What kind of company do you want to work for? What sorts of jobs are you seeking? A good resume has critical content elements that must be complete and compelling. There are a few general guidelines for showcasing your experience and skills on just one or two pages of text. Resumes are fairly predictable in features and information, but some choices have to be made. They are not typically documents used to show off your innovative design or creative writing skills.
Yet even then these resumes must remain cautiously creative. Start with the core content. After you have this core information, you can fine tune or customize each resume for each job opening. This is called "targeting" your resume. There are two types of fonts, serif and sans serif. Serif fonts have tails or feet and sans serif fonts do not. Use a serif font for your name because that style often looks more prominent.
Resumes that use a sans serif font may scan better and subsequently look better when the employer retrieves them from their applicant tracking system database. Put your full first and last names on its own line at the top of the page. Choose your favorite professional-looking font. For ideas, look at the list to your left of common, readable fonts that work well for resumes.
Your name can be in a different font than the body of the resume. Your address should not contain abbreviations. Include all 10 digits of your landline phone or mobile number. It should be a number where you can be reached at all times. Use a professional personal email address. Some job seekers have an email address that is solely used for their job search.
If applicable, also include your LinkedIn profile address. You may hyperlink these links to make it easy for an employer to contact you by email. Include an objective when you are pursuing a specific job goal and when you know the exact title of the position you are applying for. The objective statement helps target your resume. When applying for a specific job, use the title in your objective and even add the name of the company as in the following example: Here are a few examples of objective statements that indicate precisely what kind of position the job seeker wants.
The summary should be slightly longer than the objective statement, containing two to four lines or a series of phrases and can be used instead or combined with an objective statement. Below are two examples:. Certified and innovative Landscape Architect with extensive knowledge in construction, engineering and design.
Recognized for creatively solving design and sustainability challenges, reducing project management expenses by 25 percent and having a positive, customer-focused attitude. Professional Profile Certified Nursing Assistant with over two years long-term care experience caring for elderly and vulnerable adults.
Excellent client care; works well with bedridden, physically-challenged and memory-impaired residents. Commended for superior safety and attendance record. Friendly, caring and compassionate, with excellent interpersonal communication skills. Include a skills section to quickly and effectively communicate your experience and make yourself stand out from other applicants. Match your skills used in volunteer and paid positions from the list you have already created with the requirements and preferences included in the job posting.
Formats for skill lists include:. Bullet Point List with Results Format your skill section as a list of bullet points- that is three lines to five lines long. Limit each entry to two lines. Choose action verbs that demonstrate responsibility.
For example, "managed," "coordinated" or "designed. This helps make your abilities sound more diverse and adds depth to your resume. Use the list of action verbs provided in this chapter and in the job opening itself for ideas. Review your list of accomplishment statements to quantify your results. Grouping Skills by Topic Consider grouping your skills as job-specific qualifications below headlines such as Accounting Qualifications, Consulting Qualifications or Teaching Qualifications. Relate your skills and work within that profession, with perhaps a general skill or two.
Skill List This format is often used to list your competency using computers. Employers presume that applicants are proficient with word processing, spreadsheet usage and email applications, but if these skills are listed in the job opening, include them on your resume, Consider listing specific names of business applications such as Excel , SharePoint or Salesforce or industry specific skills such as CNC machine tools or types of CAD software.
Use a bulleted list, three to five lines long. List your most recent employment first. A general standard is to chronologically list in reverse order the last three to four jobs or those you have had over the past 10 years. Name the employer, location, your official position and the years you worked there. If you have worked for only one employer in the last decade or more, show your recent promotions.
If your job title did not change in the last decade you can still show job progression by showcasing how you took on more complex job tasks and increased responsibilities. How much information should you give about your past jobs? Focus on what you did and your accomplishments in various positions. Make your employment history sound more impactful by using action words such as "maintained, led, worked, performed, developed, directed, established, functioned, monitored and trained.
Use bullet points and make your sentences one line. Sentence fragments like "specialized in training employees to use proprietary software that resulted in a 15 percent reduction in data entry errors" work fine. List no more than four to six bullet points in describing your last job.
Then use two to three points for subsequent positions. Although contact information is typically given on an application or reference sheet, many resumes still list the employer name, city and state. Other job seekers might limit this information to keep the resume focused on skills, accomplishments and qualifications that best match the job opening.
The choice is yours. There is no single standard that fits all situations. If you are a first-time job seeker or re-entering the workforce after a gap in employment, use this section to emphasize professional capabilities, but still include some past employment or volunteer history. Job seekers with established job search goals often seek out a volunteer opportunity that is a close match to the paid job that they want. If more of your skills and experience come from employment, list employment first and education last.
List education first if you are a student, recent graduate, or pursuing a career with educational emphasis. Include the name of the institution, location city and state , graduation date or projected graduation date, degree s earned, field of study and GPA if over 3. For job seekers who did not graduate from undergraduate or graduate programs, a simple disclosure is best: If you never went to college or finished high school you can list yourself as a high school graduate as long as you have a GED or another type of high school equivalency certificate.
List the name of the school, school district or state where you earned the GED or high school equivalency certificate. Do not include an education section if you did not finish high school and had no formal training either in school or from an employer. Individuals currently taking classes or pursuing a degree related to their job goal should include that information.
List the skills acquired, academic accomplishments and the projected date of completion. List organizational memberships related to your job goal. Avoid using non-employer-related or controversial organizations. Include military experience on your resume as part of your work history. If you are targeting a job within the defense industry, feel free to use military jargon. The defense industry likes candidates who understand the lingo. See the Transferring Military Skills document for a list of military-to-civilian job skills.
Volunteer experience can fill in any gaps in employment. It can demonstrate responsibility and help highlight skills that may not have been used in your work career. Served as an officer of the PTA? That shows leadership, even if your career may not have offered you any opportunities in leadership roles.
Do not include your references or the phrase "references available on request" on the actual resume. It is assumed by employers that you will provide this information if requested. Once an employer asks for your references, provide the names and contact information of three to five people who can speak favorably about your attributes. Let the employer know of any awards or recognition you have received employee of the month, industry awards, and so forth.
Those are accomplishments worthy of mention. Targeted resumes are a necessity for most job openings. Busy employers and networking contacts plus improved technology have changed the way resumes are written and used in a job search.
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