Whether you have just chosen your career, received a degree or maybe a professional with years of experience, every resume must include these critical components in order for you to land that interview! Yes every resume can be different. Especially based on the amount of experience you have, or recently graduated, some major differences will certainly occur. Be sure to follow the right format in creating your resume. See our website for assistance in creating a perfect resume. But no matter your experience or level of expertise you are at in your career, most experts say that the following components are crucial in developing an effective resume.

CONTACT INFORMATION

This might seem obvious to you, but believe it or not, many resumes do not even have the correct contact information, or put it somewhere unnoticeable on the resume. Your name, city and state, phone number, email address should be prominently displayed at the top of your resume, easy to find. Additionally you should include social media profiles (after you have cleaned them up!) such as LinkedIn and your personal website or blog.

SUMMARY

Many other experts may say this is not necessary anymore, but to be honest, why not include it? As long as it is not too long, a professional summary can really provide the reviewer of your resume with a quick statement about your skills and experience and in general the most important things about you up front. This section should only be between 3-5 sentences, highlighting your skills and any career highlights you may have. This provides the reviewer with yet another reason to continue reading your resume.

SKILLS

This is one of the most crucial parts of a resume, aside from your phone number and email :). This section should appear right below your professional summary in short, bulleted columns. This gives employers a way to skim through your expertise to see if you have the skills to match with the job you are applying for. Remember to always match those skills with the job you are applying for. Matching your skills section to what appears in the job posting is especially important for people applying for jobs. Especially even technical jobs, like IT positions. These types of jobs have hard skills that you must know or have experience in before applying for the job. Be sure to always include key skills, key words that employers can use to search through potential employers. Use industry-related words as well when listing your skills. This list can include hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are the core abilities that you have to perform the job functionally and successfully. Soft skills are more difficult to see right away. Things like communication, leadership, problem-solving, etc. These are the skills you can prove to the employers in the interviews. In fact, most employers are more concerned with soft skills than they are the hard skills that you possess. Be sure to reflect these soft skills throughout your professional experiences section.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

This is the meat of the entire resume! Employers spend time reading through the entirety of your professional experience. But be sure not to just list your job duties, or just the day-to-day responsibilities. Explain your experience. Pay special attention to all your accomplishments in these jobs, and use this as your professional experience. The best way to showcase your achievements is in this section. Here it’s all about numbers, percentages and dollars! Be sure to provide a quantifiable description of your professional experience. Don’t just bullet list your job duties and responsibilities. Most employers can figure that out. They want to see your written abilities as well as how you can describe to and contribute to the organization with which you are applying. The best way to really show off your experiences is to provide quantifiable results in what you did in your previous employments.

EDUCATION

No matter how long you have been out there your education still matters! Be sure to add it to your resume and make it clear enough for employers to easily find it. Don’t forget about any certifications, continuing education or any other professional development courses or achievements. Honestly, this shows some sort of formal education and/or training, no matter what year it is.

A FEW OTHER TIPS:

31 seconds…

31 seconds is all it takes for a recruiter/employer/hiring manager to look through a resume, before deciding whether to slap it with a “yes” or “no.” Your resume is your professional portfolio and proof of the work you have done and in order for someone to take it seriously, thus calling you in for an interview, it will take you some time. Check that. It SHOULD take you a lot of time to work on your resume to perfection.

Do not take advantage of this. Be sure to always review, re-review and edit your resume constantly so that you are on top of the latest keywords and keeping up on your accomplishments. FIRST IMPRESSIONS on a resume are truly important and mean a lot. The difference between you getting a interview…or not.

Does your resume look original and not based on a template?

Is your resume inviting and easy to read, providing clear sections and sufficient white space?

Be sure the design is professional looking and visually appealing…not just a type-job

Are there design elements in your resume”? There should be! bullets, bolding, lines, all caps, etc. Be sure it is appealing and consistent?

Are all sections clearly labeled and company names/titles easy to read?

Be sure to have a non-script font (Calibri, Arial, Kartika, etc.) throughout the resume, as well as comnsistent font size (11 or 12pt is sufficient)

Put your resume on white paper. Paper designs don’t really impress anyone that much

If your resume is longer than 1 page, does the second page contain a heading? Be sure a second page is really necessary!

Just a few extra things to think about when creating your resume. Or you can just let me know and I can do it for you! Remember, your resume is not something to take advantage of. Spend some time. Some quality time on how you want your prospective boss to view you in a professional manner. Design your resume to where you are confident in the fact that you can get the interview.

Keith is a Career Consultant with over 17 years of experience in higher education and in Career Consulting. Visit him at A Better Version website to find out more about his 3 step career exploration method. Its truly the best way to find the right career for you!

A Better Version Career Counseling

“Creating an even better version of you”

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