One thing I have learned about myself is that I am god damn good at making myself look good on paper. (I’m hard on myself so, I always say there is room for improvement.) I know how to create really good resumes. Over the years of the many times I have been stuck unemployed for long periods of times, constantly interviewing, applying for jobs and reading job descriptions, and most importantly working for employers, I think I’m kind of an expert at building resumes, but like I said before, there is room for improvement.
There are four types of resumes that people generally use when they create one. They are: The Chronological Resume (your work history is listed in order. Usually people with a solid work history opt for this format), Functional Resume (focuses on skills and experience and de-emphasize work history. People who have lapses in employment opt for this choice or recent college graduates), Combination Resume (highlight skills and traits and your chronological work history), and Targeted Resume (your work history, education, and skills are reflections of the job requirements).
These are the do’s and don’ts for when you are creating a resume. (These tips may vary depending on what type of resume you have to create, but these are for the standard job resume.)
Resume Do’s: The Basics
• Highlight your most relevant experiences. You want your resume to be tailored and targeted to the specific job that you’re applying for. The targeted resume will be the best format to highlight relevant experiences. This resume style is customized and specific to the position you want. For example, if you’re applying for a job as a fashion stylist at some huge fashion company, then you could emphasize your bachelor’s degree in Fashion, and you did a fashion internship your senior year. Also, you worked as a stylist for big fashion shows and you have a fashion blog that you run. These are some things that would make an employer want to know more things about you.
• Something I learned while being unemployed is that large organizations and small businesses have an applicant tracking system to select only qualified applicants. It scans your resume for keywords, phrases, and several other things before selecting resumes that considered qualified and sending it for consideration by a real person. So, to get it past the applicant tracking system, make sure you use keywords, the best resume formatting system, and proofread (no spelling errors).
• Do use data. It’s easy to think that your job doesn’t involve anything with numbers. Recruiters like to see numbers on resumes with a bullet next to it. For an example, if you’re a teacher that works at a school, then some data you could possibly put on your resume next to a bullet point is “Students overall grades increased by 30% from last semester.” Quantifying an accomplishment rather than just simply stating it shows employers your achievement a little clearer.
• You want to include soft skills. The quantifying technique works for this as well. You want to list your skill then use facts to show not tell. You want them to know you are an effective communicator before meeting you in person. For an example, if you are say that you have outstanding organizational skills, then you should follow it by saying “I have cleaned and rearranged several file cabinets to alleviate clutter and to keep things orderly, resulting in the organizing of 120 patient charts in alphabetical order showing a significant reduction in a case for a HIPPA violation.” The soft skill was organization and the data that was used was 120 patient charts, plain and simple.
• Volunteer work and other non-work experience can be included on your resume if it’s related to the job you are applying for. If volunteer work or side projects have taught you a skill, then include it on your resume. Also, if volunteering is the only experience you have, then use it and tailor it to the job you’re applying for.
• It’s okay to include personal accomplishments. In some interviews, they ask you what are your biggest accomplishments? They look for accomplishments that you have achieved in your work history that relates to the job you’re applying for. So, why not already list it on your resume? If you have done something that shows your strong work ethic or that you have a desire to challenge yourself, then list it.
• If you have moved up or around at past companies, show that. You want to highlight your different job titles at one company. For an example, “I started as a cashier at Walmart. After my probationary period, I got promoted to Customer Service Supervisor. I worked in that position for a year before becoming an Assistant Manager.”
• Always be truthful on your resume. You don’t want them to ask you about something that was a lie on your resume.
• Also, use real English. Using big words doesn’t make you sound intelligent and employers know what you’re trying to do and you’re most likely failing to do it.
• Use powerful verbs such as “administered,” “consolidated,” or “managed.”
• Include your contact information.
• Keep it one page and don’t squish it all in.
• Make sure job titles and companies stand out on your resume. The want to see your experience.
• Don’t forget to spell check.
• Don’t use more than two lines per bullet. This will save you space because you want everything to fit on one page.
• Don’t go overboard with text effects. Use emphasis on the information that needs it such as highlighting a job title or place.
• Don’t use too many fonts. Two should be the maximum.
• Don’t squish it all in. If you find yourself constantly playing with the format and changing the font size, then you’re trying to squish it all in. Get rid of some information that doesn’t belong.
• Don’t include “references available upon request” because nowadays, if employers are interested, they will ask for a separate reference page or if you listed references on the initial application, then they will use that.
• Don’t go overboard trying to sell yourself. Meaning don’t over-due it trying to convince someone about how stellar you are at cooking and you did amazing when you were in culinary school.
• Don’t include anything random that doesn’t fit the job. No one cares that you were in a writing club and that you did gymnastics five years ago.
• Don’t include obvious skills like knowing how to work Microsoft word. If you have graduated college, then it’s safe to say that you do.
• Don’t put anything confidential on your resume. If you wouldn’t share it on your personal social media account, like address, then don’t put it on your resume. You never know who’s looking at your resume.
• When writing the job descriptions on your resume, do not steal the exact words of the job description from the job that you are applying too. Try using bullets a list your most important and relevant job duties that’s similar to what they are saying.
• Also, don’t trip if you have no relevant experience. Use the experience you have and shape it to fit for the job you’re applying for. For an example, if your just graduating college with a degree in English and you’re applying for a assistant editor job at a publishing company, you can list any relevant coursework you took while in college and give a detailed description of how it relates to the job and achievements, accomplishments, or any knowledge or skill that you obtained that makes this relevant experience for this job.
I know this is a lot, but I hope these suggestions help someone with their resume.