What’s in a resume?

Your resume, essentially the face of your career. A 1-2 page document that shows a possible employer HOW GOOD you are at the position that you are applying on, because you have THIS MUCH experience and education. In a world where we are no longer dropping off resumes in person, we are instead emailing or applying through job boards. Aside from your email address, your resume is the only information that a potential employer knows about you, it is the only evidence that they have that you will be a good employee, a good fit for their company. Your resume is the first impression that you are giving to a potential employer, for your potential dream job. Nevertheless, applicants overlook the importance of a resume each time that they apply.

First and foremost, YOU DO REQUIRE A RESUME IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A JOB. Facebook applications just aren’t going to cut it, nor is a job board form that includes nothing more than your name, number, and the high school that you graduated from. Employers want to see that you put effort into what you do,they want to hire people who have a high degree of work ethic. What does this mean? It means that you must show your amazing level of integrity to them, through your first impression, your resume.

We see a wide range of resumes, from those which are extremely vague to those which include the previous 25-35 years of someone’s life. So what is important to include in your resume? Employers want to see your name, where you live (at least the city that you are currently living in), your contact information (including phone number and email address), your work experience (approximate dates included), and your education (dates are helpful here too). Do you have volunteer experience? Add it in there! References are always a great help as well, employers want to hear that others have had a great experience with you; and every once in a while, in a small world, it is a mutual acquaintance. Your resume is your first shot at getting your foot in the door with any company, so make it good, show them how awesome your background is!

Once you have filled that first impression with all the nitty-gritty of how valuable you are as a professional, YOU MUST PROOFREAD IT. Please don’t rush through this and send it away. Once again, employers want to see that you have put a lot of effort into the work that you do. So, you must ensure that this amazing piece of work doesn’t have any spelling mistakes, doesn’t have errors in the dates, and that it does flow nicely when read by someone else. Each section for your work experience, your volunteer experience, and your education, should be in chronological order, so that it is easy for the reader to follow. If possible, ask someone to read through it for you to provide feedback; it’s amazing what another person can pick up on, especially after you’ve been staring at that computer screen while working on it for a couple of hours.

Here is a bit of bonus information, that one may or may not know. Many companies now utilize applicant tracking systems (ATS). This saves HR loads of time by a) posting a position on multiple job boards and b) automatically filtering resumes based on keywords that an employer is looking for. So, adding in your skillset could put you one step ahead of another candidate. Do you have a specific software that you are a pro at (or even have a bit of experience with)? Are you a rockstar in a major component of your profession? Fill it into your resume, so that employers are excited to meet with you and take it to the next step. So, next time you are embarking, or even just inquiring, on a new professional venture, go ahead, and give your resume a little tweaking. Make it perfect, make them want you.

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