In the past, employees would look for a good job at a solid company and work there for their entire lives, climbing the company ladder until retirement.
Fast forward to 2021, and we are changing jobs and career paths more often than ever.
Take the 18-24-year-old age bracket, for example. On average, they’ll change jobs 5.7 times during that time period.
Why is this important?
Because your resume becomes even more vital to your career success. How else are you going to jump into that next job?
The problem is, not everyone knows how to write a good resume.
Learning this skill will allow you to stand out from the pack of other applicants and improve your ability to negotiate higher salaries and greater benefits.
This article is going to help you get there by teaching you about what to put on a resume to make it stand out. We’ll also cover some resume writing FAQs and share three examples of great resumes that you can use as inspiration.
When it comes to putting a resume together for your job search, you need to understand the big picture.
On average, job openings attract 250 applicants. Only 2% of those will get to the interview stage.
This is important to keep front of mind because if you want to make it to the top of the pile on a job recruiter’s desk, you need to stand out.
The top section of your resume has long been filled with a ‘resume objective.’ It’s a short paragraph that describes what you want, like this:
Job seekers should flip this resume format on its head and instead use a summary statement section that outlines what you have to offer them.
For example, rather than a statement like:
“I am an experienced CSR looking for a customer-facing role”
you might consider something like
“I bring extensive customer service and problem-solving skills to customer-facing roles.”
Speak directly to the hiring manager by outlining your key skills and how you’ve applied them during your work experience.
Most job advertisements and descriptions will share the key skills they are looking for in an applicant, so you should aim to align your own resume as close to them as possible.
A functional resume is, in some ways, like a little story that describes your work history. Except instead of starting from your first job and leading up until now, it starts with your most recent work experience.
The hiring manager is likely to be more interested in your last job at ABC Company than your first entry-level role.
Formatting is important in a world where recruiters receive hundreds of resumes each day.
A professional resume really stands out when it is easily skimmable. Using bullet points to list out skillsets, contact information, and technical skills can make it easy for employers to see what you’re all about at a glance.
If you have other experience that is relevant but not necessarily previous employment (such as volunteer experience), you should add it to the experience section of your resume.
This can add a bit of character to your application.
Below, you’ll find a number of items that should be on the top of your list to include on a professional resume or CV.
Resumes should never be a one size fits all affair.
Instead, you should aim to tailor each resume you send out to the job description or ad for the role you’re applying to.
This doesn’t mean you need to start from scratch each time. Things like your work experience and key competencies can stay. Just tailor the wording used to describe this experience to match what your prospective employer is asking for.
Most employers and recruiters will be able to get a good grasp of your responsibilities for the job titles you have listed.
For example, if you had a previous job as a bartender, there is little point in noting that one of your responsibilities was to make cocktails.
Ask yourself this question: what did I achieve in this position?
Hopefully, you made customers happy (and didn’t spill too many drinks)!
Let the numbers speak for themselves.
Rather than making blanket statements like “increased sales” or “lifted team performance,” bring some metrics into the game.
These statements can be rephrased to “increased sales by $40,000 in one year” or “lifted team performance by 20%.”
The summary section on your resume is the top, front, and center of the document. That is the most valuable spot there is.
Many recruiters will look here first. If they don’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll move on to the next applicant.
Your summary should avoid stating the obvious or including cliche descriptors such as results-driven, excellent communicator, and great people skills.
Save this space to detail your achievements. Highlight how you can bring value to their organization, like so:
You need to be honest with yourself when crafting your resume.
Ask yourself: is this information absolutely necessary?
If the answer is no, then it does not bring any value, and you’re making it harder for potential employers to get to the heart of who you are and why you’d be a good fit for the role.
Is short and to the point (usually one page)
Can be easily skimmed
Includes appropriate keywords in case the employer uses applicant tracking systems
Is directed specifically to a specific job, covering the hard and soft skills that have been listed as desirable
Includes links to social media profiles, such as your Jobcase profile or LinkedIn
Has a photo of you on it
A lot of job seekers neglect to put a photograph of themself on their resume, but doing so will significantly improve your chances of being remembered.
This resume is effective because it’s simple and clear with a strong design that features a headshot, recent work experience, and an effective visual representation of relevant hard skills.
Try not to stick to just one font on your resume.
Two or three fonts help to break up the design and guide the reader's eye. Just make sure you choose complementary fonts, like the resume above.
This resume focuses on using effective power words in the summary section, which describes the applicant’s years of experience in terms of the skill set they have developed.
Here are some tips for adding power words to your resume:
Need more inspiration?
We’ve got three more resume examples for you to check out here.
Though the terms tend to be used interchangeably, technically speaking, a CV documents your full academic history and tends to be more commonly used when applying for grants, fellowships, and positions in academia.
A resume, by contrast, is a more concise summary of your skills and qualifications specific to an available role.
You should generally list as many jobs as you’ve had, especially if they are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
If you’ve been in the workforce for some time, this list might be quite long, so it’s okay to drop off some of your older positions.
Aim for three to seven jobs to give your prospective employer a full picture.
No, you should never lie on your resume. It may risk the future of your employment with the company and your reputation.
There are a number of things you’ll want to avoid on your resume, such as:
Spelling and grammatical mistakes
Fluffy and unspecific points
Listing duties rather than accomplishments
Making it too busy or too long
Not using action verbs (resolved, increased, developed)
Incorrect or missing contact information, like your phone number
By following the steps in this article, you’ll vastly improve your chances of scoring the perfect job.
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