For job seekers, a standout resume is essential for securing an interview. That means that knowing how to craft an effective resume could change your future. Below you’ll find tips on how to create a resume that will increase the likelihood of being interviewed and potentially launch you into the next phase of your career.
Step 1: Choose the best resume format
Resumes have three basic formats:
- Reverse chronological, which highlights your work experience and education
- Functional, which focuses on your skills rather than employment history
- Combination, which includes both your skills and your work history
The reverse chronological format is the most widely used, although the functional resume is often good for people who have changed jobs frequently or have gaps in their work history and want to emphasize their abilities.
A combination resume can be useful if you are a recent graduate or if you have been in the work force for many years and don’t want to repeat some of your job duties or titles. It’s a way to keep your resume concise but thorough, which makes it user friendly for recruiters and can help in your job search.
Step 2: Create your resume content
Your resume is all about what makes you unique and valuable. Begin with the basics – name, address, phone number, and email. After that, it is often a good idea to write a resume objective statement, which distills what you can offer an employer and what you’re seeking in a position
History and experience
Now you can write your employment history section, starting with your current position and working backwards. Under each job, include a short summary of what you did in that role, including any notable achievements. In some instances, using bullet points can be an effective format.
Also, it’s often helpful to create a summary to emphasize experiences that are particularly relevant for the job you are applying for. Little touches and attention to detail can send you to the top of a recruiter’s list of candidates.
Next, you’ll list your education. Include the names of graduate schools and colleges, including majors or areas of concentration, the type of degree and any honors you received. Unless you’re a recent graduate and your GPA was at least 3.5, you don’t need to include it.
Expertise and talents
In a separate “Skills” section you’ll list special abilities, such as proficiency with technology or specific software programs and fluency in a foreign language. If a skill is pertinent to the new position, don’t hesitate to reorder the information in this section to highlight it.
Step 3: Make it effective and enticing
While content is crucial, the presentation also matters. Trust your instincts. Avoid creating a document with small font and too much copy. Busy resumes tend to discourage readers. If a resume format looks good and is easy for you to navigate, it probably will be for other readers. If you’re struggling for design ideas, you’ll find multiple resume templates online. Many of them are free and easy to use. A handsome, crisply executed resume can help separate you from potentially hundreds of other job seekers vying for the same position.
Keep in mind that some recruiters proactively start their search for candidates before they officially post a job and start receiving resumes. This is a good time to review and update your social media accounts. Remove any photos or text that might make an employer question whether you’d be a good part of the team, and ensure your LinkedIn profile and resume are telling the same story.
Always be prepared when making a major career decision — and for the future. Once your resume has helped you secure a new position, learn more about how to discuss your retirement plan with your employer. If it hasn’t made its way into the right hands, send it our way as we are always looking for bright talent to join the Nationwide team.