The job market is livelier than it has been in a few years, and according to Forbes, it is still very much a job-seekers market in certain sectors. So, if you have a good resume this could be the year that you land your dream job! In order to do that, however, you need to know what makes a resume great and how to represent yourself well in a job application. This article will explain:
A resume is a competency-based document that showcases your relevant work experience and skills. In many ways, a resume is a personal marketing document that is designed to sell the services of a job seeker to companies or governmental institutions. In the U.S. a resume is the most commonly required document for a job application. (The major exceptions are academic, medical, and scientific research job postings, which may ask for a CV, or curriculum vitae, instead.)
The purpose of a resume (and a CV) is to show hiring managers that you’re qualified to fill the role that you’ve applied for. There are three main resume formats that you can choose from when you start writing your own:
1. Chronological resume
A chronological resume format places emphasis on the job seekers’ work history and professional experience. This format is best for people who have a lot of work experience that is relevant to the job description, but not so great for people with a limited or spotty work history.
2. Functional resume
A functional resume format is one that focuses on a job seeker’s skill set and competencies. This resume format is best for those who lack work experience or who have employment gaps.
3. Combination resume
A combination or hybrid resume format balances professional experience and skills and is good for those who are changing careers or have a mix of important skills and work experiences that apply to the job.
You can find free resume templates for each of these formats via the ResumeHelp resume builder.
A great resume is the most powerful tool in a job seeker’s arsenal. If you have a well-written resume that is tailored to the needs of the job titles that you are applying for, your chance of getting invited to an interview will be significantly higher for two main reasons:
A good resume will be more likely to rank well when it passes through applicant tracking systems (ATS) that employers use to scan resumes. An ATS-friendly resume is more likely to make it to a hiring manager’s desk in the first place. This fact alone should make it clear why a good resume is important. However, being ATS-friendly is not all that matters.
The best resume is one that is tailored to suit the needs of a job description and grabs a recruiter’s attention. The right resume can convince a hiring manager that it is worth their time to initiate follow-up contact with you rather than another applicant.
In short, a great resume is important because it will drastically increase your chance of being invited to a job interview and therefore increase your chance of getting a new job.
If you want to write a great resume, there are a few basic sections that should be present no matter what format you use or the industry you work in. Here are the sections a basic resume should include in order to impress potential employers:
Your resume header should contain your full name and contact information, including your phone number and your professional social media (e.g. your LinkedIn profile).
Resume summary or objective statement
A resume summary is a sum-up of the skills and qualifications that make you best suited for the role that you are applying for. This is the best choice if you have a lot of work experience. If you lack work experience, go with a resume objective statement, which is a statement of your career goals and best skills.
The skills section should include between 8 and 12 relevant skills presented using bullet points. Try to put your most important skills at the top of the section to ensure that hiring managers see them first. Your skills section should include hard (also known as technical) skills and soft skills.
The work experience section of your resume should be presented in reverse-chronological order and include up to 10 years of work history, with a few bullets for each job spelling out major responsibilities and accomplishments.
Your resume education section should contain information about your most relevant and advanced academic achievements.
If appropriate, you can also create sections for internships, volunteer work, and professional memberships or certifications. For more guidance on putting together your resume, consider relevant resume samples for inspiration. You will also find it helpful to use an online resume builder as these tools have professional resume templates that are free to use. The perfect resume template can give you an edge, but will also ensure that formatting details like font type and size are in line with U.S. resume requirements.
A cover letter is a supplementary, single-page document submitted along with a resume. Addressed directly to the hiring manager, a cover letter should provide additional information to support your job application and explain to employers why you’re a good fit for the job.
Yes. Matching your resume and cover letter templates can be very helpful as it will give your job application a professional appearance. Though you can create your own templates in Microsoft Word, using a cover letter builder such as the one offered by ResumeHelp will make the process easier.
The appearance of your resume will be of secondary importance unless you work in a creative role like graphic design. Nonetheless, your resume should look professional. This means having .5 to 1-inch margins all around, using a professional font in 12 pt size, and avoiding overly complex design elements.