Updated: Mar 27, 2019
Your resume is your most prized professional marketing tool. It is the first, and often times the only impression a recruiter or hiring manager has of you. So, at the minimum it needs to be a professional, well-written and adequate representation of your experience. However, this is not always enough to make it through today's increasingly sophisticated application process and receive an interview invitation. Job seekers must have an impactful application package featuring a well-written resume optimized with keywords and achiever traits. As well as an engaging and targeted cover letter. Combined together they create an application package that tells your compelling and captivating professional story. Greatly increasing your odds of landing an interview.
Before you can enhance your resume and write an engaging cover letter, you need to make sure that your resume is fundamentally sound covering all of the basics. This is essential to the success of your job search. It's best to write your resume using Microsoft Word. It is the most compatible word processing software with ATS meaning your formatting and font will remain consistent when viewed on the recruiters end. Starting from the top down, your resume should include your NAME, CONTACT NUMBER, EMAIL and LOCATION (city/state). They should be plainly visible towards the top of your resume. This can be centered, left aligned or right aligned, it all depends on the format of your resume. Your font should be something safe, conventional and available in MS Word. Such as Times New Roman, Calibri or Arial, and utilize 10pt - 12pt sized font. This is very easy to read, which is something you should consider since the person reviewing your resume will likely be in the process of reviewing dozens of resumes for the same position.
Keep the structure of your resume simple, four sections is all you really need. Included should be the following sections:
1. Professional Summary or Qualifications (Highlighting your professional skills and experience. Demonstrate your unique value through the skills and accomplishments that qualify you for the position you're seeking.)
2. Chronologically Detailed Work Experience (A chronologically formatted resume begins with the most recent position and working its way backward to the earliest job. Listing the position held, company name, location, and dates of employment. This resume format showcases the applicant's job history and illustrates career progression in an easy-to-digest format).
3. Education and Certifications (Details your educational background and professional development endeavors).
4. Skills (List the relevant abilities and attributes you've mastered – not necessary if you’ve included your skills in the qualifications section).
As a general rule you should be proof reading your resume several times checking for grammatical, spelling and formatting errors prior to saving and submitting. This is pivotal. There's nothing like marketing yourself as someone who is professional, but your resume is full of unprofessional errors. So if it looks like trash expect that's where the recruiter will put it, right into the trash bin.
Best of luck!
Be sure to check back next week for Part II of our Developing An Impactful Application Package series, on Resume Optimization. If you'd like more personalize assistance with developing your impactful application package or with executing your job search, please contact us at TheModernJobSeeker@gmail.com.