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Resume 101: Back to the Basics

Resume 101: Back to the Basics

Writing a resume is both intimidating and overwhelming. It’s challenging to sum up your background, work history, skill sets, and education in a concise document that you then submit to a complete stranger. Your resume is often your first impression during your job search, so it must be bulletproof. However, that’s easier said than done. As your career changes, so does your resume, so it can be tricky to craft a perfect document for your job application. So, we are bringing you back to the basics to help you construct a winning CV!

Avoid overcomplicated resume templates

When you go to create or redesign your resume, stick to simple and clean templates. Services like Canva or Microsoft Word offer creative and colorful templates. Some of these templates and designs are fair game, but it’s best to pass on overly complicated templates. Unless you are a graphic designer, keep your format simple. Use nice, easy-to-read fonts, use clear section headings to organize the different content on your resume, and avoid adding a headshot to eliminate any unconscious biases. Plus, “fancy” resume formats can confuse application tracking systems, and thus, filter your application out before a human can even review it.

Don’t forget your contact details!

This may seem like common sense, but you would be surprised with how many people forget to include part or all of their contact information. The best location for your contact details is right at the top, so hiring managers and recruiters can quickly reach out to you about the positions you are applying for. Also, now is a great time to review your contact details. Is your email address one you check often? Is it professional? If it’s a goofy or inappropriate email you made back in high school, it might be time to create a new email address.

resume contact details

Work history, in reverse chronological order

After your contact details, it’s time to add your work history. Display your work history in reverse chronological order and include your job title, company name, time frames you worked there, and the location. For each role, add key responsibilities and duties and tailor them for each position. Use concise bullet points and include action verbs, specific numbers to illustrate your achievements, and use keywords that tie back into the job description.

Education section

After your work experience, you can display your education. Include the school’s name or program’s title, your degree or certification, relevant course work, and attendance dates. Unless you are fresh out of school, it’s best not to include your GPA (if you include it, don’t add it if it’s under a 3.5 GPA). If you are applying for mid-level positions or higher, you can forgo everything except the school, program, and degrees or certifications. If you are well into your career, you can save some space by removing your graduation dates and relevant coursework.

Skills section

Adding a skills section may be new to many job seekers, but it’s one of the most important areas on your resume. This section is your opportunity to illustrate how well you fit for the position you are applying for. Carefully review the job description and reflect on your hard and soft skills that are relevant for this position. For this section, all you have to do is list your skills to show the hiring professional that you are a solid match for the position. This area is also an excellent place to insert your transferrable skills. Transferable skills are vital for job seekers transitioning to new industries or career paths because they allow you to demonstrate your fit for the role, even if you don’t have direct experience.

Certifications

Your certifications section is straightforward. All you need to do is nicely list out any certifications you have earned, the issuer of that cert, and the date the cert was achieved. List out all your certifications, with your most relevant ones at the top of the list.

Looking for more resume assistance?

So, there you have it. This is a concise overview of crafting a bulletproof resume. If you are looking for more resume advice to take your job search to the next level, check out our candidate resources. We have dozens of articles with helpful resume guidance to help you find your next career opportunity!

Internship Resume Mistakes to Avoid

Internship Resume Mistakes to Avoid

If you are applying for an internship, you are probably hard at work tweaking your resume and getting your application materials up to snuff. For many students, this is their first opportunity with a job in their future line of work. As a result, most job seekers in this situation are new to the labor force and are relatively inexperienced with assembling a bulletproof resume. Here are internship resume mistakes to avoid to propel you through the interviewing process.

Not adding course work and certifications

One of the biggest internship resume mistakes is students or recent grads failing to add relevant course work and certifications. As a young professional, you likely do not have a ton of related work experience to add to your resume. However, you can supplement your lack of experience with relevant coursework and certifications. Add a section below your education section labeled “Relevant Course Work” and list a handful of relevant classes. You can also do this with any projects or certifications that demonstrate your expertise in your field and show hiring managers you have pertinent experience.

Not showing details relevant to the position

When you are crafting your resume, you must tailor it to each position. In today’s competitive labor market for new grads, you have to customize your resume to fit the role you are applying for. That means you have to tweak your work experience details to match the job. Sorry, no more cookie-cutter resumes! You must tailor each resume with tasks, skill sets, and achievements relevant to the job. Even if it’s just a summer job, do your best to add and rephrase responsibilities to complement the job description. Doing so will show hiring managers your interest in the position and illustrate that your experiences and transferrable skills will make you a strong candidate for the position.

Not knowing what’s on your resume

If you put something on your resume, you have to be able to discuss it in an interview. Whether it’s a certification, a project you worked on, or a current class you are in, if it’s on your resume, you better be able to back it up. If you receive a job interview and a hiring manager asks you about something on your resume and cannot intelligently discuss it, that is a huge red flag. A certification or skillset may look fantastic on your resume, but if you cannot discuss it during an interview, it’s best to remove it. Review your resume before your interview and prepare yourself to answer any questions about items you included in it.

Show your personality on your internship resume

Last but certainly not least, you need to let your personality shine through on your internship resume! Hiring managers are, of course, looking at your skills, experiences, and other accolades. However, many of these basic skills can be taught on the job. After all, your education can only teach you so much. Companies are looking at your personality and how you fit on a team just as much as your qualifications. To showcase your personality, add relevant hobbies to your resume, a resume objective, and other details to give them a better idea of who you are as a person. You can also add links to your online portfolio or LinkedIn profile to allow employers to see a glimpse of your personality.

Still looking for resume advice?

These are a few internship resume mistakes to avoid as you prepare for this exciting step in your career. If you are looking for more resume advice, we have hundreds of resume resources to help propel your job search. Take a peek at these helpful tips and tricks, and good luck!

How to Beat the Resume Bots

How to Beat the Resume Bots

Did you know that 75% of job applications are rejected before a pair of eyes even lay on it? Now more than ever, employers will be utilizing application tracking systems (ATS) to filter out candidates’ resumes. Millions of people looking for new employment opportunities and an ATS helps hiring professionals to weed out resumes to make the hiring process more manageable. So, how can you optimize your resume to get past the resume bots and into the hands of the hiring manager?

What is an application tracking system?

An ATS is essentially a software hiring professionals use to collect, sort, scan, and rank the job applications they receive. They are basically a gatekeeper for employers and recruiters to efficiently filter out or find candidates for open positions. ATS software was initially designed for larger corporations that receive thousands of applications each week but are commonly used by many employers to streamline their hiring processes.

So, how can job seekers get past these resume bots and get their resumes seen by a human being?

Clean formatting and layout

ATS is a piece of software – it can’t use logic to analyze unique resumes with fancy designs. In other words, your resume should have a clean format and layout. Don’t try and cram everything on a single page (your resume can be longer), don’t hide your contact details, omit any graphics or headshots, and use a standard font and headings. Also, be sure to save your resume as a Word document or PDF file because 43% of resumes are submitted in an incompatible file type. Keep it simple and easy to read if you want to get past the resume bots.

Use keywords from the job description

If you want your resume to enter a hiring manager’s hands, you must tailor your resume. Gone are the days of submitting the same resume over and over and hoping your get a call to schedule an interview. To get past an ATS, you need to include keywords and phrases that match the job description. The ATS is looking for specific skill sets, experiences, certifications, and other essential qualifications. Take time to review the job description and tweak your resume carefully so it matches it (without lying about your qualifications, of course). If you don’t tailor your resume for each position, the ATS will filter you out no matter how strong of a candidate you are.

Use bulleted lists

Bulleted lists are easy for both bots and humans to read. You can use lists for your accomplishments, skills section, and job duties. However, it’s best to keep it simple. Don’t use fancy bullet points or other indications for your bullets. Stick to classic bullet points like solid circles, squares, or dashes to ensure your resume is compatible with an ATS. We often see elaborate bullet points that you might think make your resume stand out but, in reality, are impossible for an ATS to scan and comprehend.

Need more resume advice?

These are three simple ways you can optimize your resume to beat the bots. If you are looking for more resume advice, check out our resume resources page. We have dozens of helpful tips, tricks, and insight to help your job search end with an offer letter.

How to Shorten Your Resume

How to Shorten Your Resume

Have you ever spent a decent chunk of time updating your resume only to review it and ask yourself, “Is my resume too long?” Most of us have been in this position before; it can be challenging to shorten your resume without removing crucial skillsets, achievements, or working experience. Here are a few easy tips to trim down your resume.

Keep your resume objective short

More and more job seekers are including a resume objective, and that’s great. We encourage it, especially if you have been unemployed due to the pandemic. A resume objective is an excellent means to express your career goals, share what you are looking for in a new job, and explain why you may be out of work or transitioning into a new career path. However, an objective should be brief, just a sentence or two in length. If you feel the need to explain anything else, you can easily do so in your cover letter. Keeping your resume objective concise will help you shorten your resume without trimming any of your work experience.

Reduce your education section

Another easy way to shorten your resume is to slim down your education section. Your education is essential, and you should be proud of it, but you can keep it relatively short if you are an experienced job seeker. If you are 5+ years into your career, you can safely remove your GPA, course work, and other details. In most cases, all you need is your university or program’s name, the degree or certificate you received, and the date you completed your education. That’s it! Hiring managers and recruiters don’t care that you took a Macro Economics class if you are applying for a leadership role that has nothing to do with econ.

The only exception here is if you are fresh out of school. If you recently graduated, then you can leave some more details about your education.

Cutback irrelevant working experience

If you still need to shorten your resume, try cutting back some of your more irrelevant working experience. Many job seekers feel obligated to put every single job they have ever had on their resume. Instead, only include relevant work history if you are further into your career. A great example of this is internships or summer jobs. If you are 15 years into your career, you don’t need to put your four-month job at Dairy Queen on there. Remove any unnecessary work experience to make your resume more concise, giving you more room to elaborate on your more relevant work experience.

Remove your headshot

If you are one of those who have a headshot on the top of your resume, you can eliminate that to save some space. Your headshot has no place on your resume, and it can actually hurt your chances of advancing through the interview process. Also, with an increased emphasis on diversity, equality, and inclusion efforts, a picture of yourself can hinder your chances of securing an interview. Plus, it frees up some valuable real estate on your resume!

Does my resume have to be one page long?

So, those are four easy ways to shorten your resume. If you are trying to shorten because you feel your resume needs to be on a single page, stop right there. It is acceptable to have a resume longer than a single page in most circumstances. By keeping it under a page, you can be leaving off valuable skills and experiences. For more details on the one-page resume, check out our blog here.

2021 Resume Must-Haves

2021 Resume Must-Haves

If one of your new year’s resolutions is to secure a new job, know that it is a dog-eat-dog world out there. The job market is more competitive than ever, and employers are faced with difficult decisions when it comes to hiring people for their team. In order to set yourself apart, you must make some changes to your application materials. Here are three 2021 resume must-haves.

An Updated Skills Section

If you’ve been unemployed throughout 2020, hopefully, you’ve used that time wisely! Maybe you’ve taken an online course, taught yourself a new technique, or polished something you’ve been trying to add to your toolbelt. These new skills might not fit under an existing umbrella on your resume, so a “skills” section is an appropriate addition. Feel free to arrange them in a brief list using commas, or even bullet points if space allows.

A Resume Objective

It’s true that in the past, we have stated that resume objectives are unnecessary. However, everything has changed due to the global pandemic and multiple economic shutdowns. Many job seekers are venturing outside of their comfort zones, pivoting their careers, or applying for jobs that might not quite fit their surface-level qualifications. If this is you, it’s invaluable to explain your reason for applying to this specific position.

A Link To More Information

In such a competitive job market, it’s essential that you stand out on your 2021 resume. One great way to do this is by including a link to more information. This link could be to your LinkedIn profile, a website you designed, or a personal website featuring your portfolio.

One thing is for sure, navigating the job market in 2021 won’t be easy. But the good news is, you don’t have to do it alone! Explore our resources for more advice on job searching, resumes, interviewing, and more.

3 Things To Add To Your 2020 Resume

3 Things To Add To Your 2020 Resume

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a year unlike any other. That being said, your resume should reflect that! No matter what ups and downs your career has experienced this year, there are changes you can make to your resume. Here are three things that you need to do to craft a 2020 resume.

Explain Any Layoffs/Furloughs

Even in a year as crazy as this one, hiring managers will still expect you to explain any short stints of work or why you are looking for a new position. To jumpstart and take ownership of the conversation, add a quick bullet point explaining any layoffs or furloughs. No need to go deep into details; simply state why and when your employment ended.

Example:

Product Manager

ABC Company | Boston, MA | September 2019 – March 2020

  • Laid off in March 2020 due to the Coronavirus Pandemic
  • Analyzing sales data to review, plan, and assist with inventory management

Add Your “Quarantine Skills”

While millions of people were cooped up at home due to mandatory stay at home orders earlier this year, many sought to beef up their professional development. Whether you took a free online course, finally got around to teaching yourself Photoshop, or even learned new technology due to working remotely, be sure to add it to your 2020 resume. Not only do these skills make you more valuable, but they also help push you through tricky Application Tracking Systems and reflect that you use your free time productively. Again, keep it simple on your resume. You can explain further in your cover letter or during your interview!

Example:

Skills

Photoshop, Zoom Video Conferencing, Google AdWords, Social Media Marketing….

Include A Summary or Objective

Now, we’ve gone back and forth on whether you should include a resume summary or objective. However, during uncertain times, a summary or objective can give your resume focus. Additionally, its an opportunity to provide additional context to your current situation. Because so many professionals are pivoting their careers during this time, writing a succinct summary or objective gives the hiring manager a heads up as to why you would be a good fit for their position. (Even if your previous work history doesn’t exactly match what they’re looking for!)

When crafting your summary or objective, specifically highlight skills or personality traits that will be valuable right now. Some great examples are flexibility, remote work experience, or self-motivation.

Example:

Self-motivated Human Resources professional with five years of experience in driving results and improving the internal communication process for large-scale companies.

Final Thoughts

Now, more than ever, it’s essential to customize your resume. For more resume and job-search advice, explore our candidate resources!

Should You Include Hobbies On Your Resume?

Should You Include Hobbies On Your Resume?

Career Coach Sonal Bahl recently shared a controversial opinion: that you should absolutely include hobbies on your resume! While she was undoubtedly met with the expected backlash, such as “this is not Facebook,” there were also many people who were open to setting yourself apart by highlighting your passions. In fact, according to a LinkedIn poll, 45% of respondents think you should always include your hobbies on your resume, and 33% believe you should add them if they are relevant to the job. Our opinion? It depends!

When You Shouldn’t Include Hobbies On Your Resume

If you work in a straight-laced industry such as banking, law, or professional services, you want to exercise discretion. Typically, these industries will be looking for a more professional overview of your career. If you choose to include hobbies, keep them achievement-focused. Feature hobbies such as marathons, interest in languages, or business-related podcasts you follow.

When You Should Include Hobbies On Your Resume

If you are in a more sales-oriented or creative role, it can be extremely beneficial to highlight a few of your hobbies. Let your personality shine to set you apart from the competition. Choose something that speaks to your identity and how you will perform on the job. Sonal mentioned clients who included “enjoy baking. Probably bake the world’s most delicious brownie,” or “Absolutely devoted to my daily 10k run since 2006. Come rain, shine, or snow.” Those candidates both got called for interviews, and the hiring manager specifically mentioned the hobbies that they had included.

Things To Keep In Mind

Now, just because hiring managers are interested in hearing about your hobbies doesn’t mean you should include everything that interests you. Carefully select the hobbies you want to include. Do not list things that won’t add to your marketability like binge-watching Netflix, hanging out at clubs, or expert nap-taker. Also, be sure that the activities you include are things you’re actually passionate about! The purpose of adding hobbies to your resume is to stand out and establish a connection with the hiring manager. So, chances are that they will mention it during your interview with the expectation that you will speak thoughtfully on the topic.

In the end, it’s entirely up to you and what you feel comfortable with. Don’t feel pressured to include hobbies on your resume if it doesn’t feel natural to you. And on the other side, make sure the hobbies you do list contribute to your professional persona.

Interested in more resume tips? Click here to get your resume up to par.

Is The Education Section Of Your Resume Up To Par?

Is The Education Section Of Your Resume Up To Par?

With the latest announcement that the United States government will no longer be prioritizing education over skills, many are left wondering what that means for their resume. However, your education section is not “one-size fits all.” There are different standards, depending on where you are in your career. But don’t worry, we’re breaking down the education section of your resume, whether you are a seasoned professional or a recent grad.

If You’re A Seasoned Professional

When you’ve been out of school for a while, the resume section of your resume loses its importance. Of course, it’s still important to include it, but you won’t need to add nearly as much detail. Things like GPA, academic achievements, and relevant courses do not need to be included once you are a few years past earning your degree. Simply use the space to note where and when you attended and the degree you earned.

Example:

EDUCATION

ABC University – Chicago, Illinois – May 2012

Bachelor of Science in Structural Engineering

If You’re a Recent Grad

When you’re fresh out of college, you may have less content and experience to include on your resume. This is where your education shines! Feel free to include details that highlight your qualifications for the job to which you’re applying. Significant achievements or awards and an impressive GPA help to show your self-motivation and accomplishments. (However, only include your GPA if it is noteworthy – 3.5 or above.) List out your relevant course work to showcase your experience in certain areas.

Because your education may be the most relevant display of your qualifications, recent grads can choose to move it to the top of their resume. Featuring the education section of your resume first will catch a hiring manger’s attention right off the bat and will be a bit more appealing than your summer job at GAP.

Example:

EDUCATION

ABC University, Chicago – Illinois – May 2020

Bachelor of Business Administration – Concentration in Marketing,

GPA: 3.8 – Achievements: Dean’s List 2019-2020, Senior Class President

Relevant Coursework: Marketing Research, Graphic Design, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Research

Overall best practices, no matter your experience, keep it simple! If you have a college degree, there’s no need to mention anything before that. And as a general rule, if you find yourself questioning whether you should include something – leave it off!

Now that you have the education section of your resume in tip-top shape give the rest of your curriculum vitae a refresh with our resume tips!

Resume Essentials

8 Essential Elements To A Great Resume

Now, we know that a successful resume relies heavily on which job you’re applying to, what industry you work in, and of course, the experiences you have to fill it with. However, there are a few crucial things you should include, no matter which industry you’re in. A thoughtful resume is absolutely essential to landing your dream job. It’s the first impression your future employer will have of you, so it’s crucial to nail the details. Here are eight non-negotiables that are necessary to create a great resume. 

Contact Info Front and Center

You would be surprised at the number of people who leave the most important thing off their resume—their name and contact information! How can your future employer give you the great news that you scored an interview if they don’t know how to get ahold of you? This should be front and center on your resume, making them remember your name!

Education & Experience

Your education, experience, and specific achievements are what demonstrate to a hiring manager that you are a good match for the job! What you focus on in these areas depends on the job. No matter what, your education should be short and sweet. It should include dates of attendance, where you received your degree, and other details if they are applicable to your job (i.e., Certifications, honors, GPA, relevant coursework)

Your work experience is the main area that potential employers focus on. They want to see if your past work history aligns with what you would be doing in the role you are applying for. This section should include the tangible impacts that you made throughout your work history. Don’t be afraid to brag a little! Be sure to cater your resume to each job to which you apply. Try to use similar words in your resume that you found in the job description.

Awards and Certifications

Displaying your awards and certifications is very dependent on if they apply to this specific open position. Your resume is a great place to show off your accomplishments. However, if you don’t have any that an employer would be impressed by, don’t feel pressured to include anything! While it’s great to include awards and certifications, not having any does not put you out of the running for a job.

List a Balance of Both Soft Skills and Technical Skills 

Soft skills are becoming more and more important to employers. Show what you can bring to a team through examples of your leadership, communication, and adaptability throughout your career. And of course, technical skills are always necessary to get the job done. Highlight your technical skills through your field accomplishments and define what sets you apart from others through numbers and tangible achievements.

Integrate a Healthy Amount of Active Words

Replace passive verbs with active verbs in your resume if you want to stand out. Using active verbs shows the things that you have accomplished in your career. Some examples of active verbs include directed, generated, influenced, etc. The list goes on and on, but these words are much more influential and persuasive than passive ones.

 

Great Formatting

Formatting is everything when it comes to your resume. If it is too loud, it can stray hiring managers away from the critical information about you! Having a resume that is clean, clear, and well organized will always be the most successful.

Exceptional Spelling

Some hiring managers consider just a single typo on a resume an automatic veto and they trash the resume on the spot. Many take any misspellings or grammatical errors as a sign of poor attention to detail and a lack of care. Make sure you proofread your resume multiple times and maybe even have someone else look over it with fresh eyes.

Avoid Clichés

Exaggerating your skills is a cliché that will come back to haunt you after you’re hired. If you feel the need to inflate your skills, this job just isn’t the right fit for you. Another cliché you need to avoid is including irrelevant skills to the job. It takes up unnecessary space, making your resume look less clean and distracting from what’s most important.

With these tips in mind, remember that it is very important to customize your resume for every job. Read the job description and find a way to tailor your skills and experiences to mirror the job description, without exaggerating your skillsets. Stick to these resume guidelines, and your resume will be looking better than ever! 

Technical Resume

How To Write A Technical Resume

Crafting a well-written resume is not necessarily an easy task. And with the added pressure of making sure all of your technical skills and experiences are adequately highlighted, it may seem downright daunting. However, with proper organization and thorough descriptions, you can put together a technical resume that will catch the eye of any Hiring Manager. Simply follow these four guidelines when applying to your next technical position.

Clear Organization

This does not mean just organizing sections based on each job. Be sure to distinguish and highlight each job title on your technical resume. Then, create a bulleted list of all of your duties and accomplishments at each position. Finally, create a section just for relevant skills. This is your place to list technical skills that may not have fit well under a specific job title or just to reiterate your expertise in certain areas. (And bonus – it may help you get past any keyword prescreens!)

Describe Your Experience In-Depth

Your experience and the skills you’ve picked up along the way are what make you a great technical professional. Therefore, it’s absolutely essential that you properly highlight all of your qualifications. Use numbers to quantify your accomplishments. Don’t forget to include strong action verbs when describing responsibilities, such as “managed, executed, or developed.” These words give ownership to what you’ve done and leave a lasting impression.

List Your Certifications

Most candidates with technical experience have acquired a certification or two throughout their careers. Often, you are acquiring new or renewing ongoing certifications every single year. Be sure to list these on your technical resume, and don’t forget to include the date of acquisition, along with any certification numbers (if applicable).

Keep It Simple

As a technical expert, your skills speak for themselves. There’s no need to add a ton of bells and whistles to your resume. In fact, it may actually distract from the meat of your experience! Keep the focus on your work history by removing any pictures, colors, references, addresses, or any other irrelevant information.

Looking for more resume advice? Browse the JSG Blog for insights into the current job market, resume tips, interview advice, and guidance on starting a new position.