Here’s What People Are Saying About Us
Anatomy of a resume
Lynette Carlson is applying for her first full-time, post-internship social media manager job. She’s got some experience in both social media and copywriting, and she wants to leverage both of those roles in her next position. Since she wants to align her creative attributes with her analytical and technical skills in the social realm, she chose a two-column resume with her headshot to express herself and show her fun side.
Although her resume looks a bit unconventional, she kept it professional. All the necessary elements are there:
Contact information: Lynette provided her telephone number and email address so employers can contact her. She gives her city, state, and ZIP code to know if she is nearby or if she will have to relocate.
Summary: Since she already has a few years of experience in the field, Lynette chose to write a professional summary, rather than an objective statement, to introduce herself.
Skills: Lynette has a strong mix of hard, soft, and technical skills to apply to a creative social media manager role. The bulleted format makes them clear and easy for hiring managers to read, and they are perfectly balanced with her experience section since this resume is in the combination format.
Work experience: Work experience should be listed in reverse chronological order on a resume because employers want to know about your most recent positions more than older jobs, and because it makes your career progression obvious. Lynette has listed her work history correctly.
Education: Lynette placed hers at the bottom of her resume because her copywriting and social media management experience should take precedence. Since she has two degrees, she correctly listed the more recent one first.
Prepare your information
If you want to write an impactful, effective resume, you have to be armed with the facts, so the first step is to review your previous experience and write it down.
- Think about your work history: Who did you work for in the past, where were they located, when did you work for them, and what did you do for them?
- Assess your skills honestly.
- Read the job description for the specific requirements for the job. What skills, experience and characteristics are they looking for?
- Reflect on your accomplishments. Ask yourself “What was my impact?”
- Match your information with the job description
Start with an objective or a summary statement
Every effective resume must have either an objective statement or a professional summary, depending on the job seeker’s experience and goals. They’re necessary because they allow the hiring manager to get a good idea of who you are and what you offer quickly. If your summary or objective are convincing enough, then the hiring manager will read on.
Since your resume is a self-advertisement, look at the objective and summary statements as your sales pitch. Use them to promote your candidacy in three to five sentences. Include your top technical skills, personal traits and one or two achievements.
For example, “Award-winning, detail-oriented HVAC-certified commercial air conditioning technician with five years of experience prioritizing large volumes of work orders for commercial properties. Expert in troubleshooting and diagnostics with a proven track record of excellent customer service.
Write your work history in reverse-chronological order
Listing your most recent employer first and moving backward to your first employer provides a clear picture of your employment history and highlights steady progressions in your career. It can also accentuate employment gaps, career or industry changes, lack of experience and a pattern job-hopping, which is why it’s crucial to pick the correct resume format . If you lack job experience, then include volunteer service, internships, or relevant school and personal projects — they count!
Most companies these days use artificial intelligence (AI) software, called applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen resumes and cover letters before they get to a hiring manager. To ensure your resume makes it past this discerning technology:
Use keywords from the job description as much as possible.
Keep it clean. ATS systems can’t read graphics, tables and quirky fonts.
Save your resume as an MS Word file unless the employer requests otherwise.
Add your most relevant skills
After some reflection, you’ll probably wind up with a long list of skills you’ve gathered from your career, education and other activities, as well as the natural skills you were born with. That’s great! But for your resume to make an impact, you’ve got to choose only the skills that are most relevant for the job.
Add a variety of soft, technical and transferable skills for the biggest impact, but be honest about your abilities — your potential employer will expect as much if you’re hired.
Soft skills can be innate or learned and include traits like leadership, persuasion, storytelling, listening and negotiation.
Hard skills, also called technical skills, refer to the practical knowledge and tools needed to perform specific tasks. They include programming, quality control, analytics, mechanics and software.
Transferable skills are a range of hard and soft skills, such as verbal communication, software and planning, that can be used in multiple fields and industries.
Show what you’ve achieved
A typical resume’s job history section contains bulleted lists of an applicant’s job responsibilities for each position worked, which is fine, but doesn’t tell the employer anything compelling or memorable about the applicant. These resumes are often overlooked because hiring managers want to see what makes each candidate stand out. Employers want to see measurable achievements so they know what you’re capable of doing for them, so show them what you’re made of.
“Accountable for handling customer complaints for the sales department.”
“Created a grievance escalation procedure that reduced customers’ complaints by 40% over a three-month period.”
10 tips for writing a great resume
1. Consider your audience.
Hiring managers tend to be busy people so they don’t spend much time pouring over every resume that comes their way. That’s why it’s so important to make every word count.
2. Be concise.
Your resume must fit on one or two pages, maximum. Write short statements that reflect your best achievements and skills.
3. Target your content for the job.
A custom resume is a stand-out resume, so match everything you write to the job description. But be honest! If the job calls for someone with strong math skills and yours aren’t that great, focus on the skills you do have that match the position and tailor your achievements around those.
4. Use active tense.
Phrases written in an active voice (i.e., “Streamlined processes for a 50% increase in efficiency,”) are more engaging than those written in passive voice (i.e., Efficiency was increased by 50% due to new process”) because they denote authority and action — exactly what you want to present on a resume.
5. Be specific.
If you want employers to see your value, then you’ve got to be crystal clear about what you offer. Don’t announce that you’re a “results-driven problem-solver.” Prove it instead by giving a specific example of a problem you solved that stemmed from a results-driven approach.
6. Keep it simple.
For the most part, hiring managers prefer resumes and cover letters with clean and simple layouts because it’s easier for them to find the information they want. It’s perfectly acceptable to pick a template with a splash of color, but flashy graphics and stylized fonts might make you stand out for the wrong reasons.
7. Use power words.
Resume writers use them to improve clarity, readability and variety, and to evoke hiring managers’ interest. With hundreds of words to choose from and numerous ways to use them, you’ll never run out of fresh ways to describe your qualifications. Examples include: accelerate, optimize, resolve, initiate, transform, enhance and spearhead.
8. Be honest.
Lying can be a fatal mistake for your job search. If you get caught, not only could you lose the job but it could damage your ability to get hired in the future. Always stick to the truth. If you’re not the right fit for the job, move on until you find your match.
9. Focus on the employer.
This may seem counterintuitive because you’re trying to sell yourself, but objectives that mention what you want from the job, lists of job duties filled with pronouns such as “I” or “me” and life stories instead of summaries are big red flags for prospective employers. They want to know what’s in it for them, so write your resume in a way that tells them.
Red flags such as typos, inconsistencies, misspellings, improper fonts and missing information will get noticed and can turn hiring managers off. Walk away after proofreading once and review your resume again with fresh eyes to make sure everything is in its place.
Always compliment your resume with a cover letter
Resumes work best when they are accompanied by a strong cover letter . That’s because cover letters:
Add depth and context to your resume content.
Provide insight into an applicant’s personality and professional goals.
Can explain potential concerns the employer might have, such as job hopping, long gaps between jobs or the need to relocate for the position.
Give applicants the chance to express their passion for the position and interest in the company.
Allow applicants to show how their values align with the company and why they are a good fit for the culture.
Don’t forget to add ...
There are four basic best practices for every resume. As you craft your own unique document, keep these keys in mind:
Contact information. Add your contact information at the very top of your resume because without it employers won’t know how to reach out for an interview.
When writing your contact information, you don’t have to add your home address, but you must always include your name, email address and phone number. Add your LinkedIn profile link and your professional website address if you have them.
Educational details. If you are a student, recent graduate, or applying for your first job, it’s acceptable to put your educational details at the top of your resume, between your objective or summary and work history section. Otherwise, your education section belongs at the bottom of your resume, just after your work history section.
Always include the schools you attended, their locations, degrees earned, and awards such as Dean’s List or cum laude. You can add the year you graduated, but that’s optional. If you are a student or a recent graduate and you have a GPA of at least 3.5, then include it and it will impress employers.
Certifications, licenses and professional development courses.Include any professional development courses and certifications in a separate section.
Professional awards. Create a section at the very bottom of the page to highlight any professional awards received from the positions listed in your employment history section.
Choose a format
Your resume format frames your professional story and helps you organize your content, so the one you choose is as important as how you write your resume.
Pick a template
Once you’ve written your resume in the proper format then it’s time to give it some style. That’s what professional resume templates are for. The appropriate resume template will put the final polish on your resume with professional layouts and designs appropriate for your qualifications and goals.
How do I write a resume after a long period of unemployment?
When writing a resume after a long period of unemployment, spin your story in the best light. . Use your summary statement to emphasize the value your unique skills can bring to the table. Don't lead with your last job but rather, lead with the most relevant. If you have relevant training, put that above work history. Omit exact dates and simply include years.
How do I write a resume for a career change?
To write a resume for a career change, use a functional or hybrid format. These formats will emphasize your most relevant skills, accomplishments, and work experience. Our resume builder can help you decide which format to use based on the information you provide as well as your prior work history and the job you want. Use our resume builder to build an immediate resume.
What is important when writing a resume?
It's important to bear in mind each employer's immediate wants so that you can tailor your resume to fit. Always pull keywords from the job description when crafting your skills section and summary statement to help your professional resume bypass ATS.
Should I include references in my resume?
No, you should not include references in your professional resume. Prior to an interview, if an employer asks for references, include them in a separate document or in the body of an email. The only time it's okay to put references in a resume is if an employer specifically asks you to. Also, remember to ask your references ahead of time if you can share their information.
What should I do to make my resume stand out?
To stand out, lead with a strong summary statement that emphasizes your greatest and most relevant skills. Stress the value you can bring to the company. Also, list your duties as accomplishments. If you were responsible for cleaning the store at which you worked, say you "maintained the premises and helped the retailer win an award for the cleanest branch in the district."