A resume is a marketing tool used to showcase your skills, experience, and qualifications. Whether you are looking for work or applying to college or graduate school, it's important to write an effective resume that will land you an interview. Read on for tips on how to write a killer resume!
What should I include in my resume?
What should be on your resume depends on what you're applying for. It's important to tailor your resume to the position you want, even if a sample is provided or required from the employer. If there's no format given, try using a chronological resume for most positions and reverse chronological if you are in school or working towards a more advanced position.
Chronological resumes list your experience or education in reverse chronological order (most recent at the top) and are a good choice if you have steady work experience or education. This type of resume can be used to apply for most positions, but if you're applying for a specialized position (e.g. flight attendant) look into using a functional resume.
Functional resumes list your strengths and accomplishments instead of a job or educational history, often in bullet points. This type of resume is used when you have gaps in your employment or less-than-desirable work experiences. The biggest advantage of this format is that it highlights skills not mentioned in the applicant's experience. If you're going for a job that requires specific technical skills, you might want to consider using this type of resume.
Regardless of the format you choose, it's important to make sure all employers can quickly identify and access your most relevant qualifications.
How should I format my resume?
A professional resume is typically one page long and formatted in a clear, crisp font. Times New Roman is typically the preferred font for resumes as it's easily readable. Margins should be at least one inch on all sides and your name should appear near the top of the page in larger type than any other heading or line.
A resume that extends onto multiple pages can be turned off for an employer. Longer resumes can also be intimidating and make you seem like a job hopper if you have many different jobs listed on your resume. Keep it simple, clean, and one page when possible.
What should I include in my cover letter?
A resume is meant to be brief but effective in presenting your abilities. A cover letter is a chance to share more detail about yourself as well as explain why you're the best candidate for the job. Your cover letter should complement your resume and provide further information that highlights your qualifications.
A resume cover letter should be concise and relevant to the job you are applying for. This is a great place to mention your skills without going into detail about them. Make it clear why you're right for the job and don't forget to address the person conducting the interview personally.
If you're sending your resume and cover letter through email, make sure you tailor them to that specific position. Simply changing the name of the employer can change a generic email into one that's customized for a specific company.
Proofread carefully before sending or posting your resume and cover letter. A typo or grammatical error on your resume can be a deal-breaker for an employer.
How do I send my resume to the right person?
When sending your resume to a business, make sure you've addressed it properly. For example, Courtney Ritter should write "To Whom It May Concern" at the top of her cover letter and resume when applying for a job at Company XYZ. If she wants to be more specific, Courtney should write "Dear Human Resources Manager" or "Dear Mr. Smith." Write the name of the person who is interviewing at the top of your cover letter so they are sure to see it!
Cover letters and resumes can go through several hands before reaching the decision-maker. Contact names, email addresses, and company websites are just a few tools you can use to ensure your application reaches the right person.
What is a referral?
A referral is when someone whose opinion an employer respects recommends you for a job. If a hiring manager has been recommended by another employee of the same company, it could be the easiest way to get a job.
Why do employers ask for references?
Reference checks are commonly performed by employers when they have narrowed down their applicant pool and want confirmation on certain details of an applicant's resume. References can confirm or explain information that might not be included in a resume (such as dates of employment or specific duties).
References are also a good way for employers to verify the information you included in your resume is accurate. There can be a big difference between what someone writes on their resume and how they present themselves in person. If an employer has concerns about your qualifications before even meeting you, it might save both parties time by finding someone else who meets their needs.
How do send references?
If you have listed a reference on your resume, include that person's name and contact information with your application or cover letter. This is an extra step in the interview process but it'll put you one step closer to getting hired! If you included the wrong phone number or e-mail address on your resume, the employer will contact you to correct it.
Your references will also have a say in whether or not you get hired. If your references are willing to talk about your strengths as an employee, but unwilling to list any weaknesses, that may raise a red flag for employers. It's best to choose references who will be honest with employers and give them a clear picture of how you work.
Should I include references?
You'll definitely want to have at least one reference from your current employer. This is someone who knows you on the job, so make sure that person can honestly comment on your strengths as an employee. It's smart to ask permission from a former employer before you list their name as a reference.
So good luck in your job hunting!
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