When seeking employment, your resume is your advocate, it is what speaks to recruiters and employers on your behalf. It is important to make sure your resume is formatted, grammatically correct, and visually appealing while also providing the story of who you are and why you are the best candidate for the position. While we can not guarantee you will be hired for every position you apply for, we do hope these tips will help you to improve your resume, or to create a resume that highlights you in the best way possible, making you a more desired candidate and increasing your chances of being hired!
Make sure your contact information is up-to-date and professional.
Making sure your contact information is correct and up to date seems to be the simplest step, however, it is the most important. Something as small as a typo or old phone number could prevent employers and recruiters from being able to reach you to schedule an interview. If employers and recruiters can’t reach you, you can’t get hired for the position.
A professional or general email address, such as a variation of your name, is recommended. Avoid using school email addresses as some schools deactivate accounts after graduation. Also, avoiding personal interest email addresses is recommended.
Adding social media links are a great way for employers and recruiters to get more insight into your professional history, however, be cautious about which social media links you share. LinkedIn is a great networking resource and typically highlights an applicant’s work history and professional status, while profiles such as Facebook and TikTok are typically personal and irrelevant to work.
Determine the best introduction for your resume.
Consider adding a Summary or Objective to your resume to help highlight your ambitions, achievements, and/or what you are seeking. A Summary is used to emphasize your accomplishments and demonstrate how they are connected to the company or industry you are pursuing. Summaries are typically used if you have more than three years of professional experience in the industry.
If you are new to the industry, you may not have work related achievements to add to your resume. In this case, an objective may be a better introduction to your resume. An Objective is a statement of what your objectives and ambitions are in the industry as well as what you are seeking and wish to achieve if hired.
While it is nice to introduce yourself, your resume should only highlight your best attributes, if neither introduction works for your skills, industry, and goals, then it is best to not to include one.
Make sure your Work Experience section is top notch!
When listing work experience, be sure to include as much relevant information as possible such as Job Title, Employer, Location (City and State), and Dates Employed (start and end month and year) followed by a brief description of the job tasks you performed. Tailor your descriptions to highlight your relevant experience and expertise. Be sure descriptions are well written, formatted, and achievement oriented.
When adding your work experience, try to limit yourself to only relevant work experience to the position you are applying to if possible. If your experience is limited and not related to the industry you are interested in pursuing, add the experience that best represents you as an asset and an employee. When adding experience that isn’t relevant to the position you are applying to, make sure you are highlighting achievements and skills you gained from those positions. Relate your experience to the position you are applying to by indicating any relevant skills, advancements, achievements, praises, and/or meeting company or personal goals.
If you are limited on experience because you have spent a long period of time working for one company, list any internal job promotions or job titles acquired within the company separately. Separating internal job promotions helps to highlight your career progression and gives you the opportunity to elaborate on the various skills and experience you have acquired from each role.
Be cautious of gaps in your employment and try to include as much information as possible to avoid long gaps which may be alarming to employers. If you have big gaps in employment that can not be filled in, consider writing a cover letter to accompany your resume explaining the reason for the gaps in employment.
|Years Experience||# of Jobs Held||What to Put on Your Resume|
|0-5||1-3||Include all work experience and highlight as much relevant experience as possible.|
|4+||Only include your most relevant positions and/or positions you were employed the longest.|
|5-10||1-3||Include all work experience and highlight as much relevant experience as possible. If you received internal promotions in one of your positions, make sure to list those to show your career progression and elaborate on the new responsibilities that came with the promotion.|
|4+||Only include your most recent and relevant positions and/or positions you were employed the longest. Limit your employment history to 4 positions unless you feel as though including more is beneficial or if leaving a position out will create a gap in employment. Unless applying at a Director level or higher, it is best to keep your resume to one or two pages.|
|1-3||Include all work experience and highlight as much relevant experience as possible. If you received internal promotions in one of your positions, make sure to list those to show your career progression and elaborate on the new responsibilities that came with the promotion.|
|4+||Only include your most recent and relevant positions. Try to limit your employment history to the last 15 years unless you feel as though including more is beneficial. Unless applying at a Director level or higher, it is best to keep your resume to one or two pages. If applying for a Director level or above, resumes may expand to 2-4 pages and should include all relevant experience, detailed descriptions and certifications.|
Add Education, Certifications, and Awards properly.
When listing your education credentials, include your highest level of education by listing the name of your degree, the school name, location, years attended or year graduated, and any special achievements or awards such as cum laude or honors. If you haven’t graduated and are attending classes, indicate your status as degree seeking, currently attending, or expected graduation month and year.
Only include your high school education if it is your highest level of education or if you are currently enrolled. Additionally, add any relevant and current business licenses, certifications, and additional work related training in this section.
Use keywords to elevate your Skills section.
Adding a skills section is a great way to not only compliment your work experience, but also to help recruiters and employers get more insight into what you can do. Recruiters and/or large companies often use software to search for keywords within resumes to help sort through numerous applications. Including relevant keywords and skills is the best way for your application to stand out.
Make sure to tailor this section to target the position you are applying for by including only skills relevant for the industry and versatile skills that can be attractive across many industries. If you aren’t sure what skills to add, reference the job listing or job descriptions related to the position you are seeking.
Learn more about Resume Do’s and Don’ts in our blog.