For a great resume it’s important to include these 10 factors:
1: A clear focus on a specific role or type of job and how you are well
qualified for it.
2: Emphasis on what you most want employers to remember about you – the top
reason(s) why they should hire you instead of someone else. What’s your brand,
your unique selling proposition?
3: Keywords. Find them by analyzing job postings. The most important keyword is
your desired job title. Others are the crucial and/or hard-to-find
qualifications for the job, such as an advanced degree or a certain software,
process or subject matter.
4: Accomplishments/results/impact. How did you make a difference for your past
5: Good, strong verbs, especially at the beginning of each bullet item in
Experience. Here’s a good list.
6: The right format for you. Strategically choose to include the sections that
work for you, in the order that works best for you.
The only required sections are Name, Contact Information, Experience. Common
additional sections are: Headline, Subheads, Summary, Core Competencies (or
Expertise), Skills (or Technical Skills), Education, Awards, Affiliations,
Volunteer Experience, Additional Experience, Interests (if relevant).
7: Formatting that works well in Applicant Tracking Systems. An ATS is a system
that “reads” resumes (generally only in .doc, .docx, .rtf or .txt formats) and
uses the information to fill in a standardized candidate profile. Human
resources personnel then do keyword searches through the profiles to find
candidates to interview.
ATS’s are easily confused and may jumble or reject your resume if you use any of
the following: unusual or expanded fonts, graphics, columns, tables or symbols;
unusual section headings, and all-capitals (except for the section headings).
If you want a more eye-catching version that includes these things, okay, but if
you’re applying for jobs via websites or email, use your ATS-friendly version.
You could attach the fancy version as a .pdf, just for human eyes.
8: Clear, concise writing.
9: Correct punctuation, capitalization, spelling and word usage. You’d be
surprised how many errors you may be making. Even professional writers see a lot
of red ink when a copyeditor or proofreader has gone over their work. Hire a
professional resume writer or copyeditor/proofreader.
10: Smart management of your career timeline. Be strategic in your choices about
how far back to go, whether to include months or just years, and what jobs to
include or leave out.
Nail all of the above, if you want a strong resume that gives you the best shot
at a job interview!