Is Your Resume Ready?

Is Your Resume Ready? (João Ferrão via Unsplash)

ChicagoResumes are one of the most important ways of marketing yourself to potential employers. That’s why you want to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward when putting one together.

Here’s what should and shouldn’t be part of your resume, according to CNN.

Do: Write for the robots

Add the position you are applying for at the top of your resume. It can help get your resume past tracking systems, said Demisha Jennings, a certified resume writer.

The systems look for specific keywords to find potential candidates. Identify the keywords used in a job description and make sure they’re on your resume.

“If you don’t use those keywords and phrases from the position description, it’s harder to get past the applicant tracking system,” Jennings said.

Don’t: Lie or have mistakes 

Don’t make untrue claims about yourself on your resume. Also, be sure to scrutinize your resume for any spelling or grammar errors. 

Do: Be specific

Be clear with your experience and make sure to detail your skills and qualifications. 

“Earlier in your career, on your resume you have to show what you know how to do,” said Haller, noting you should describe quantifiable successes. “Later in your career, you have to show what the value is of bringing you in as a senior leader.”

Don’t: Get too fancy

It’s important to make sure recruiters can easily find the information they need when they are reviewing your resume. Stacie Haller, a job search coach, told CNN that “a creative resume is working against you.”

“You have to get someone’s attention in six seconds and recruiters know where to look to get information and that’s where we want to find it. We don’t have time to figure you out.”

Haller advised including your name, the city and state you live in, your email, phone number and LinkedIn profile. 

Do: Sum up your skills and brand

With a summary, individuals can sum up their skills and create a brand for themselves. Early career job seekers can lead with their education, touting skills they learned in their area of study while experienced. Seasoned workers can detail what they’d bring to a position, including achievements in current or previous roles.

Don’t: Include an objective 

“Don’t tell a company what you are looking for, you need to share with them information about how you can impact their environment,” said certified resume writer and career coach Debra Wheatman.

Don’t: Include anything and everything

Be intentional with what you include on your resume. You can format your experience by listing the position, company and tenure followed by a few lines describing your role. Then, you can name a few achievement-based bullet points with more details, according to Jennings. 

“Stack your bullet points with things you want people to see … [recruiters] are probably only reading the first one,” she said.

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