A resume is an important tool with which to reach potential employers. It is your opportunity to make a first impression by demonstrating your skillsets, experience, and capabilities. The hardest part is being satisfied with the finished product and starting to apply for your ideal job, but learning how to do a proper resume layout is the best solution.
Since most companies nowadays use applicant tracking systems to sift through piles of applications, including yours, it is important to comply with this type of software by learning about resume optimization. Chronological resumes are the most popular and traditional, but functional resumes will better fit the needs of individuals who have less experience with the kind of job they are seeking.
Chronological resumes often feature an objective or career summary, descending chronological list of previous positions, employers, responsibilities and accomplishments, as well as education, certifications and special skills. This format works best when you have had extensive, ongoing employment in the same area in which you are currently looking.
However, those who are switching careers, new to the workforce, or frequently changed jobs will have greater challenges with this format since it focuses on experience over skills and strengths, and emphasizes short-term or gaps in employment. In this case, functional resumes are likely more suitable.
Functional resumes highlight your abilities first and tack on career summaries and experience at the end. Your goal is to sell your strengths to reviewers before they see you may have limited experience – but you can show them how many of your acquired skills will be transferable.
No matter which format you decide is best for your resume, remember that simplicity is often key. Applicant tracking systems are usually the ones reviewing and organizing applications and candidates at first, simply based on keywords and phrases that are chosen by the recruiters. In fact, a high percentage of resumes are never even seen by the companies to which you send them.
As a result, it is important to embrace resume optimization by including the same words and phrases in a natural context that are repeated in the job descriptions. Tailor your resume in this fashion for each position you apply to, add all your related certifications and achievements, and industry-specific terminology, including abbreviations.
Avoid templates, underlining, spelling errors, page numbers, headers, footers, borders and shading. Keep formatting simple, use common headings, and deter from special characters and fancy bullets. Save your resume as “Your Name – Job Posting Title” as a basic .doc or .txt file and use basic fonts like Georgia, Arial, Courier, Impact, Lucinda, Trebuchet or Tahoma in black.
Make sure your resume is concise to appeal to both the applicant tracking systems and human reviewers. Only include past positions and skills relevant to the particular job, use spellcheck, and have friends or family be your extra sets of eyes. Then remember to check your email and spam folder regularly as you wait to hear back from your bright future.
For more information on how you can make a smarter resume and experience a smarter way to find your next job, go to Jobminx and see for yourself.