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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.

The Top Soft Skills You Need on Your Resume

The Top Soft Skills You Need on Your Resume

There’s been a lot of buzz about soft skills over the last couple of years. Employers are starting to pay more attention to them as it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find strong candidates in today’s market. Candidates with some of the hard skills hiring managers are looking for may not be available in this tight market. Thus, illustrating soft skills on your resume will help you stand out to employers.

Here are the top three soft skills and an example of how to demonstrate them in your resume.

Leadership

Even if the role you are applying for isn’t a leadership role, it’s essential to show examples of your leadership skills throughout your resume. Hiring managers want candidates that know how to take initiative, make tough decisions, and when necessary, navigate difficult situations. Showing off your leadership skills can also make you look attractive if this role has advancement where these skills will come in handy one day.

Example:

“Mentored my project management team on how to successfully adopt and utilize our new project scheduling software.”

Communication

Hiring managers are always looking through a resume to find candidates who possess great communication skills. And no, that doesn’t necessarily mean public speaking experience. Hiring managers want to ensure their next employee can clearly and effectively communicate with stakeholders, team members, and customers. Strong communication skills translate into excellent listening skills, attention to detail, and so many other desirable soft skills.

Example:

“Facilitated conversations between senior leadership and the quality control team to ensure everyone involved in our project was on the same page and aware of any potential quality issues.”

Adaptability

Adaptability is a soft skill that will be a HUGE asset to any team. Hiring managers want to find employees that are flexible and capable of successfully performing under changing environments. Just like in life, things happen in the workplace, and hiring managers want employees who can “roll with the punches.” This is especially true in fast-paced working environments when you have to think on your feet and adjust as challenges surface.

Example:

“Quickly learned how to proficiently use Adobe InDesign to help our marketing team develop brochures for our annual board meeting.”

How To List Contract Work On Your Resume

How To List Contract Work On Your Resume

More and more companies are hiring employees on a contract basis. And in today’s “gig economy,” this contract work is especially appealing to many job seekers as they allow for increased flexibility and potentially even higher wages. However, creating a resume full of contract work is a little different than it would be for someone who has strictly worked in a permanent capacity. Here are a few important things you’ll want to consider when crafting your contractor resume:

Distinguish contract from permanent roles

If you have a mix of contract and permanent positions in your work history, it’s important to distinguish between the two on your resume. Oftentimes, employers will spot short work stints and automatically assume there’s some element of “job hopping” going on. However, if you identify your roles as contact, it’s understood that it was a temporary position, and therefore, more short-term. Here’s a great example of how to do that:

Company Name – Chicago, IL

Electrical Engineer Project Manager; Contract (March – December 2017)

Company Name – Westmont, IL

Electrical Engineer; Permanent (November 2014 – March 2017)

Don’t limit yourself to one page

You may have read articles suggesting that you need to keep your resume under one page. This is NOT true (especially for contractors)! Because you often have many more, shorter-term roles, that space on your resume can add up quickly. Feel free to extend your document beyond one page, as it’s essential to show the diversity of roles and experiences in your background of contract work.

Focus your bullets on what’s most relevant

While you certainly have permission to extend your resume beyond one page, it’s still important to keep it concise. Chances are, you’ve worn many hats throughout your contract career. Many of your experiences are probably relevant to your future career, while others, not so much. Keep the bullet points throughout your resume focused on what’s most essential to your next role and remove anything erroneous.

Keep in mind, this may vary between job applications. What is relevant for one position may be completely unnecessary for another. This is why it’s essential to custom-tailor your resume to each position to which you submit an application. Review the job description, and align your past skills and experiences to match what’s required. While it may be a little extra work, it will go a long way in landing you your next position!

How to Include Numbers on Your Resumes

How to Include Numbers in Your Resume

How to Include Numbers on Your Resumes

Recruiters look at hundreds of resumes in a single day. So, how are you supposed to stand out in a crowd when employers are only giving your resume a 6-second glance? One of the best practices in crafting a stellar resume includes adding impressive numbers, metrics, and stats. Above all, the visual appeal of numbers catches the eye of recruiters. Notable metrics also provide quantifiable and tangible evidence of your accomplishments. Certainly, no matter which industry you’re in, you can always find some positive and measurable numbers that help to establish credibility and build your reputation.

The Significance of Numbers

Numbers help boost the chances of your resume getting noticed in a mile high stack of paper. Furthermore, impressive metrics have the ability to help a recruiter see your great qualities in a matter of seconds.

For instance, adding a bullet point, such as:

  • Contributed to sales revenue 

Pales in comparison to a bullet point containing numbers:  

  • Contributed $104k in sales revenue in a 6-month time period

Therefore, utilizing numbers illustrates impressive and tangible results that you simply cannot express with just words.  

Choose Numbers Wisely 

There’s no doubt that numbers are a powerful resume booster. However, you must find a balance. Include too few and there’s a chance you won’t be noticed within the candidate pool. On the other hand, if you use too many numbers, their effect may be lost.

But what numbers should you use? Statistics show the direct impact of your work and can portray what kind of results you can contribute to any future company. For the greatest impact, be sure to choose statistics that demonstrate how you directly impacted the company’s money, time, and people. 

4 Easy Steps to Adding Numbers in Your Resume

  1. Determine the key indicators of success in your industry:
    • Assess which accomplishments future employers will find most impressive. Most importantly, really sell yourself here! Pick out what professionals in your industry value and find worth in. For instance, what may be impressive in one industry, may not have an effect in another. 
  2. Use a baseline for references:
    • To show true growth or improvement, use baselines to convey your numerical worth to recruiters. For example, a bullet point stating “improved production efficiency from 30% to 35% over a one-year period” would effectively show the growth you individually contributed.  
  3. Decide the type of numbers to include:
    • You can show your contribution through various types of metrics. Including, but not limited to:
      • Ranges:
        • Edited 20-30 professional blogs per month
      • Rankings:  
        • Generated the first software that focuses on customer satisfaction 
      • Comparisons: 
        • Improved client retention tenfold from the previous quarter 
      • Percentages:
        • Increased company’s market share by 5% 
      • Exact Numbers: 
        • Implemented cost-saving plan that saved $21,087 in the first quarter 
  4. Enhance Your Impact Through Action and Detail Words:

Resume Building Never Stops 

In addition, remember at your current job to keep track of your numerical and non-numerical achievements so when you are ready to change your career path, your resume will be ready! Meanwhile, if you’re looking for more job search advice like how to rejuvenate your resume, head on over to the JSG Blog. And if you’re ready to take the next step in your career, contact a JSG recruiter today 

resume

How to Rejuvenate Your Resume

resume

Has it been a few years since you were last on the job market? Even if you have a great job, it can be tempting to see what else is out there in this candidate-driven labor market. If you haven’t had to think about your resume in a while, here are a few tips to breathe some life back into it.

Remove your resume objective

Most resumes don’t really say anything meaningful. “Experienced mechanical engineer looking for a new position to challenge…” Just stop right there. What is the ultimate goal of every resume? To help you get called in for an interview, and hopefully, receive a job offer. You don’t need to tell the hiring manager or HR that you’re looking for a new opportunity. Instead, get right into the meat of your resume, which is your work experience.

Bump your education towards the bottom

After your contact information, get right into your work history. Unless you are fresh out of school, you should move your education farther down your resume. I know you are proud of your alma mater, but recruiters, hiring managers, and HR want to see your work accomplishments and experiences.

And while you’re at it, you can remove your graduation date and GPA off your resume. Again, if you’re a recent graduate, then your GPA and graduation date are fine. However, if you’ve been out of school for a few years, employers do not really care about your grades. And by adding your graduation date, you may be doing yourself an injustice by letting a recruiter or your future employer know your age. Age discrimination is illegal when considering a candidate, but it’s better to play it safe and leave it off.

Add a skills section

Employers and recruiters commonly use application tracking systems (ATS). Essentially, ATS are automatic systems that recruiters and HR use to organize, track, and, automate the recruiting process. It also helps them search for resumes with certain criteria, experiences, and skill sets. In other words, if your resume doesn’t have the right keywords or skills on it, you may find yourself not receiving a call for an interview.

A quick solution to mitigate this is to add a skills section to your resume. After your work experience, add a skills section that neatly displays some key skills that you bring to the table. We recommend keeping it a list of eight to twelve skills. You don’t want to bog your resume down with every single software or skill that you know. Instead, read over the job description carefully and highlight the skills essential for this role. If you have these skills, this is where you want to list them. A skills section is also great for recruiters and HR who may be too busy to read your entire resume. Employers only spend an average of six seconds reading a resume, so the more skimmable you make it, the better.

These are just a couple of quick tips to jump-start your job search. If you need more help crafting the perfect resume, JSG has dozens of resources to help you land your next position. Good luck!

resume tips

Resume Tips to Start Your Job Search on the Right Foot

resume tips

A resume is like a snowflake – each and every one is unique. However, there are several things each resume should incorporate to ensure you’re setting your job search up for success. Here are four resume tips to get you started off on the right foot.

Appropriate file names

When you apply for a job or send your resume to a recruiter, the file must be named appropriately. Human Resources professionals and recruiters look at hundreds of resumes each week. If yours isn’t easily identifiable, it may be lost in the weeds. In other words, don’t submit a resume titled “resume” or “copy of resume.” Instead, make you, as the candidate, identifiable without anyone even having to open your resume. Name it something like “First Name Last Name 2019 Resume.”

Proper file type

You also must be conscious of the file type of your resume. It’s always advised to submit your resume as a PDF. Microsoft Word or Pages documents don’t always open up in certain software applications. For example, if you send your resume in a Pages document, it can’t be opened or read in Microsoft Word. However, every device and computer can read a PDF document, so be sure to export your resume as one before you submit it!

Formatting

Keep the formatting clean and simple. Don’t try to overcomplicate your resume with colors, graphics, and any other design elements. Hiring managers and recruiters are BUSY. The more basic the formatting and layout of your resume, the easier it is to read. Have nice margins, plenty of white space, and utilize a legible font.

Gone are the days of the one-page resume. Don’t try to cram your years’ worth of experience onto one page. It’s perfectly acceptable to have your resume on a couple of pages, especially if you are well into your career. Don’t do yourself an injustice by weeding out experiences to try and fit everything onto one page.

Tailor your resume

Unfortunately, you cannot just submit the same old resume to every job posting. You must tailor your resume to each position you apply to. Yes, that can be exhausting, especially if you’re actively searching for a new job. However, if you spend some time reviewing the job description, it’s not as bad as it sounds. The job description is actually detailing exactly what the hiring manager is looking for in an employee. If your resume reflects the job description, you’re in good shape for receiving an interview!

Keep these four resume tips in mind the next time you decide to hit the job market. And if you feel that your resume is looking great and you’re ready for a new opportunity, check out JSG’s job board!

Resume Mistakes

10 Resume Mistakes That Will Haunt You

Resume Mistakes

Since it’s almost Halloween, I thought it would be important to remind you how these little resume mistakes can haunt you on your job search. You obviously don’t want to scare those looking at your resume! So, make sure to avoid these 10 resume mistakes to ensure you get that call for a job interview.

Misspelling and grammar issues

Something that will get your resume thrown out quickly is blatant spelling or grammar issues. To avoid this, make sure you’re checking everything before you submit it. Because the last thing you want is for a potential employer to see you spelled your title and think, “this person is not the brightest.” When in reality it was just a simple mistake…

Visually distracting

If your resume is full of colors, different fonts, or distracting images will most likely hurt your odds of landing an interview. Hiring managers and HR just want to see that you have the experience and knowledge needed to fill their positions. Distracting them with too much going on will make them want to pass on you even if you’re qualified for that position.

References on resume

Please don’t put your references on your resume. Removing your references will keep yourself safe from potential employers interested in you, calling references before they call you. And let’s be honest, you don’t want a prospective employer to put your current position at risk by letting them know you’re searching for other opportunities!

Limiting your resume to one page

This myth is one you probably hear often. But the truth is, if you have more relevant experience than that, include it! No one will be upset to see the great experience you’ve gained over the years. By leaving valuable skills and work experiences off your resume just to keep it under one page, you’re doing yourself a disfavor.

Wrong contact information

Be sure to list your most current phone number and email address on your resume. You don’t want to miss out on great opportunities because a company can’t get in contact with you! You’d be surprised by how many people miss out on great opportunities just because their contact information was incorrect.

Putting your address on it

No one will be mailing you anything before you’re offered a job. And you don’t want to be kicked out of the running for a great position, just because you are not a local candidate. You want the chance to show them you have the skills they are looking for. So taking off your address will help you to accomplish that.

Not putting most relevant experience first

On your resume, you want to ensure you are adding experience that matters. But you also want to ensure that you place your current position first and go in chronological order from there. This way, no one is confused about where you’re working now and when you worked somewhere else.

Lying

This should be a no-brainer. If on a job listing, they say you need to know or have experiences in certain things, like software or tools, don’t lie about it. They will know if you don’t and this will be the quickest way for you to get fired.

And sometimes, companies are still willing to hire someone who doesn’t know how to use a certain software or tools because it can be taught to them. So before you lie about knowing how to do it, give yourself the chance of them wanting to hire you and have you learn those skills.

Not customizing your resume

This can hurt you in more ways than one. With every job you hold, there are different skills you gain. And highlighting the ones that pertain to the specific job you’re applying for, will help you showcase those important skills needed.

Using wrong or no keywords

Keywords are essential to getting through the ATS (Auto Tracking System) that almost every employer uses to filter and store resumes. If you don’t use any keywords, you will be left wondering why you never heard back from jobs you’re qualified for. And it will be because your resume never got to their desk in the first place.

Not reviewing it

You must always review your resume! A good way to do this is to print it out and read it out loud. This will allow you to see exactly how it looks and typically makes mistakes more apparent. Another great idea is to have someone else you trust look over your work. It will only help you have the perfect resume.

All of these resume mistakes could really affect your chances of getting that new job you’re hoping for. So instead of haunting yourself with them, avoid them and make your resume great!

Job Application Mishaps That Could Get You Fired Before You’re Even Hired

Maybe you haven’t had to apply for a new job in a while, so you’re going over everything. Resume, Cover letter, what you will write in your application. But you also need to make sure you do NOT make one of these mistakes that’ll end up getting you fired before you’re even hired!

Grammar/Spelling Mistakes

Some people think this isn’t a big deal and that hiring managers will just look over it. Because come on, it’s just some grammar and spelling mistakes, right? Well, actually, wrong! If you’re not even willing to double check your application materials, a hiring manager will think you don’t care enough about the position. This will most likely end with your application being put in the, “do not contact list” and you never hearing back.

Double checking everything you write when you are filling out an application will ensure that you get seen and hopefully offered an interview. The last thing you want to happen is to be skipped over when you have great skills to be successful in the position.

Lying on your Resume

This is obviously a no-go… And there is a difference between making yourself look good over flagrantly lying. When editing your resume and cover letter, it’s important to incorporate keywords and activities you’ve accomplished relating to the position. But do not add things you haven’t done. Do not add experience you don’t have. They will figure it out. And whether that is during an interview or after you’re hired, you will get fired.

So, don’t lie. Even if you feel your experience isn’t where they want it. If they like who YOU are, they can help you get to where they want you to be. Never risk losing a job because you’re afraid you won’t get it in the first place. You just end up shooting yourself in the foot and leaving a terrible taste in that hiring manager’s mouth.

Bad References

When you write down references make sure they are aware and willing to help give you one in the first place. Having a hiring manager calling someone who hasn’t worked with you in years isn’t the way to go. Especially, if you haven’t told them that you put them down.

Companies do call your references and it could tank or make you landing the job… So find people who have good experiences working with you. Update them on the fact that you’re looking for a new position and would love to put them down as someone to contact. Update your list as necessary! This way when hiring managers contact them, you know they will help you land the job, not lose it.

Bad Mouthing an Old Employer

When you’re lucky enough to be called in for an interview, you will be asked about why you want to leave your current company. A lot of people find this question stressful. But really, it’s simple. If you stay positive and talk about what you learned and how leaving is what’s going to help you grow, it makes you look confident and optimistic. Which in turn, makes every company want to work with you.

If you decide to bad mouth your current company it starts to look like you’re the problem. The hiring managers will not want to hire you. Even if these problems at your current employer are real and terrible. Every position you hold will have people you don’t like. But people want to see that you can work with these hard characters and still be productive.

Bad mouthing your previous/current company is a sure way to be fired before you ever get the chance to be hired. And when you’re looking for jobs and applying for positions you really want, this is not something anyone wants to do. So, make sure you keep these tips in mind so the next interview you get will help you be a sure-hire for the position!

resume errors

Z is for Zero: How to Ensure Zero Errors on Your Resume

resume errors

You find your dream job online and you’re chomping at the bits to apply. You grab your computer and find your latest copy of your resume. It’s just sitting there waiting to be sent. But is it ready to be seen by a prospective employer?

If you haven’t reviewed your resume in a while, it shouldn’t be sent out anywhere. Here are five steps to ensure your resume has zero errors.

Accurate resume information

The first thing that you need to do is ensure all of your information is accurate. From your contact information to your job experience, your resume must include the most recent information.

Take a look at your contact information and check if your email address and phone number are still accurate. If you need to add a new position to your job experience, now is the time to do that. And if the duties of your current job have changed since the last time you updated your resume, you’ll want to update your responsibilities. Besides, you must tailor your experiences to the job you are applying for to illustrate that you’re a great fit for the job!

Check your grammar

You need to proofread your resume to verify that you’ve used proper spelling and grammar throughout. Grammar can be tricky, and you can’t always rely on spell check.

Once your resume is up to date, run it through Grammarly. Grammarly tends to be more accurate than Word’s spellcheck, and it finds more grammatical errors and misspellings than Word. Plus, it’s absolutely free!

You also must double check that you are using proper tense. If it’s an old job, use past tense. If it’s your current job, all of your responsibilities listed should be in present tense. Using incorrect or inconsistent verb tenses is distracting and gives the impression that you didn’t take the time to review your resume.

Read your resume out loud

Print out your resume and read it out loud. This will help ensure that it reads smoothly. It may sound fine when reading it to yourself on your screen, but when you print it out and read it out loud, you’ll catch awkward phrases or the wrong use of words better.

If it’s difficult for you to read out loud, then it will be difficult for HR or a hiring manager to read it too.

Have someone else read it over

You should always have someone else read over your resume before you submit it. It’s wise to have a fresh pair of eyes take a few minutes to read it over. They will likely find errors or mistakes that you may not have caught yourself. Plus, they may have some advice to help jazz it up a little bit!

Consistent formatting

Good formatting is often overlooked. The first thing a prospective employer will do before reading your resume is give it a quick glance. They will quickly notice any glaring formatting issues. Look over your margins and make sure everything is consistent and even.