Your resume is your chance to impress an employer with your skills and accomplishments. An industry-backed resume focuses on results, uses dynamic language, and appears organized, clean, and free of mistakes.
Heading includes all first-order information the employer needs.
- Include name, phone number, professional email address (instead of Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, or university email, consider Gmail), city and state/province, postal code, and full hyperlinks to LinkedIn and your portfolio (if applicable).
Summary section. Try to include at least three to five of the following:
- Title of role pursuing (do not identify as a student).
- Background experience that connects to the role you are pursuing.
- Two to three transferable skills (e.g., logistics, task monitoring, communication; project lifecycle management).
- Years of related experience (keep below 10 years).
- Accomplishments, recognitions, and/or awards.
- Training or certificates.
- Includes industry-specific and transferable skills. Ensure technologies conform to standard spelling and style for the industry.
- Focus on industry-specific skills and concepts you obtained in your program.
Experience clearly laid out with accomplishments highlighted rather than job duties.
- Experience listed in reverse chronological order, with job title, job description, company name, city and state/province, and dates of employment.
- If applicable, include previous field-specific experience.
- Start every bullet with an action verb; don’t use the same verb more than once (see next section).
- Cite accomplishments, recognitions, and/or awards (do not list job duties).
- Bullets are concise, direct, and listed in order of importance.
- Quantify work as much as possible (e.g., “managed five projects per quarter.).
- Briefly define job role and team size where it provides context to the scope and depth of your work.
Writing Effective Bullet Points
Bullet points in your Professional Experience section are the meat and potatoes of your resume. This is the section employers will immediately gravitate toward to see:
- Do you meet desired/required qualifications?
- How have you demonstrated the skills they are looking for?
- How have you added value to employers in the past? To convey these elements, focus on adding CONTEXT and OUTCOME to each of bullet point using the following formula:
Action Verb + Situation / Task = Results (and Impact)
Note the difference in the following three bullet points:
- Action: Trained new staff members.
- Action + Task: Onboarded and provided on-going professional development to 15+ new staff members.
- Action + Task + Results: Onboarded and provided on-going professional development to 15+ new staff members resulting in a 90% reduction employee-turnover rate.
List education in reverse chronological order with locations and certifications.
- List education at the end of the resume unless you don’t have much professional experience or you have particularly relevant degrees.
- Include your program as the most recent item in education.
Pass the applicant tracking system.
- Include standard heading titles (Summary, Skills, Experience, Education).
- Spell out acronyms and abbreviations (abbreviated months are acceptable).
- Use bullets instead of asterisks.
- Avoid images, icons, or photographs.
- Avoid colored text, columns, tables, text boxes, and graphs.
- Use keywords that match the job description and align with skills required for each role.
Design and Format
- Clear and simple design.
- No template language or blank areas.
- Design does not get in the way of necessary text/content.
- Text fills the page without overcrowding.
- Balanced margins, between 0.5”-1.”
- No more than one page if new to the field, two pages if have relevant experience.
- Name and headlines stand out.
- Few (or no) hanging lines (where just a few words take up an entire line).
Consistent and Professional Text
- Font size of 11 or 12.
- Consistent and professional font style. It’s okay to use different fonts for the headings and body. Professional font styles include: Arial, Calibri, Cambria, Georgia, Helvetica, and Times New Roman.
- Consistent use of bold, italic, and underline. Same bullet-point for all lists.
Correct Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation
- Consistent punctuation throughout.
- No grammatical or spelling errors.
- No personal pronouns (I, we, he, or she).
- No abbreviations or acronyms unless necessary.
Clear and Professional Tone
- No jargon, slang, or superlative adjectives like “great,” “good,” or “awesome.”
Tailor Your Resume for the Job You Want
In the average 7.4 seconds a recruiter or employer examines a resume, they look for:
- Years of experience
- Required and/or desired qualifications (based on job description)
A quality job description is packed with keywords, phrases, and skills to measure if an applicant is well-suited for a position. They’re giving you the answer key! You can quickly increase your chances of being noticed by highlighting words or statements that stand out and infusing them throughout your resume.
Five Steps to a Customized Resume
- Professional Summary: Some of your bullet points may stay exactly the same; however, be sure to highlight specific skills that the job description highlights in the summary.
- Experience Section: Change/edit your work history to clearly demonstrate how you’ve shown the desired/required qualifications. Be sure each bullet point is impactful and follows the formula presented in the above example.
- Skills Section: Update/tailor your skills section to align with a specific job description, or skills are highlighted across multiple job descriptions. Make it comprehensive but succinct.
- Software/Platform/Language: If the description notes industry-specific skills that you have, be sure to note these on your resume.
- File Name: Save your resume as a separate document using unique naming conventions (First Name Last Name_Job Title_Resume.PDF)