So many aspects of life seem in be in a perpetual state of change. Yet one thing that has always remained constant in the working world is the need for a quality resume. There are many different mediums to show off your talents these days, but a resume is still a one-stop-shop for employers to see your strengths, experience, and qualifications. Knowing that your resume is an employer’s first impression of you, can leave a person wondering, “What exactly should I include?” Well, fear no more, Of The West is here to help. We are going to give you the top five tips for creating a standout resume, as well as some quick tips to always remember!
Resume Tip #1: Contact Information
This may seem elementary, but you would be surprised how often people forget this critical element. You want to ensure that employers and recruiters are able to contact you easily. Make certain you include your phone number and current email address. Oftentimes, job seekers who most recently graduated college put their college-generated email address and then lose access to it after a certain amount of months. You want to make sure you include an email that you check regularly. You will also want to include your city and state – no need to put your entire address! If you are looking for a remote job, add “Remote Equipped” next to your city and state. Only add this IF you are remote equipped.
Resume Tip #2: Summary/Story Statement
This element of your resume is your opportunity to describe your career goals, strengths, and a summary of what you are wanting. These should not exceed four sentences but should give employers a birds-eye view of what you’re looking for professionally. These statements should be at the top of your resume, before you get into the meat of everything else.
Resume Tip #3: Education
Education is a vital component of a resume. Whether or not you are a high school, college, or technical school graduate, employers want to know. You will want to include what level of education you completed and the year of completion. Education levels are not always a make-or-break element of the job process. If you’re both a high school and college graduate and worried that including both educations will take up too much space on your resume, feel free to leave off your high school education.
Resume Tip #4: Experience
Experience will be the most critical element of your resume. The experience component of your resume shows employers why you are uniquely qualified for the job. You will want to include any jobs, internships, temporary jobs, and summer jobs that you have held in the last few years. You will want to share some of the responsibilities and duties you held in those positions as well as accurate dates you spent in those. If you have several years of experience or have held positions that don’t particularly pertain to the position you are applying to, then those are not necessary to include. Don’t list experience just for the sake of listing it. All experiences should be listed in reverse chronological order.
Resume Tip #5: Skills
This element of your resume is your ability to promote yourself and set yourself apart from other candidates. There are two types of skills you will want to include on your resume: hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are going to be technical knowledge or training. Examples of hard skills would be: being bilingual, proficient in Microsoft Office, proficient in Adobe Creative Suite, and SEO marketing. Examples of soft skills include: effective communication, problem-solving, integrity, organization, and empathy. If you are having trouble coming up with some of your top skills, consider asking former employers or colleagues! Whether you are transitioning into a new career or maybe don’t have all of the qualifications the job description asks for, lean on those soft skills and show how those can be beneficial in this new role.
Really think about the position you are applying for when creating your resume. If you are applying for a creative position like a graphic designer, you are going to want your resume to be graphically appealing. If you are applying for an accounting position, the graphic portion isn’t probably as important but it will still need to be clean and organized!
Something to be mindful of if you are applying for a job with a major corporation, they may use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) which is computer software designed to scan resumes for certain keywords and weed out the ones that don’t match the job description. If this is the case, you will want to keep your resume fairly basic. That doesn’t mean taking out the meat, but visually speaking you will want it to be where the ATS can find all the major components easily.
Quick Do’s & Don’ts:
- Check and recheck spelling and grammar! If GSP (grammar, spelling, and punctuation) isn’t your strong suit, try checking out some free online platforms or send it to a friend! Our favorite online GSP checker is Grammarly!
- Always include a position-specific cover letter if they ask for a cover letter.
- Employers prefer resumes that are on one single page.
- Make sure it is easy to read. Don’t cram everything in there–having white space is important!
- Include accomplishments, awards, goals, and actions you’ve taken.
- Make sure you’re saving your resume as an easy file name like “First Name Last Name Resume” and that the file type is a PDF.
- Don’t include your LinkedIn unless it is polished.
- Don’t use weak action verbs like “responsible for” or “helped.” Try using; streamlined, managed, improved, etc.
Now that you are prepared with these tips for creating a killer resume, head to Of The West and find a new job to apply for! Don’t forget to upload that brand new resume to your Of The West profile, that way employers can find you in our Resume Database!
Need help creating a cover letter to match your resume?! You can find our Cover Letter tips, here!