How to write your resume to get interviews

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Writing a resume is a competition. By the time you have submitted yours, other job seekers have thrown their hat in the ring and many more will follow. We will show you how to write the type of resume that will help you stand out to get the interview and increase your chances of getting hired.

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Using a Resume Builder

The easiest way is to use a resume builder, but you must use the right type of one or it will be ineffective. it might look pretty but it won’t get you the job. Go here to see the best ones: Best Resume Builders

If you want to do everything yourself, then keep reading.

Applicant Tracking Systems are keeping you from your dream job!

Between 65 – 70% of resumes are never seen by a human being. Almost all major companies use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to filter out unqualified applicants, but they also filter out many good applicants who do not know how to optimize their resumes to match the job. 

What is a resume?

A resume is a summary of your experience and credentials for a prospective job opening. For most positions, this should be no more than one or two pages. Your resume should consist of your contact information, work experience, education, and learning, as well as skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for.

 

Your resume is perhaps one of the most critical part of the modern job application process. This is your starting point. Nowadays, when a job is posted online, hundreds (even thousands) of people might apply and only a small percentage of applicants are qualified. A concise, well written resume tailored to the position being advertised will certainly increase your opportunities of landing a job interview while a poorly written resume could get tossed aside and ignored.

 

What is the purpose of a resume?

 

Before we get into how to write your resume you must understand the objective. It is not to tell your story, to write an autobiography or impress anyone about what a great person you are. You have one objective: to get an interview. If you are trying to accomplish anything else, it will not matter one bit if you cannot get an interview. Half the battle is getting your information in front of hiring managers and you have several hoops to jump through first.

 

Understand that your resume must get past an imperfect applicant tracking system designed to filter out unqualified applicants, which may or may not parse your resume correctly. From there it may have to get past a human resources manager who may not have a clear understanding of the position that is open so is looking for everything but the kitchen sink before finally getting to the hiring manager. Both the human resource manager and hiring manager may have hundreds of resumes to go through. They do not want to read a novel. They want something that is easy to skim and conveys the skills they are looking for. Keep your target audience in mind when you write your resume: the applicant tracking system, the HR manager, and the hiring manager.

“You have one objective: to get an interview. “

How to write a resume

Utilize these guidelines to make sure that your resume looks its best. Utilize an easy-to-read typeface of no less than 11 pt. Add margins of at least .7 inches. Make certain there is enough white area between sections. Do not go overboard with complex design or décor. They can make your resume appear too busy and can make it difficult for the applicant tracking systems to parse your information correctly. If you absolutely must use lots of graphics, use one without when you apply online, then use the one with graphics when you meet them in person.

Resume Formats

There are three primary types of resumes: chronological, functional and hybrid. A chronological resume is the format that is best known.  Others may disagree but I do not recommend the other formats. If I am skimming through hundreds of resume and I have to spend extra time on one because it is a different format, chances are I might toss it aside to look at later and never get around to it. Use your accomplishments to highlight the skills you have to offer but make it as easy as possible for the recruiters, hiring manager and applicant tracking systems to find what they need. This is the kind of resume that concentrates on your current work history above the rest. Note your positions in reverse chronological order, with the most recent positions on top and the oldest ones at the bottom.

Contact Information

The top of your resume should include the following information:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Location (City, State, Zip Code)
  • Email Address
  • LinkedIn profile URL

You would be surprised to know how many times I have seen a resume that was missing a phone number or email address or had an incorrect one. Double check your information. Some people would rather be contacted by email, especially of they are still working, but if you leave out a phone number there is a very good chance your resume will be ignored. Make sure to include city, state, and zip code (e.g. “Tampa, FL 33607”). Applicant tracking systems will often filter by location and recruiters will call local candidates first. If you are relocating, put both locations or the location where you are going.

Use a professional-sounding email address. An email address based around your name is ideal, such as Cynthia.bradley@gmail.com. If your name is common, you can add a number at the end but do not use your year of birth. Sadly, many companies practice ageism so if you have 1960 at the end of your name, you have just told them you are 60+ years old.

Do not get cute. Your “fun” email address might work perfectly fine in your personal life but might make you seem unprofessional. I have personally tossed aside an otherwise good resume because of an inappropriate name on the email address. Do not us an email address that is considered outdated — like AOL or Hotmail — could hurt your chances. Consider creating a free Gmail account for your job search.

If a recruiter is intrigued by your qualifications, they will look up your online profiles. All job seekers should create a strong LinkedIn profile and include the URL on their resume. You can get a unique url for your LinkedIn profile to make it easier for recruiters to look you up.

Speaking of social media, know that many companies are going to look you up. If they see nothing but politics, especially if they perceive them as being extreme, it could cost you a job. Yes, you have freedom of speech and can post whatever you want but know that this could have a negative impact on your job search.

 

Resume Headings

Stick with traditional resume headings (Work History, Education, etc.). This is not an opportunity for creative writing. You need to make it as easy as possible for people to skim your resume to find what they are looking for. If they cannot find it quickly, they will toss your resume and move on to the next. The applicant tracking system might not parse your resume correctly, which could cause it to be filtered out.

Work Experience

This is the most important part of your resume and often the first thing recruiters and hiring managers will look at.  Use a simple heading, likes “Work Experience,” or “Work History.” This will help make it nice and simple for both employers and applicant tracking systems (ATS).

List each job in reverse-chronological order, starting with your current one or the last one you had. Each job needs to show the following: name of company, location, your job title, your start and end dates. One of the first things a recruiter will check on your resume are the job titles you have held and who you worked for. Vice president at Apple carries more weight than your brother’s side business. This format not only makes it easy for them to get the information they want, but this works better for the ATS systems as well.

 

For each job, include responsibilities and accomplishments-measurable results that pertain to the job for which you are applying. You do not need to list everything you did but want to highlight the tasks and accomplishments that make you a better fit for the job you want to apply for. You want to demonstrate that you have done and know how to accomplish the results your new employer is looking for. Let me repeat: you do not need to include every job duty. Highlight the skills, achievements and experiences that are requested for in the job description. “Increased productivity by 30%” is much better than, “managed department.” Showing how well you did the task is what separates you from the crowd and makes you appear confident you can do the same for them. Demonstrate your achievements to show you are not just someone who punches a clock.

Education

People often ask whether to put their education at the top or the bottom of their resume. The general rule is this: If you have experience you have in your field, then you can put it at the bottom.  If you are new to the career, then list your education at the top. If you recently got your degree and are entry level, also emphasize the skills you learned that apply to the job you are seeking.  In this case, you can list relevant coursework, societies, organizations you belonged to, and extracurricular activities if they demonstrate a job-related skill.  Otherwise, all you need to list are the name of Institution, the degree (bachelor’s, master’s etc.), the location and when you graduated.

If you have recent, nationally recognized certifications that are relevant, I recommend that you list these in a separate section and put these at the top. You can put them under “Skills” or make a separate section called certifications if you know they are especially important to the position. Some jobs require a specific certification (and some have a legal requirement that you be certified) so you need to highlight this. Be careful though.  Your 20-year-old certification in a product no one uses any more (e.g. Novell) will not help you.

How do you write a resume? What is the best resume format? Best resume templates What is a job resume? Free Resume Builder

Skills Section

The skills section will help you in three ways. First, it can help you get past the applicant tracking system. Secondly, it can help to rank your resume higher than your competition, so it gets looked at. Finally, it shows the hiring managers you can do the job being advertised to make it more likely they will want to talk to you. 

Most companies use applicant tracking systems. Think of them as filters. if certain keywords are missing, your application might not even get through. Of the ones that do get through, they can be ranked based on the specific skills and experience listed on your resume. This way the recruiters and hiring managers can focus on the ones they think are the best candidates. This is why having specific job-related skills or certifications like “Project Management Professional (PMP),” “CompTIA Security+,” or “Scrum Master” can be so important. You will not get the job if you do not get the interview.

The skills section is your opportunity to match your skills to the specific job description. This can make all the difference in getting your resume past the applicant tracing system and ranked high enough to make sure your prospective employer looks at it. The hiring manager can quickly skim this section to see if you have what they need. Make sure to add context to these skills throughout the resume and your prospects increase further still. For example, if you have the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, be sure to list the projects you have worked on and your successes doing so.

Work Experience

This is the most important part of your resume and often the first thing recruiters and hiring managers will look at.  Use a simple heading, likes “Work Experience,” or “Work History.” This will help make it nice and simple for both employers and applicant tracking systems (ATS).

List each job in reverse-chronological order, starting with your current one or the last one you had. Each job needs to show the following: name of company, location, your job title, your start and end dates. One of the first things a recruiter will check on your resume are the job titles you have held and who you worked for. Vice president at Apple carries more weight than your brother’s side business. This format not only makes it easy for them to get the information they want, but this works better for the ATS systems as well.

For each job, include responsibilities and accomplishments-measurable results that pertain to the job for which you are applying. You do not need to list everything you did but want to highlight the tasks and accomplishments that make you a better fit for the job you want to apply for. You want to demonstrate that you have done and know how to accomplish the results your new employer is looking for. Let me repeat: you do not need to include every job duty. Highlight the skills, achievements and experiences that are requested for in the job description. “Increased productivity by 30%” is much better than, “managed department.” Showing how well you did the task is what separates you from the crowd and makes you appear confident you can do the same for them. Demonstrate your achievements to show you are not just someone who punches a clock.

How To Write A Resume Objective?

The short answer is you don’t. These used to be very popular but are now considered out of date. Recruiters care less about your goals and more about what you can do for them. You accomplish this by writing a resume summary instead.

How to write a resume summary?

Write a Success Summary instead of a career objective. If you are seeking employment, then this is the most important section of your resume. You need to sell yourself as an employee who can do the job effectively and meet their needs with speed and maximum efficiency. When you summarize your professional experience, the audience is looking for evidence of your capabilities or skills. If you’re not convincing, then the hiring manager will wonder why they should hire you when they can easily find an employee with similar skills. The best way to sell yourself as a skilled employee is to highlight both accomplishments and skills that demonstrate what makes you so good at what you do.

Do’s and Don’ts for your resume

Do not put any of the following on your resume:

  • Objective Statement. These are outdated and make you appear old. You can use a summary statement that conveys how YOU can help THEM.
  • References-just wait until they ask for them.
  • Soft Skills. Saying you are hardworking just does not help. If you cannot measure it and show how it helps you do the job they are looking to hire for better, then leave it off.
  • If you are a mature worker, older than 50, then do not list every job you have ever done. Stick to the last 10 – 15 years unless you want to invite ageism.

Do make sure to do the following:

  • Keep your resume within one to two pages
  • Tailor your resume to the specific job you are applying for

How to edit your resume

Ok, you have written your resume, and read it two or three times, but that is into enough. You need to make sure your resume does not have any mistakes in spelling or grammar, etc. A good editing job will take a little longer but worth the effort to make sure you avoid resume errors. First, I recommend getting the free Grammarly extension for Microsoft Office. Google it and download it.

Ideally, have another person look at it. By the time you have finished the draft of your resume, you can easily miss a mistake that another party would catch right away. Now if you really want to be thorough, try reviewing your resume backwards, from end to beginning. This forces you to concentrate on each word, you will spot mistakes that you missed out on or have ideas for how to show yourself in an even better light.

How to make sure your resume does not make you look old

 

If you are over 50, you must account for the fact that ageism exists. If you just got laid off after 20+ years at your last employer, you do not want to advertise you age. Some of these points have already been mentioned, but are worth repeating:

    • Do not use aol or yahoo for your email address. Get a gmail or outlook account
    • Do not use your year of birth as part of your email address
    • Do not put the year you graduated high school.
    • Do not use an objective statement and skip the cover letter and references unless they ask for it
    • Do not put every job you ever did. Stick with the last 10 – 15 years
    • Do not use a landline for your phone number
    • Do not use a picture of you and the grandkids on your LinkedIn profile.
    • Do put any recent, industry relevant certifications up top in the skills section
    • Do put your LinkedIn profile on your resume
    • Do keep your resume 1 – 2 pages. If they do not ask for a curriculum vitae that is all they want.
    • Do save your resume as a Word file (.docx). Only use pdf if requested

Best Resume builders

Any one of these is great. They are designed to get your resume past the Applicant Tracking Systems, ranking your application higher so more hiring managers will see it:

Here are the three I recommend:

Want more information on each one? Go here: Best Resume Builder Websites

Are you unemployed? Here is how to take your resume to the next level

Current, industry-specific certifications are one of the best ways to increase your marketability, separate yourself from the crowd, and get hired. the problem for most people is that they are expensive. If you were laid off, received a notice of lay off, reduction in force, restructured or have low income, you might be eligible for a grant that can really help.

Millions of people lost their jobs because of the Corona Virus so Congress has stepped in to help. On March 18th, the Department of labor set aside $100 million dollars for dislocated worker grants, and more funding was added for workforce assistance with the law that just passed. if you qualify, this program can pay up to $10,000 to get trained, certified, and then get help getting placed in their career. The amount and availability varies by county.

This can be used to get certified in fields such as Cyber-Security, Information Technology, Project Management, Business Analysis, and more. Some of the most highly sought after certifications include CompTIA, Microsoft, Cisco, Project Management Professional (PMP), Scrum Master and more.

If you would like to see if you qualify, you can call me at 813-387-3503 or of you prefer, you can book a time for me to call you: Book a call

I look forward to speaking with you

No Risk Income Share Agreements

If you don’t qualify for a grant, see if you qualify for an Income Share Agreement. This is a no risk option–you pay nothing until you get placed and there is no interest. 

If you would like to see if you qualify, you can call me at 813-387-3503 or of you prefer, you can book a time for me to call you: Book a call

I look forward to speaking with you