Your resume (sometimes called your “CV”) is your most important tool when applying for a job. It doesn’t matter how qualified you are, or how much experience you have – if your resume is poorly presented or badly written, you’re going to have trouble getting the job you want – or even an interview.
Taking the time to work on your resume is really important. The information below offers some tips and advice especially for the starters on how to make your resume the best it can be.
- Include a summary statement
Resume objective statements, where you state exactly what career goals you wish to achieve, have mostly fallen out of fashion. This is largely because you want to focus on what you can do for the employer, not what the employer can do for you.
- Decide on a resume format
There are a few dominant resume formats in use today: chronological, functional, and hybrid, which is a combination of the two. A chronological resume format lists a candidate’s work experience in reverse-chronological order. A functional resume format focuses on highlighting the candidate’s skills and achievements, rather than work experience.
- Pay attention to technical details
When editing your resume, make sure there is no punctuation, grammatical, spelling, or other errors that will make your resume look unprofessional.
- Take stock of your achievements and activities
Make a list of absolutely everything you’ve done that might be useful on a resume. From this list, you’ll then need to narrow down what to actually include on your resume.
5. Internships and work experience
Paid and unpaid college internships are one of the best weapons you have against “experience required.” Not only do they give you some real-world work experience, they also allow you to network and make connections that can put you in a job later. When applying for a job without experience, be sure to list any internships you completed. If you haven’t had one, consider applying as a step before an entry-level job. Clearly mention any jobs that you have done.
6. Add a cover letter
Even if one is not required, it’s generally a good idea to send a short cover letter along with your resume. Cover letters are where your personality comes out, and you need to use them to make the case for why you’re the perfect candidate for this job. A standout cover letter can convince an employer to bring you in for an interview, even if your resume itself doesn’t have all the things they’d like to see.
7. Customize your resume for each job you apply to
The last and most important thing to remember when creating a good resume is to customize it for every job to which you apply. Different job postings are going to have different keywords, different job duties listed, and so on. Appealing to each individual employer’s needs and job requirements is the best strategy for getting your application noticed.
At the end of the day, there’s no magical formula for how to write a winning resume — the only perfect resume is the one that gets you the job.