A résumé is not an end in itself; it’s a tool to get the employer’s attention. You need a well-written, up-to-date résumé to market yourself effectively.
See also: Get noticed with your cover letter.
An attention-getting résumé is one that conveys your personal brand — the unique combination of skills, achievements and abilities that shows you are an outstanding candidate for the job.
- Tailor your résumé to the specific job you’re applying for. Don’t send the same résumé to hundreds of employers.
- Keep it brief — maximum two pages.
- Proofread several times. One typo can send your résumé to the trash.
- Always include a cover letter with your résumé.
Basic elements of a résumé
- Contact information: name, mailing address, phone and email address
- Brief statement of your key experience and strengths. This is optional, but many career experts recommend it as a way to convey key information at a glance.
- Work experience that is relevant to the job for which you are applying
- Skills, areas of expertise and specific accomplishments
- Education, training and certifications
- Awards, professional memberships and volunteer work — if relevant to the job
Keywords — the key to success
- Keywords are the industry-specific terms necessary to get attention.
- Learn more about keywords at QuintCareers.com.
- Sprinkle keywords throughout the résumé. Use them when referring to job titles, accomplishments, experience, skills, education, career objectives and training.
- In online résumé, use the exact keywords and language that the employers uses in the job posting, or your résumé will be discarded.
What to include
- Your most recent relevant jobs — within the past 15 years.
- Accomplishments, not just job duties. Avoid phrases like “responsible for” or “duties included.”
- Results and outcomes. Quantify your achievements and use action verbs. For example, “increased sales by 40%,” “expanded program,” “exceeded fundraising targets.”
- Skills and experience that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for. Include the specific computer skills that are mentioned in the job posting.
- Transferable skills from nonwork settings such as volunteering — especially if you have gaps in your work history.