A great resume is the first opportunity you have to make an impression on a hiring manager or a recruiter. And it’s important to make a great first impression. The average recruiter spends mere seconds scanning your resume so you need to make yourself stand out. We’ve compiled a list of some important factors to keep in mind when creating or updating your resume. Here’s a list of the 10 key components of a great resume:
1. Organized Format
Structure your resume in an organized manner; keep your font traditional, your lay-out appealing, and your spacing consistent. You want your resume to stand out, so don’t be afraid to experiment with colors and design. However, know your audience and be sure you are representing yourself professionally first and foremost.
2. Correct Spelling/Grammar
Spell check everything at least twice and have someone else proofread it before you submit it.
3. Professional Attitude
List a professional sounding e-mail address—not “partyanimal_687” or “2cool4u15.” Also, list a phone number that is attached to a professional voicemail greeting. Potential employers don’t need to hear reality TV, loud music, kids crying, or road noise in the background. If this means you have to re-record your voicemail greeting, so be it.
4. Objective Keywords
Leave out subjective words like “reliable” and “hard-working.” A potential employer is not going to bring you in for an interview because you say you’re reliable. They are going to bring you in because they think you can solve a problem for them.
5. Keywords From The Job Description
Incorporate words into your resume that are listed in the job description of the position you’re applying for. This will help a hiring manager quickly see that you’re a fit for the position and it will also help resume scanning software signal you out as a potential match.
6. Brief Explanations For Employment Gaps And Layoffs
If you were let go from several positions due to downsizing, mention this. If you have a large gap in your employment history, explain what you were doing during that time and what you learned.
7. Relevant Job/Internship/Volunteer History
If you’re a veteran in your industry, you don’t need to list the very first job you had decades ago. Keep your employment history to the past 10-15 years if you have a substantial amount of industry related experience. If you’re a recent graduate, listing the part-time job you had in college is fine—but you also want to list any internships, volunteer work, coursework, or projects you had that are relevant to the job. Unpaid experience still counts.
8. Effective Use Of Space
Treat each word on your resume like beach-front property—space is so valuable. Make every word you use count.
9. Customized Cover Letter
Your cover letter should contain content that is different from your resume and should match up very well with the job description. This means you will need to re-write it for each job you apply for.
10. Realistic Expectations
Be optimistic, but realistic. If a job description lists a required task that you’re confident you can do, try to word your past experience to reflect it. But if a job description lists seven required skills or certifications and you only have three of them, then you don’t meet the qualifications and shouldn’t apply.
With the start of a new year, it’s a great time to update your resume and reflect a bit on your strengths and job specific skills. Being able to effectively and succinctly summarize your skills, education, and experience is important for everyone—regardless of whether you intend to seek employment in the near future. These resume tips are intended to help you put forth the best possible impression of yourself on paper. You only get one chance to make a great impression, so make yours count!
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