Things You May Not Think About When Writing a Resume
Even if you’ve created numerous versions of your resume over the years, there are so many guidelines to follow when writing one that it’s easy to forget about one or two of the more important ones.
First, you want to make sure to include the following key components in your resume:
- Contact Information
- An Opening Statement, preferably a summary of skills and experience
- Your Experience
- Your Education
- Other, Relevant Skills
- Awards and Recognitions, if any
- Any Relevant Extracurricular Activities, such as organizing a charity event, participating in or coaching a sports team or directing a community theater group
Once you have developed this outline of the information you are going to include, here are the most important rules of thumb to think about as you write your resume:
- Customize each resume you plan to send to the company you are approaching and the position you are pursuing. That means you want to do some research on the company and its mission, culture, etc. to get a sense of what’s important to them.
- Make sure you have a professional email address --- one that simply uses your name, such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Make sure to include your phone number in addition to your email address so the hiring manager can easily reach you.
- Have a “Summary” at the top of your resume that describes who you are and what you bring to the table. Hiring managers want to know what’s in it for them, so this “Summary” works better than an “Objective” that would be more focused on what you are looking for.
- Add an “Areas of Expertise” or “Skills” section to your resume to emphasize or highlight specific information.
- Add any relevant volunteer experience, especially if you don’t have other experience.
- Your “Experience” section should go back in time about 10 years, unless there is experience earlier in your career that is highly relevant to the position you’re targeting.
- Place your “Education” section before “Experience” if you have just graduated and have less than five years of experience. Your most recent degree or education level achieved should be listed first. Only include your high school or GED information if you don’t have any college credits.
- Bullet sections or paragraphs of information to make your resume more readable and help employers locate specific expertise more easily.
- Use keywords from the job description to get the employer’s attention. Many employers look for them or use automated tools to scan resumes for them, so including the keywords will help ensure your resume isn’t overlooked.
- Use action words or verbs to describe your skills, qualifications and job responsibilities. For example, “Trained and managed a team of 15 high-performing sales associates as ABC Company’s Sales Director,” “Contributed to the company’s sales growth by exceeding quarterly sales quotas,” and “Assisted the executive director in coordinating the expansion of the Women’s Health Care Center.”
- Most importantly, proofread your resume several times before sending it to ensure there are no spelling, grammar or typographical errors. Have a friend, colleague or family member proofread for you as well --- a second set of eyes never hurts. The typo you miss could be a glaring deal-breaker to a hiring manager.
Your resume is the most important step in your job search, as it provides a portrait of who you are to the prospective employer and helps them form their first impression of you. It impacts how you measure up against others competing for the same job and whether you move to the next level --- an invitation to a job interview. By following these “Rules of Thumb,” you’ll greatly increase your chances of getting to that next level.
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