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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!

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.

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!