A good resume can be your ticket to getting the job you want.
A resume has one specific objective, and that is to win an interview for a candidate. It should do this by creating a good impression of them, communicating a positive message, & identifying them as the best candidate for the job. Remember if your resume is not getting you invited to interviews then it’s not working and needs to be changed.
Resumes are typically short one (sometimes two) page summaries of a job seekers experiences, skills and qualifications. They are often the first contact an employer has with a prospective employee, and are used to screen job applicants and learn more about them. They are essentially marketing tools that apart from highlighting a candidate’s accomplishments, must also give any other information that is relevant to the position being applied for. For all of these reasons they should be well written, concise and only include information that the employer will be interested in and finds relevant.
Turn your resume into a job
Writing a interview winning resume can be a challenging task. Job seekers usually end up creating many drafts before they feel comfortable with the end result. It’s difficult because the key to developing an effective resume is all about choosing a style that will not only emphasize your strengths, but also awaken an employer’s interest in you, and make them believe in your future potential.
This page can help you in your efforts by cutting to the chase and giving you FREE access to many professionally written, incredibly designed and industry targeted resumes. It will also give you guidance and a huge amount of expert advice on how to produce a document that is highly effective. With our resume templates and a little extra effort, you can save yourself a lot time and effort, and be well on the way to making a resume that makes you stand out as a superior candidate.
To stand out and be successful a resume must make an immediate good impression with the employer, and link your competencies with the employers needs.
APPLICANT TRACKING SYSTEMS AND HOW TO BEAT THEM
Use the infographic below as a guide on how to get past these automated guard dogs.
Resume templates that will really make you STAND OUT!
Below you will find links to our very own professionally designed and written resumes. Click on the image too see the full PDF version. They will give you an excellent idea of how to organize information, create emphasis, and describe your accomplishments.
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Sales manager resume template
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OUR LATEST RESUME TEMPLATES;
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CLICK HERE CV EXAMPLES TO SEE MORE AMAZING RESUME DESIGNS AND LAYOUTS.
FREE DOWNLOADABLE BLANK MS WORD RESUME TEMPLATES:
Resume template example 1 A stylish single page design with a border around it, ideal for students or graduates.
Resume template example 2 Professionally laid out two page resume.
Resume template example 3 One page resume design.
Resume template example 4 A one page modern looking resume format.
Resume template example 5 A two page resume design that has room for multiple employer listings.
Resume template example 6 A two page skills based resume layout (functional design).
Resume template example 7 Two page resume, with space for up to five employers to be listed.
Resume template example 8 Simple one page design that focuses on a candidates education and key skills.
Resume template example 9 Elegant looking two page resume that has room to list in detail two previous employers.
Resume template example 10 One page skills focused resume.
Resume template example 11 A one page functional resume focusing on professional abilities rather than work history.
ENTRY LEVEL RESUME TEMPLATES
Click here Entry Level Resume Templates to see 50 professionally written entry level resumes for the following roles;
Who cares wins
If you really want your dream job then you must do everything within your power to get it. This is a resource page aimed at helping you to write a resume that will give a well-organized and concise presentation of the most relevant information about you. Right here you will learn the basic rules of writing one, and also have access to free resume templates that you can customise and use to create your very own personalised interview winning document. Our templates have been professionally designed, are of the highest quality and contain powerful industry specific keywords intended to grab the attention of recruiters and get you noticed. Each template is aimed at a specific industry sector and has been formatted using margins and bullet points, making it easier for key elements of an individual’s strength to be quickly identified.
WRITING A RESUME
How good your resume is depends a lot on how well you write it.
Recruiters have a love-hate relationship with resumes. This is because they need resumes to find suitable candidates to fill their vacancy’s, however they very often have to read through piles of poorly written resumes to find the right one. The trick is to make a hiring manager’s job easier by quickly giving them all of the information they need to make a decision about you. If you can do this then you’ll have a real edge over other applicants.
Your resume is a vital part of your job-search toolbox, it has two aims, firstly to capture the reader’s attention and secondly to reflect everything positive about you. Use it to show where you worked, what you learnt, and how your skills and experience are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Every one you write should be a one of its kind marketing tool that will pass a recruiters screening process by highlighting you as the right candidate for the job.
The purpose of a resume is to get you an interview, and it is the interview which will hopefully get you the job.
A resume should:
- At a glance give valuable information about you.
- Portray you as a professional person with high standards and excellent writing skills.
- Be a reflection of your unique experiences and abilities.
- Be more than just a detailed history of your past.
- Stir a prospective employer’s interest in you.
- Present you in the best light.
- Convince the employer that you have what it takes to be successful at the job.
- Stimulate interest in getting people to meet you.
- Give employers a reason to want to speak to you.
- Make you stand out for the right reasons.
- Match your skills and abilities to the requirements of the job.
- Give examples of how you benefited previous employers (companies want to employ someone who can aid and advance their organisation).
Your resume must be:
- Visually balanced
- Error free
Tips on writing your resume
- Put the most important information at the top of the first page.
- Use capitals, boldface, positioning, and spacing for emphasis and clarity.
- Use industry keywords strategically.
- Always be positive when stressing your relevant achievements and strengths.
- Descriptions of jobs and accomplishments should be brief and selective.
- Showcase key relevant skills at the top to keep recruiters reading.
- Break information down into readable chunks.
- Write it with the intention of creating interest.
- Keep reviewing and re-writing it until you are fully satisfied with it.
- Continuously tweak and edit it to make it more personal.
Do not include
- Abbreviations, except very common ones such as degrees i.e. BSc, PhD.
- Irrelevant information.
- Images i.e. clip art.
- Long monotonous paragraphs of text.
- Minor qualifications unrelated to the post applied for.
- Stars or symbols.
- Technical Jargon.
- Underlining of text.
Try to begin each bulleted sentence with an action word. These are basically verbs that can make you stand out by putting more emphasis on your experience and achievements.
There is no need for you to say how old you are or give your date of birth. However you should note that a keen eyed recruiter may be able to roughly work out your age from your career history and academic qualifications.
Always use a simple plain white background for your resume.
For easy reading, use bullet points and consider using phrases instead of complete sentences (no need for “I” or “my”). Bulleted sentences are not only useful when describing your work duties, they can also help to break up large chunks of information.
Make information easy to find. Hiring Managers are likely to quickly discard candidates whose resumes are difficult to read or have the key information buried under a morass of less important text.
List all of your personal contact information together and in a easy to find place (either at the top or bottom of the page). Here are the details that you should give:
- Name (Use your full name, with your middle initial, if you have one)
- Home address
- Email (use personal one and not a work one)
- Home phone number
- Mobile number
Your name should be in bold so that it stands out from the other text. Do not include your work number unless you have a private office where you can take phone calls without being overheard. Be sure to check your emails and voicemails regularly to make sure you do not miss any messages left by prospective employers. If you use an answering machine, then have a message on it that is conservative, professional and identifies you by your full name.
Always double check the contact details you are giving to make sure they are correct. The last thing you want is for prospective employers to be unable to contact you.
If you’re worried about missing calls, then in your covering letter state when it’s best for you to be contacted.
If the job you’re after requires you to drive then put in your resume that you have a clean driving license.
Explain job duties and responsibilities in no more than one or two sentences.
Do not use very small type, a person having to read dozens of resumes in a afternoon is very likely to give up on one that is in very fine print or is crammed and crowded. It’s also not wise to use unusual fonts, as apart from making it hard to read it can also be difficult to scan electronically. It’s best to stick to conservative fonts like Times New Roman, Arial or Verdana, and a standard type size i.e. 10 or 12 points. Only use a large font size for your name.
Proficiency in foreign languages does impress many employers. So include this on your résumé, particularly if they are relevant to the job to which you are applying. Remember to designate your level of skill i.e.:-
- fluent in …
- reading proficiency in …
- basic skills in reading and speaking …
Also bear in mind that if you do get to the interview stage your interviewer may speak the language you claim to know. So be prepared to conduct a portion of any interview in the language you claim to speak.
Poor spelling is the quickest way of getting your resume rejected. Hiring managers can be very picky and after a quick glance will discard those that have spelling mistake’s or appear disorganized.
Hobbies and interests
These can be a window into your personality.
However your hobbies are usually of no interest to most employers and subsequently it is a section of your resume that will not always be read. It also takes up premium space which can be used for more relevant information which the recruiter will be interested in.
If you do want to list your pastimes then here are some tips on what to write. First of all as you are likely have more hobbies and interests than you can include in your resume, only include those that are related to the job you are applying for, or that you think will interest the employer the most. Focus on hobbies that make you sound interesting, unique and positive.
Below are some examples:
- If you are applying to a restaurant for a chef or cook position, then mention that you are passionate about cooking and food and devote a lot of your spare time to the kitchen.
- Mentioning “Reading Clubs and Creative-Writing Workshops” brings out your sociability and socially oriented creativity.
- Volunteer work can imply initiative, strong social involvement, and significant social experience.
- When applying to a leadership or management position you might want to note your involvement in competitive team sports.
- For an engineering or mechanical position, you might omit your interest in sports and instead mention that you enjoy working on your dirt bike or restoring old cars.
- For technical positions you can state that you are a ‘Serious chess player with an analytical mindset’.
Examples of how hobbies can make you appear unsuitable for a job:
- Your love of skydiving could make you seem like too much of a risk taker for some companies.
- If you are applying for a desk or office job then you might not seem compatible if all of your hobbies are outdoor, physical activities.
- Reading and writing is typically done in isolation and perceived as not very compatible with teamwork or customer service positions.
Also consider what you are revealing about yourself. Remember that your hobbies could reveal information about your religion, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political opinions, information that some employers could use to discriminate against you.
Finally do not lie about any hobbies, remember that if you are called to an interview, the interviewer may share your perceived hobby and ask you detailed questions about what you have written. If this happens and you are caught out then it could backfire on you badly.
Advantages of including your hobbies
- It can open up topics of conversation for any future job interviews.
- They show you are a sociable person.
Disadvantages of including your hobbies
- It is a section that takes up valuable space on your resume.
- If you list risky hobbies such as parachuting or rock climbing then it can turn some employers off as they may feel you’re more likely to be involved in a accident and subsequently be off work.
Humour and jokes in a resume
Unless you are applying for a job as a comedian do not attempt to be funny or include any jokes, it can make you seem unprofessional and immature. Humour is a subjective thing and since you have no idea who will be reading your CV and whether they have a similar sense of humour to you it’s best not to take any chances. Below is a example of someone trying to be funny in a resume:
- Reason for leaving a job: ‘I thought the world was coming to an end.’
Do not be tempted to list everything that you have ever done. Remember that Hiring Managers will have a stack of CVs to go through, their time is limited and so is their patience.
How long should your resume be?
This is one of the most common questions asked about resumes. The golden rule is that it should be as concise as possible, but long enough to entice a hiring manager to call you for a job interview. Currently most CV experts agree that it should ideally be one page long, however its final length really depends on your experience and the type of job you are applying for, which in turn means it can be two pages long if need be.
Naming your resume
Make sure any resume you email as an attachment has a meaningful name. Do not simply attach a file called ‘Resume.doc’. Once it has been saved to your prospective employer’s hard disk your resume should be easy to identify. Name your resume attachment something like:
Name dropping in your resume
If you have worked for a prestigious company or someone who is well known in your industry, then be sure to mention this.
With the exception of governmental positions, which may require this information, your nationality should be omitted. As long as you are either a native to the country in which you are applying or can provide a suitable working visa, there is no need to explain where you are from.
Any information you give should not reveal the actual names of your current or previous employers’ clients. Also be careful about disclosing confidential information about a previous employer’s sales figures or business turnover etc.
Printing a resume
If you are sending a paper version of your resume then use a high quality printer. Laser printers are ideal for producing crisp sharp text.
Do not use coloured paper, as it can overshadow the content of your resume, instead always use clean white paper with a minimum density and weight of 90gsm.
Only list membership of organisations if they are relevant to the job or industry you are applying to. This can include volunteer groups, charities or trade associations.
Never just rely on spell checking software. After you have finished writing it and before you send it out have your resume reviewed by a competent person. Ask them to critique your resume for its appropriateness, errors, typos, or misspelled words. Don’t risk throwing away all of your hard work with one small spelling mistake which could blow your chances. Always get a second or third opinion on its quality and how it reads.
In a resume there is no need to give the personal name or contact details of any references, instead as space is at a premium you should simply have a statement saying;
‘REFERENCES – Available on request.’
For referees always use people who can talk about how good a worker you are, and remember to make sure you get their permission before using them. Tell them who may be calling them and confirm what you would like them to say regarding points like:
- How they met you.
- Do they know you in a professional of personal capacity.
- When you last saw them.
Note that some CV writers believe you do not need to mention references in your resume, as you are in effect stating the obvious. They believe that employers already know that virtually all serious applicants have referees and if required they can be supplied separately.
There are some employers out there who will check this to see whether you have written the resume yourself. They do this by looking for the ‘author’ of the document you have emailed them. Therefore if you plan to send in your resume as a MS Word document or a PDF, check its properties first. Do this by going to the File menu of a MS Word document and clicking on Properties then look at the Summary and ensure your name appears in the Author box (if it doesn’t then simply enter your name there and save it). Note that in MS Word 2007 to get to the Author section you must select Prepare and then Properties from the main drop down menu.
Skills and strengths
Below are some keywords that you can use to describe your strongest points.
- Team worker
- Good with people
- Meeting deadlines
- Forward planning
- Time management
Update your resume regularly
Keep it fresh and current by updating it with the latest training programs and other academic qualifications that you have gained. Avoid sending in an obsolete document.
White space in your resume
Do not jam your resume with text, use white space between the words, lines and paragraphs to improve the legibility of your resume.
Your strongest points
When describing your strongest points give specific details regarding your experiences. For instance don’t just say that you that you ‘Managed sales accounts’, instead say something like:
- ‘Managed three sales accounts worth 1 million pounds’.
Don’t just say that you ‘Wrote a report about mortgage borrowing’, instead say that you:
- ‘Conducted extensive research and wrote a report regarding the rise of house prices and its relation to mortgage borrowing.’ (Then go on to mention that your report was printed in a well respected publication etc).
This is one of the most important parts of your resume.
Nothing is more convincing and appealing to a prospective employer than a clear, specific and concise explanation of how you contributed to a previous employers’ success. The purpose of this section is to impress the employer with your abilities and to cause them to want to ask further questions about your work performance.
In this section recruiters will basically be looking for clues about the type of worker you are. It’s a place for you to show off your desirable traits and to prove your future value to prospective employers.
As a general rule, include more details about your current job, and less details about older jobs. Begin with your most recent position and then work backwards. Mention points which were particularly noteworthy or interesting and which will show that you brought a different perspective to things.
What employers want to see in your past employment
- A strong work ethic.
- Commitment, poise and ambition throughout a applicants prior experiences.
- If you have worked for a prestigious company or market leader in your industry (if you have then certainly mention this).
Writing about your current / last job
For your most recent / present employer write a brief description consisting of a few sentences followed by a short list of bulleted items. Make sure to include the following information:
- Your job title (this can add value to your resume)
- Name of organization, and, if applicable, division
- Work location (city, state)
- Dates of employment (year or month/year)
- List of accomplishments
Do not dedicate the same amount of space to each one. You should give more attention to your current or last job and also those that are similar to the one you are applying for.
Below is an example of how to lay it out:
“Financial Services Company – Birmingham
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE April 2009 – Present
Responsible for building relationships with prospective clients and related third parties with the ultimate aim of growing new business sales. Also accountable for meeting or exceeding monthly sales quotas by organising and running effective marketing campaigns.
- Forecasting accurate sales activity for a team of 25 sales executives.
- Communicating effectively and building relationships with key decision makers for over 15 multinational companies.
- Helping to recommend process improvements to increase team efficiency in areas such as administration, cold calling and email marketing
- Following up qualified leads with phone calls and email campaigns.
- Formulating and executing major account strategies for 4 brand new product launches.”
Writing about previous jobs
One reason for not focusing too much on these is that that even though they may have been satisfying and senior roles, writing extensively about older jobs may cause the employer to believe that your career has peaked and is in decline.
You are not obliged to list every job you’ve ever had (bearing in mind the limitations on space), but you should highlight relevant experience whenever it occurred.
For previous roles simply list the name of the company, location, job title and the dates.
“Financial Services Company – Birmingham
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE April 2009 – Present”
Tips on writing about your career history
- When including a brief description of your work duties, use strong, active verbs.
- Emphasise your achievements and show how you contributed to your employer’s business.
- Show that you can consistently produce positive results.
- Do not make your work experience sound like a job description.
Be careful about releasing potentially classified data, for instance a current or previous employers performance figures or turnover, it could be a breach of confidentiality. If you need to mention figures i.e. ‘you claim to have increased company sales by £200,000 over a set period’, then consider using percentages rather than actual figures i.e. ‘you increased sales by 20% over a set period’.
It’s not necessary to include the specific dates (day/month/year) that you worked at each job (i.e. ‘23/04/2007 to 22/04/2009’), instead just list the years you have worked for each company (i.e. ‘2007 to 2009’).
How far back should your career history go?
With constant changes in technology and business practices, writing in detail about anything you did further back than 10 years ago can be redundant, meaningless and obsolete. Some people say that 15 years should be the cut off point whilst others say it should be 5 years. However there is no correct answer to this question or absolute rule as to what to include or exclude. Candidates should go as far back as they need to in order to make their work experience do the the most good for them. Every situation is different so you must always weigh up the pros and cons of including everything.
A good example of this is the scenario of a company looking for a candidate who has say 12 years experience in a particular field. In this case it’s clear that an applicant should mention all of their career history going back more than 12 years.
Another example is if you’re trying to get a job in medical sales and at present you’re a office assistant. Now if it was 11 years ago that you last actually worked as in medical sales, then you’re probably better off going ahead and mentioning what you did 11 years ago.
One possible solution is to list your work accomplishments and skills from years back in a special ‘Areas of Expertise’ or ‘Professional Profile’ section. This way you can cherry pick skills from your past and that are relevant to the position you are applying for.
Another option if you have a lengthy career is to put the older jobs in an ‘Early Career’ section that follows your most recent employment. In the ‘Early Career’ section, you can summarise by simply listing job titles and employer’s names, and even leave off the dates.
A good way to start is to write a full description of your previous jobs on a separate document and then start trimming it down or taking relevant information from it and using that in each separate resume.
Short temporary jobs
If you have had numerous short term jobs over a specific period then there’s no need to list every one of the. Instead say something like ‘variety of temping roles’. Mentioning that you used to sell hamburgers when you were 17 is probably not going to help you get that executive position.
Disadvantages of listing all of your career history in detail
- It can clutter up your resume.
- It can flag to employers that you are an older job seeker.
In conclusion and to be safe it’s always best to briefly mention all of your early career history and thereby account for all of your time. Remember that a long career history can show dedication, commitment, loyalty and perseverance, all positive selling points. To save space it’s best to abbreviate and just give the company name, job title and your employment dates. The main reason for including everything is that if you did leave career gaps in your employment history then that in turn could make recruiters suspicious that you are trying to hide something, or you have not been diligent in preparing your resume, neither are sought-after characteristics.
Explaining why you left career information out of your resume
If you do exclude sections of your previous career from your resume and are asked in an interview why you did this, then you’ll just have to say that you ran out of space on your resume.
Gaps in your career
If you do have gaps, then mention them and give an appropriate reason for them, such as career break, bringing up a family etc.
RESUME FORMAT AND STRUCTURE
An effective resume depends on good structure and clarity.
Optimising your resume format so that it puts your strongest points first can go a long way to getting you short-listed for the interview. The best resumes are brief and informative, with every word in them working hard for you. Always try to keep the structure consistent through your resume so as to not only create an immediate positive impression but also allow for quick scanning and comprehension.
Start of by determining your strengths first and then begin to organize your resume (with headings) in a way that highlights these strengths. Deciding on which format to use and titles to include depends upon the following factors; your personal circumstances, the job being applied for, the goals of the résumé and its target audience. For effective job hunting its vital that you use a format that best highlights your past experiences and connects them to the job to which you are applying. Remember that anything you have achieved in your career and which can impress your future employer should be included in it.
Also note that as details add value to your resume, try to include information that is intriguing and enticing so as to attract the attention of Hiring Managers.
Key points about the structure of a resume
- Keep it compact and no longer than one page.
- Do not waste valuable space on vague comments or irrelevant information.
- Make it easy for the reader to assess you skill sets and abilities.
- Ensure that your text does not cover the whole page.
- Check the page margins for consistency.
The two main resume formats used today are chronological and functional layouts. However there is no uniform structure for a resume, the only correct structure is the one that gets you invited to interviews. There are multiple formats used to present information on a résumé, and each format has its own strengths and weaknesses. It’s also worth noting that some industries and countries have their own preferred resume formats.
Mandatory sections in a resume
- Personal and contact details
- Career summary / objective
- Career history
- Areas of expertise
- Academic achievements
Optional sections in a resume
- Professional training
- Professional affiliations and memberships
- Licences and accreditations
- Knowledge of foreign languages
- Special accomplishments such as awards
Unnecessary sections in a resume
- Hobbies and interests
This is the resume format that is preferred by most employers, and, therefore, should be preferred by you. This is because its structure provides employers with the most efficient means of reviewing your current/past employment and educational achievements, as well as your career progression.
Your jobs are listed in reverse chronological order (emphasizing dates, times and specific locations) with your current, or most recent job, first. However, it tends to and de-emphasize earlier experience. It is appropriate for people who have worked consistently and have been part of the workforce for several years. It is the best option for those who have significant experience in the field where they are seeking a job.
Reasons why a chronological resume is popular
- It emphasizes work experience.
- Shows that you are career-minded.
- Highlights progression in your working life.
- Is most traditional format and the and easiest to construct and understand.
It is suitable for applicants who
- Are changing companies within the same industry.
- Have a solid, steady track record, without significant lapses in employment.
It is not suitable for applicants who
- Are changing careers.
- Have little or no work experience.
- Have been job hopping.
- Have been demoted.
It is the most common way of structuring your resume as it lists your work experience and achievements in each job, beginning with the most recent.
Chronological resume format
- Personal and contact details
- Career objective
- Career history
- Areas of expertise
- Academic qualifications
Disadvantages of a reverse chronological resume
- Without careful management, it can reveals your age.
- It may suggest to an employer that you stayed in one job for too long.
- May reveal that you had too many inconsequential and temporary jobs.
For some job seekers it’s a big advantage NOT having to list where they have worked, and the job titles they have held. A functional resume is ideal for this as unlike a chronological resume, you don’t need to show where you worked in the past.
A functional resume is essentially a skilled based document that highlights your key abilities and downplays work experience. Its biggest advantage is that it directs the reader to what you want them to see, and allows you to quickly highlight the skills that the employer is looking for. It places more focus on what you can do and describes your skills and experience without mentioning dates or places. This format is appropriate for those who are just entering the workforce or have large gaps in their work history. Your skills should be listed in order of their importance, and a brief summary of your work history is usually given at the bottom of the resume.
As it places a great deal of emphasis on what you know, and what you’ve accomplished, rather than where you’ve worked, it is suitable for applicants who have acquired skills that are very transferable from one job to another. For example, if you’re looking for a sales position, it will enable you to emphasize skills such as sales training, P&L responsibilities, client development, and product management.
Example of how a functional resume can be effective
If you have worked as a sales manager, then you were probably responsible for hiring, training, coaching, evaluating and handling employee relations issues. Now if you were to submit this information in a chronological resume for the position of a ‘Human Resources Manager’ then there’s a real possibility that the hiring manager might not see these skills of yours because (a) you did not mention them and (b) you did not hold the title of a ‘Human Resources Manager’.
A functional resume is suitable for applicants who:
- Have a mixed career background with a collection of jobs not specific to the type of position being sought.
- Want to focus on their skills which are specific to the position being applied for.
- Want to highlight the transferable skills that are relevant to the position.
- Are returning to a previous profession.
- Are re-entering the workforce after a lengthy absence.
- Jump around a lot between jobs (some employers might view this as a bad ‘habit’ to have , no company wants to invest money training you up, only to have you leave).
- Want to change industries.
- Who have no previous work experience and are applying for their first job i.e. students or graduates.
Disadvantages of a functional resume
- Many employers do not like the functional format and much prefer the chronological layout.
- Hiring manager might be looking for the very information that the functional resume does not show i.e. your detailed career history. This in turn can make them suspicious of the applicant.
Think carefully about using a functional format as you need to make sure the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
Functional resume format
- Name and Address Header
- Career statement
- Summary of Qualifications
- Experience Highlights / Areas of expertise
- Work/Employment History
The combination resume incorporates the best of the chronological and functional formats. It is suitable for drawing connections between experiences that don’t appear relevant but do use transferable skills. A combination resume lists your skills and experience first, with your employment history listed after. With this type of resume you can highlight the skills you have that are relevant to the job you are applying for, and also provide the chronological work history that employers prefer to see.
Resumes in MS Word and PDF format
Make sure that your resume is sent in a file format that can be read by your prospective employer. The best way to do this is to have a MS Word (.doc) or PDF document, both of which are almost certain to be readable by anyone on a PC or Mac. PDF stands for Portable Document Format and to be opened and read it requires Adobe Acrobat Reader software (a widely available free download). You could also consider sending it in the universal Rich Text Format (.rtf).
Benefits of PDF resume
- The design will remain consistent, meaning that the recipient will see a document that looks virtually identical to the original one from which it was created, thus preserving the resume’s visual appeal.
- A PDF resume is considered a safer email attachment than those of application software, since viruses can’t hide in the text of the PDF file (Word .docs are more vulnerable to viruses than are PDF’s).
- A PDF allows your resume to retain all the graphic headers, attractive fonts, bold and italicized words that were embedded from your application software (like Word or WordPerfect). However it is delivered independent of application software, which means that the recipient does not need to have your application software on their computer system to be able to open your resume attachment.
- They are internationally accepted.
Disadvantages of a PDF resume
- After receiving a resume some Hiring Managers like to add notes to it, they can do this to a MS Word document but not to a PDF one.
Use MS Word to create a PDF
The main reason for doing this is that if you convert your resume from Microsoft Word to PDF on your computer then the entire contents of your document will be searchable. This can keep your resume active with the company for longer periods of time through their database.
Avoid creating a PDF resume using a scanner as this creates an image file, which in essence is a picture of your resume and something that an employer’s software will not be able to read or search keywords for.
Using specialist packages to write your resume
Remember that If you send your CV produced on some obscure word processing program, then it may not be readable by those receiving it.
WRITING ABOUT YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS
Properly listing your achievements can give you a competitive edge over other job applicants.
Any employee can be assigned responsibilities and duties, but not many of them can say they have achieved things at work. Also remember that an achievement does not have to be something significant, it can be anything that portrays you in a positive light.
Achievement focused resumes will tell a prospective employer a lot about you, and will greatly increase your chances of getting invited to that all important interview. When putting one together avoid writing in vague and general terms, instead be specific and focused. Don’t fall into the trap of just mentioning your duties and responsibilities, If you raised revenue, explicitly mention the amount of money in figures or as a percentage. Don’t be modest, remember that the best way to impress an employer reader is boldly show off the results of your hard work. Focus on the quality and relevancy of your achievements rather than on quantity. Always ask yourself if the achievement you are relevant to the job being applied to. Remember that the only thing that interests the prospective employer is what you can do for THEM.
In a short sentences show the reader that what your goal was, how you achieved it and what benefits it brought to your employer.
When defining your achievements mention
- What action you took to achieve an objective i.e. ‘Planned and launched a new online marketing campaign’.
- What actual objective was achieved i.e. ‘Which resulted in Internet sales increasing by 22%’.
Employers are interested in how you can
- Increase profits
- Improve efficiency
- Beat the competition
- Increase customer satisfaction
- Get more customers
- Solve problems
- Save the company money
- Reduce costs
- Lead teams and supervise
- Train other employees
- Complete tasks on time
Employers want to know if you have
- Identified ways to save costs and thereby increase company profits.
- Received promotions or awards for goals achieved.
- Created, reorganized or established any procedure or system.
- Complimented for special competence or performance.
- Done something that was viewed/used by many people.
- Solved problems that other staff either didn’t know how to solve.
- A perfect punctuality and attendance record.
- Carried out awkward tasks that other workers cannot do.
Examples of how to write about your achievements
When writing your achievements do not just list your responsibilities or the duties you performed, also give details of the resulting positive benefits.
Instead of: ‘Mentored other team members’.
Write: ‘Mentored team members which increased team performance by 20%’.
Instead of: ‘Put in charge of leading a 10 person team’.
Write ‘Hand-picked……’ or ‘specifically chosen to……’.
‘Used expert knowledge of project management to complete project ahead of schedule and under budget, resulting in a 30% increase of market share’.
‘Provided effective backup for colleagues which resulted in customer complaints dropping by 17% over a three month period’.
‘Nominated as team leader on 10 separate occasions’.
Tips when writing about your achievements
Not all achievements have to have occurred in the workplace, you can also mention community, charity or voluntary work.
- Whenever possible give figures.
- Use a confident tone and positive language.
- Focus on those achievements that are relevant to the job you are applying for.
DO’S AND DON’TS
Do not include
All of the personal information below is not relevant to the hiring decision and therefore does not need to be included:
- Age (not showing this can help you to avoid age discrimination)
- Bank details
- Ethnic background
- Health status
- Hobbies or pastimes.
- Marital status
- National Insurance number
- Number of children
- Passport number
- Photographs (unless one is specifically requested)
- Place of birth
- Political party membership or affiliation
- Salary requirements (including salaries or wages)
- Social security number
In many countries employers are forbidden from making a hiring decision based on many of the above factors. For instance in the UK, The Race Relations Act 1976 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, or nationality (including citizenship, ethnicity or national origin).
- Anything in your past employment and education that’s relevant to the job.
- Action verbs (they will give your resume power and direction).
- Achievements, recognition and awards (especially if they are relevant to the job).
- Any promotions you have had in your career.
- Industry specific keywords.
- Short, action-oriented statements.
Skills and competencies to show in a resume
Use a resume to show your ability to:
- Communicate effectively
- Make decisions
- Meet deadlines
- Learn quickly
- Follow procedures and instructions
- Lead a team
- Work as part of a team
- Adapt to new environments
Use your resume to convey your:
Using job adverts to write your resume
This is a great way of finding out what a employer wants from a candidate. Apart from using the advert of the job you are applying for, it’s also a good idea to read three or four adverts of other similar roles and then using the common requirements in them to help you mould and focus your resume. For even further information consider reading occupational literature, studying job descriptions and looking at a prospective employers website.
Job adverts are also a good source of information about keywords. For instance if an employer lists ‘team leading’ as a required skill, be sure to include and highlight the word ‘team leading’ or ‘team leader’ in at least one job description or skill set you include on your resume.
The format that you choose for your resume should be the one which you think best communicates your suitability for the job. The structure will vary depending on your work experience and education and training background. A key point to note when selecting a layout is that resumes usually set out information in a reverse order, meaning your most recent work experience and study details should be first on the list.
These should be sent with your resume, however they must not simply be a duplication of the information already in any attached resume. Instead use it to impress the reader with your communication skills, give additional information about yourself and convey your enthusiasm for the position. In a cover letter:
- Express your interest in the job.
- Explain why you are interested in the job and the company.
- Request a job interview.
- Close the letter by thanking them for their time.
Click here Cover Letter examples to see dozens of professionally written covering letters.
The importance of writing a tailored resume
One resume will not fit all applications. Ideally a resume should be written, tailored and targeted at the role you are applying for. These resumes will always be much more successful than a single generic one that you send out to every vacancy.
- Employers do not like getting a resume that ‘sounds’ like it’s been sent to everyone.
The more you know about what the employer is looking for, the better you can focus your resume. Therefore it’s important that you gather as much information as you can about the job role, employer and industry as a whole. All of this data will help you to match your skills to the job requirements. For instance if a job specifies that potential employees should have 2 years experience of a particular field, then be sure that the version of the resume you send to that employer clearly reflects this requirement.
Start off by compiling a comprehensive, outline of all your experiences, qualifications and any other information you feel is relevant to the job. Then analyse your skills and select the most pertinent information from this list and organize it so that the key items stand out.
All of this of course means more research, preparation and draft writing. However one way to make it easier on your-self is to compose a set of different resumes with each one written for specific job role. These ready-made templates will then give you a bank of resumes that you only need to slightly modify for each new job application.
Use action verbs to describe your responsibilities and accomplishments, below are a list you can use;
Online / electronic resumes
The Internet has changed the way resumes are written, read and handled. As the search for jobs has become more electronic and moved onto the internet, it has become more common and acceptable for employers to receive resumes via email.
Many employers and recruitment companies now have massive databases of electronic resumes which they use specialist software to sift through. This software will scan documents with special software programs to determine the presence of certain keywords as a way of filtering them before a select few get passed along to a real person. They will also have applicant tracking systems, and use specialist software to ‘read’ scan and store resumes into computerised databases and electronic files.
To ensure a high level of accuracy during all of these scanning and searching processes, it is important to prepare your resume beforehand. Below are some tips you should follow to ensure your resume is never missed out:
- Use a plain white background in any paper based or PDF formats.
- Include job specific and industry related keywords, (remember that these may be the phrases that are searched for by employers).
- Do not underline words.
- If sending in a paper version then do not staple or fold it.
- If sending in a paper version then send in the original and not a photocopy.
The advantages of electronic resumes:
- They allow for more graphics, multimedia and rich detail to be included.
- Save you time as with a few clicks you can apply for numerous jobs.
- They save money as there is no need to use paper, printers or the post.
- Are good for the environment as there is no need to use paper or ink etc.
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