There is a lot of advice out there about how to write an effective resume that will get you an interview. Since everyone’s career path and everyone’s resume needs are different we like to share a variety of advice. If you are writing your own resume, it is important to take the time to understand what’s involved with writing a resume and what you need to do to make yourself standout in the crowd. This article highlights the basics then goes beyond to give you some key advice.
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Do you need to review how to write a resume? While it’s only a page or two in length, a resume is one of the most important parts of a job application. Your resume is your most powerful tool in telling the story of your professional history to potential employers.
A well-written resume that highlights your most relevant qualifications for the job will help you get selected for an interview. Above all, your resume needs to be consistent, concise, and clear and easy to read.
How to Write a Resume
Choose a resume type. There are several basic types of resumes used to apply for job openings. Depending on your personal circumstances, choose a chronological, a functional, a combination, or a targeted resume. A chronological resume (in reverse chronological order) is the simplest format to use, but there may be circumstances where you want to focus on your key accomplishments and skills rather than your employment history. Taking the time to choose the best type of resume for your situation is well worth the effort.
Choose the right font and size. It’s important to choose a font and font size that is legible and leaves enough white space on the page. You also want to keep style features (such as italics, underlining, bold, and the use of bullets) to a minimum; reserve the use of boldface for section headings and for quantifiable achievements that you would like to have “pop” on the page (Example: “Secured and fulfilled $1.5M contract”).
When you use a particular style, use it consistently.
Review resume examples. Read through samples that fit a variety of employment situations. These sample resumes will provide you with examples of resume formats that will work for almost every type of job seeker. They also help you see what kind of information to include.
However, whenever you use a resume example, be sure to customize your resume so it reflects your skills and abilities, and the jobs you are applying for.
Use a resume template. Along with resume examples, you can use a resume template as a starting point for creating your own resume. Add your information to the resume template, then tweak and edit it to personalize your resume so that it highlights your own unique skills and abilities.
Use resume keywords. Most companies use recruiting management software to screen candidates for job openings. In order to get found, your resume needs to contain keywords that directly target the jobs you are interested in. Spend some time matching your qualifications to the job to ensure you’re including the appropriate keywords and skills. In addition to helping your resume get selected, it will also help the hiring manager see how your skills and experiences make you an ideal candidate for the specific job.
Jazz up your job descriptions. Review the descriptions you’ve written for each job. Are they going to show the hiring manager why you’re a good match? Do they sound impressive? Take a couple of minutes to tweak them a little so they look super impressive.
Get resume advice. Writing a resume is hard work, and it’s often a good idea to get help before you send it to employers. You can find resume writing advice and resume writing tips here. You can also meet with a college career counselor if you are a college student or alumnus.
You might use a professional resume service instead, or check with your state’s Department of Labor website for information on any free job services they offer. There are many great, free resume resources, so do some research before paying money for someone’s advice.
Proof your resume. Be sure to thoroughly edit your resume before sending it. Check for grammar and spelling errors, as well as any style inconsistencies. Consider asking a friend or family member, or even a career counselor, to read over your cover letter.
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