Navigating your job search and career, in general, can be made a lot easier if you know how to create and maintain your resume. This article will guide you through these steps to ensure that you become an expert on building resumes.
How would you describe the feeling of putting together a resume? Scary? Exciting? Confusing? When I first started looking for a job, the third emotion resonated with me the most. As if searching for a job isn’t stressful enough, you now have to organize your entire background on a piece of paper.
Your resume is the device through which you are making a first impression amongst prospective employers. It is an advertising tool.
Before we dwell on what to do, let’s make sure we understand what a resume is.
A resume – sometimes also called a curriculum vitae (CV), is a document one uses to represent their academic and professional background e.g., education, skills, work experience etc., to secure employment.
It is essential to ensure you have concise and relevant information in your resume because this will be the first touchpoint you have with potential companies.
To start applying to jobs and making professional connections, you must ensure that your resume exists and is the most updated version.
Bear in mind that some Talent Acquisition professionals are not fans of cover letters. Some do not even read them, so don’t spend most of your time constructing one. Focus on your resume instead. How you structure it is crucial.
For the resume to serve its purpose, you should keep in mind the following sections as you build your resume:
Clearly state your name, phone number and email address. You can also include other relevant links e.g., LinkedIn profile URL, your website (if you have one), link to a portfolio etc.
Pro tip: It used to be good practice including your full address with resumes, but I have noticed that it doesn’t add much value. Especially in our current climate, as most workers shift to working remotely in a pandemic. As a recruiter, knowing your general location (e.g., New York, NY) helps but including your full address might only take up space.
This can be a short paragraph, but it needs to be succinct. You are looking to summarize your skills and abilities and introduce who you are. It must be of a length that can hold the reader’s interest and ensure that it gives them a sense of what they will see throughout the resume.
Pro tip: The personal statement is also the perfect opportunity for you to describe your achievements, which will make your resume outcome oriented.
List down your most recent degree i.e., name of degree and major, the institution you attended and whether you graduated or not from there. You can also include relevant certifications that you feel will add value to the role that you are applying for.
Pro tip: This section will be more useful for those who are just beginning their careers. Take this opportunity to highlight your education and how it can add value to the job you’re applying for. If you have professional experience, you can reserve this section towards the end of the resume.
This is the most important part because most employers will be checking this section to determine whether you are a fit for the role and the company. As succinctly as possible, list down all your prior roles (you can go back as far as 10 years, but not beyond) and for how long you were in that role and what company you were a part of. It is always best to point out a trajectory, because that indicates development or growth within a particular role or company and is always a good sign for potential employers. Be sure to provide quantifiable examples of the work that you have conducted and your achievements. Bear in mind that you should always account for employment gaps.
Your goal is to bring out how your prior experience is connected to the job description of the role you’re interested in.
If you can make that connection, you’re all set!
Pro tip: Recruiters use keywords to proactively search for candidates, so remember to include those in this section. If you are not sure what keywords to choose, make sure you draw inspiration from the job description and your background.
Be sure to list any relevant skills e.g., technical in the resume.
Creating an impressive resume is all about the little details – the font, the design and of course the wording.
Best of luck finding your dream job.