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Resume Writing 101 – Pt. 1

Why do you need a resume?

“The resume is a tool with one specific purpose: to win an interview. A resume is an advertisement, nothing more, nothing less. A great resume doesn’t just tell them what you have done but makes the same assertion that all good ads do: If you buy this product, you will get these specific, direct benefits. It presents you in the best light. It convinces the employer that you have what it takes to be successful in this new position or career. It is so pleasing to the eye that the reader is enticed to pick it up and read it. It “whets the appetite,” stimulates interest in meeting you and learning more about you. It inspires the prospective employer to pick up the phone and ask you to come in for an interview.”

– Rockport Institute, 2014

While browsing through the endless articles and tips available for resume writing, I found the above quote to be the most compelling insight on just what purpose a resume is designed to serve. Your resume is the first impression on an employer and should always grab their attention in addition to informing the reader of your skills and talents. Use the following tips and tricks to make sure that your resume stands out.

Let’s start with the basics. Make sure that all essential information is included and easy to read.

What should your resume include?
  • Contact Information
  • Name
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Link to professional profile (optional)
  • Career Objective (optional)
  • Professional Experience
  • Educational Experience
  • Additional Skills
  • Awards/Honors/Training/Certifications/Volunteer Experience (optional)

Resume DOs and DON’Ts

  • DO check resume for spelling and grammatical errors. Spell check is not enough!
  • DO make sure that resume is correctly formatted and all fonts are legible.
  • DO include relevant college coursework and extracurricular activities to make up for limited experience.
  • DON’T forget to use correct verb tense!
    • Present tense for current position
    • Past tense for previous work experience
  • DON’T include a GPA less than 3.5.
  • DON’T forget to use action verbs to describe your work experience and duties.

Once you have all the information compiled, consider these current facts about resumes and adjust your content and format accordingly. Also, don’t forget that your social media profiles on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are likely to be accessed by potential employers. Make sure your Facebook and Twitter profiles are professional and that your LinkedIn profile reflects the information on your resume.

  • The average time spent by recruiters/hiring managers looking at a resume: 5 to 7 seconds.
  • Research shows that only one interview is granted for every 200 resumes received by the average employer.
  • 76% of resumes are discarded for an unprofessional email address.
  • 88% rejection rate when you include a photo on your resume.
  • In 2000, 22% of resumes were submitted via email or posted on the web. In 2014, over 90% of resumes are now posted online or sent via email.
  • Applicant Tracking Software, the robots that read your resume, are able to quickly eliminate 75% of the applicants.
  • There are 15 million brands and organizations on Facebook.
  • 68% of employers will find you on Facebook.
  • 93% of recruiters are likely to look at a candidate’s social media profile.

Stay tuned for the next part of this series – Resume Writing 101 – Pt. 2!