mistakes, keeping an eye out for commonly misspelled words, dates you may have copy/pasted and forgotten to change, differently sized hyphens and dashes, and alignment issues.
NB: As you work to get the formatting right, note any gaps in your employment and be prepared to explain them. As recruiters read your resume, they’ll be looking for consistent employment and career progression.
3. Structure your resume so that every bullet point is impactful. Spend more space on recent positions and skills related to the jobs you’re applying for.
Your resume should express your story in a way that will help your potential employer understand the complexity, scope, and impact of your work.
4. While its exact format will differ depending on the industry you’re in, keep the length of your resume to 1 or 2 pages. After all, you don’t want whoever’s in charge of hiring to get lost in the details as they read it.
5. With each job opening you apply to, customize your resume to fit that particular job.This attention to detail will let whoever’s reading your resume know that you truly want to work at their company, and that you’re not just someone who’s mass-applying to hundreds of jobs at hundreds of companies.
6. Consider adding an objective section to your resume. For instance, you could say, “Sales professional with 4 years experience and excellent interpersonal skills seeking a mid-level position at a small, customer-centric company.”
Remember to keep your objective specific – if it’s too generic, the person reading your resume might question whether you understand the role or are serious about applying.
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7. While work experience will likely make up most of your resume, it’s good to include sections for education, activities, honors, and personal interests, too.
In the education section, list any post-secondary schools attended, including your degree, graduation month and year, grade point average if you’re currently in school or left in the last 3 years, and any relevant coursework and skills.
8. In the activities section, list any professional organizations, clubs, projects, programs, research opportunities, internships, and apprenticeships you’ve taken part in, noting any leadership roles you may have had in any of these.
9. For the honors and awards section, list any academic awards, presentations and publications, and speaking engagements you’ve received or done. If possible, note how selective these honors were to provide context.
10. In the personal interests section, list any hobbies and interests that contribute to your story, even if they’re unrelated to your education or work. For instance, you might include that you play violin, if that’s something you’re passionate about.
For each role in your work experience section, list your employer, position, and dates employed, telling the story of each job with bullet points.
Use your bullet points to draw parallels between your work experience and the requirements of the job you’re applying to. Make sure you focus not on the tasks you did but on the results you accomplished.
Describe challenges you faced, actions you took to address these challenges, and the results of your actions. Where possible, quantify your work with numbers and examples.
For instance, instead of just saying you managed a budget, say how much of a budget you managed. Instead of just saying you led a team, say how many people you led.
For instance, if you’re a marketing manager you might say, “Led a cross-functional 10-person team to develop and implement a global advertising strategy for $13 million, contributing to an 18% year-over-year sales improvement.”
If your skills are harder to quantify using numbers, offer concrete accomplishments. Even if your accomplishments don’t seem that impressive to you, recruiters will likely love the specificity.
It’s even more impressive if you can add “…compared to an average of 70 customers at 90% accuracy for my peers.” Providing data helps. Making it meaningful with a comparison helps even more.
As you detail your work experience, consider what the purpose was of each of your projects and what business value each of them added.
Were these projects started from scratch, or were they improvements upon operations that already existed? Did they increase productivity, and if so, by how much? How many people did your projects impact or support?
How did you fit into these projects – for instance, did you design, plan, or analyze them? What tools or software did you use? Did you use any special skills, especially ones transferable to the job you’re applying to?
As hard as you work to get all your info on one page, make sure you’re also representing your work consistently online and elsewhere.
Hiring managers and recruiters often use sites like LinkedIn to identify candidates for specific job openings, so make sure your resume and online profiles don’t conflict with one another.
While you may be sharing different versions of your resume with potential employers, make sure the basic timeline and dates of your work experience are consistent on and off the page.
Now that you know the importance and structure of a quality resume, let’s see what you already have and what you still need to add.
Want to save your time? These resume template can even help you craft an impressive resume and cover letter within the shortest possible time; fully and super easy editable in Microsoft WORD and Apple PAGES.