Table of Contents
Resumes are critical to the job search process, and thousands of articles and posts present different ideas and formats.
The truth is that a good resume is constantly evolving, and there is no set format that would be defined as perfect.
If you speak to just a few friends, recruiters, hiring managers, or human resources, you will quickly find a variety of opinions on how to craft a resume for the best success in your job search.
Customize Your Cover Letter
We are often asked if a cover letter is necessary anymore, depending on the situation. We prefer that the cover letter is in the body of the email to the hiring manager (if email is being used as your way of applying).
Attaching the cover letter as a separate document is quickly going out of style, and it is just one more document to open by a hiring manager.
Separate cover letters are breezed over. Cover emails should be customized to an individual who will be reading them and references the job you are applying for at the time.
Professional Resume Heading
Moving into the heading of the resume, this is important information with varying opinions on what is needed.
Show your name as you prefer to be called. Starting a conversation with the interviewer by calling you the wrong name makes for an awkward start.
If you list your name as “Baxter John Smith” but go by “John,” then just list your name as “John Smith.”
Make sure to have your personal email address listed, as well as your mobile phone number. You would be surprised at the number of resumes we see that are lacking in these areas. You want to be easy to contact if the right opportunity comes along.
A growing trend is to add your LinkedIn profile link to your resume. We like this idea as almost all hiring managers will check you out on LinkedIn at some point.
We do not feel it is professional to add photos or graphics to a resume – keep it clean and to the point.
Adding your personal address has been a hot topic over the last few years. We think you should list your city, state, and zip code on your resume. The simple reason is that we’ve never had a situation where someone was hired, but the company didn’t know where they were located.
In addition, recruiters and companies have applicant tracking systems where this information is usually required.
Depending on the type of role and your experience, you might want to have an executive summary or skill set summary before going into your work history. However, this should be brief, as some take up over half of the first page.
Crafting the Resume Body
Now we get into the meat and potatoes of the resume, which is your work experience and skill set. Your goal is to show your relevant work experience and how it matches the job description to which you are applying.
We review dozens of resumes every week, and we usually see a few consistent problems when we get to this part of the resume.
- Failure to include your experiences that match the requirements listed in the job description. If the job requires an understanding of specific software, specialized certifications, or a unique skill set, it must be on the resume. Remember, the resume gets you into the interview. If you don’t have a great resume, you don’t have the opportunity to discuss how your skill set matches the requirements. Make sure key requirements are included.
- Another possible deal breaker is not showing your career progression. Companies love to see that you have been promoted and given more responsibility. We often see candidates format their resumes, which prevents showing great career progression.
- We’ve had many hiring managers that have initially passed over great candidates simply because the resume was confusing to read and lacked key skills and accomplishments by the candidate. The resume is your chance to show off, so take advantage of the opportunity.
Be sure to tailor your resume to the specific position you are considering. Make sure your resume reflects the keywords that are also in the job description. You want to showcase your skills, accomplishments, and experience clearly and concisely.
Think of it from the hiring manager’s perspective. Based on the position requirements listed in the job description, does your resume reflect all of the necessary information to show you could be a strong candidate?
Years ago, we had a very strong marketing expert candidate. He progressed through his career in various marketing roles until he reached the VP level.
His resume was excellent, and he was a very marketable candidate.
He called us one day and was very frustrated after applying for many positions and not getting a response. After a brief discussion, he told us that he had applied only for senior sales roles and shared a job description for one.
When we reviewed it together, it was obvious that his resume didn’t reflect any of the information required by the job description.
Formatting and Proofreading
Obviously, in resume writing, grammar is critical. We’ve seen numerous resumes where we must call out grammar issues and typos.
Triple-check your work and have a friend review it as well.
If you are just starting in the workforce, your resume will probably only one page, but regardless of your number of years of experience, we don’t like to see a resume longer than two pages.
Also, if you have recently graduated, you would want your education listed at the top of the resume. If you have more than ten years of experience, consider listing it at the bottom. However, if you have recently completed an advanced degree, we suggest moving your education information to the top near your contact information.
These are a few ideas that might help you tweak your resume for your next career move. Remember that there is no right way, and each resume needs to be catered to the position you are considering.
Your resume not only needs to show that you are capable and qualified to perform the duties of the job description, it also needs to show why you are better qualified than other applicants.
Remember writing a resume is an art and a science, and getting it right is important to land the job you want. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll have a resume that will stand out among the competition and help you on your way to success. For more advice on how to take your career to the next level, join our talent pool today!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should my resume be?
How can I tailor my resume to a specific job?
- Customize your summary statement: Use the job description to guide the language and tone of your summary statement.
- Highlight relevant experience: Focus on work experience that is most relevant to the job you are applying for, and be sure to highlight any relevant achievements.
Join Our Talent Pool
Be first in line for the best job opportunities in your field!