What is a resume for a job?
A resume (sometimes spelled résumé) is a record of work experience, professional achievements, education, skills, certifications, and other details that make the case for the job.
It is usually the first contact between a company and candidate. What the US and Canada call a resume, most of the rest of the world call a curriculum vitae (CV). South Africa, India, New Zealand, and Australia tend to use the terms resume and CV interchangeably.
- Choose the right resume
You can't just start writing a resume by putting your info into the resume template all willy-nilly. Instead, first select from the standard resume formats: Reverse-chronological format
Pros: Traditional resume style familiar to potential employers. Cons: Very common, not the most creative resume design format.
Combination format Pros: Great for experienced pros and career changers for highlighting transferable skills. Cons: Uncommon, not as familiar, not recommended for entry-level job seekers.
Functional format (skills-based) Pros: Entry-level job hunters can emphasize skills over lack of experience. Cons: HR managers may think you're hiding something.
- Add Your Contact Information and Personal Details
A career diplomat knows what information should be given and which to hold back. Likewise, on a great resume contact information section, there are items which you must include, personal details that are recommended, and some data which you should definitely leave out: Necessary Contact Information
Name: First name, last name (middle name optional). Phone Number: Personal cell phone preferred over home phone number.
Email Address: Today's preferred means of communication.
Recommended Contact Information
LinkedIn URL: Since it's the favored platform for professionals, include your LinkedIn profile URL to give them a better idea of what you have to offer professionally.
Optional Contact Information
Mailing Address: Sounds old-school, but many employers still send offers & rejection letters via snail mail. Also, jobs that prefer local candidates may rather choose applicants from specific locales.
Title: Brief professional title or branding statement, like a catchphrase or a licensed status.
Social Media: Add only if they are related to the job. Are you a designer? Perhaps link to your Behance. Likewise, link to your Github if you're in IT and have made great contributions.
Blog/Website: Got a website, portfolio, or blog? Are they relevant? Add its URL to your personal info section to show it off!
- Start with a Heading Statement (Resume Summary or Resume Objective)
Resume Objective Statement
Choose the resume objective statement if you have no work experience at all, or at least none related to the position you're applying for (entry-level applicants, career changers, students, etc.).
Since you don't have relevant experience to summarize, you'll highlight transferable skills from other areas. You'll make the case that though you don't have experience with this position, you do have experience relevant to it.
- List Your Relevant Work Experience & Key Achievements
you'll see our recommended way to format your employment history in the job experience section: Job Title—This should go at the very top of each entry of work history so that it's easy for potential employers to scan and find. Make it bold and/or increase the font size by 1pt or 2pts from the rest of the entry. Company, City, State—On the second line, include the previous employer's company name, and the city and state of the location you worked at.
Dates Employed—Thirdly, put the timeframe of your employment there. You can add the year or both the month and the year, but there's no need to put exact days. Key Responsibilities—Don't just list every single task you did in your job history. Focus on the few duties most relevant to the new job. Key Achievements—Often overlooked, but super important. Employers know what you did, but they need to know how well you did them. Keywords—It is important to sprinkle resume keywords throughout the experience section (we'll talk more about this shortly).
- List Your Education Correctly
Many people treat the education section as an afterthought, but you shouldn't. Here's how to put education on your resume so you don't get schooled:
The right resume education order is to place your highest degree first. Add any other degrees after in reverse-chronological order. If you finished a university degree, don't add high school info. Add any relevant coursework, honors, or awards you received.
- Put Relevant Skills that Fit the Job Ad
Here is a list of some common skills to put on a resume: Communication skills—These can include social skills, non-verbal communication, listening skills, and interpersonal skills. Technical skills—Knowledge required to perform specific tasks, like computer skills or clerical skills. Job-specific skills—Particular prowess the company specifically requires.
Leadership and management skills—Ability to be a good manager, leader, and supervisor. Critical thinking skills—Ability to make your own, thought-based decisions and take initiative. Includes analytical skills, decision-making, and problem-solving. Organizational skills—A knack for planning, organizing, and seeing initiatives through. Transferable skills—for career changers, these are abilities you learned that can be carried over to your new position.
- Include Additional Important Resume Sections
Here are some recommendations for extra sections to include on your resume which will help you stand out:
Hobbies and interests You might not think that your love of baseball and being the Little League assistant coach would be of interest to a potential employer. However, listing your hobbies and interests subtly proves your ability to work well in a team, and the coaching can verify your leadership and management expertise.
Volunteer work Volunteering boosts employability, studies find. For most job seekers, listing any volunteer experience as one of your additional CV sections is a great way to show your commitment and values. It also lets them know that you don't only care about the money. For entry-level or first-time applicants who have no experience, volunteer work makes an excellent stand-in.
Certifications and awards Got any certifications, licenses, or proud awards to show off? If they are relevant to the job and industry, include them! Placed first in a chili cook-off at the state fair? If you're looking to be a cook, it will definitely help. Likewise, a food safety certification or food handler's license that you already have would surely be in your favor.
Languages Speak another language? Impressive! Listing language skills on a resume only extends your usefulness as an employee, particularly in international corporations or localities where there is a large population speaking that second language. List the language, international variation (Latin American Spanish, for example), and your language fluency levels.
Publications & projects Have articles written for a blog, newspaper, or scientific journal? Mention those publications on a resume. If your published material isn't online, create a short bibliography of the works you'd like them to acknowledge. Also, if you've built graphic designs or other creative creations, or if your list of publications or projects is too long to go on a resume, consider building an online portfolio to document everything. Link to it from the contact section, in this case.
- Complement Your Resume With a Cover Letter
Your cover letter or job application letter lets you expand upon things that you need to keep brief on your resume. Also, it allows you to speak easily in normal sentences!
- Proofread, Save, and Email Your Resume the Right Way
Proofread & double-check Double-check your CV or resume draft before sending it out. Scan your resume and cover letter (and email!) with a tool like Grammarly. Then, ask a friend or family member to triple-check.
Better safe than sorry!