When it comes to building a résumé, it’s important to know what to include and how to get an employer to notice yours. Typically, a hiring manager will form an opinion about you and your résumé within about 10 minutes, so your résumé needs to grab someone’s attention … and fast.
So, what does a great résumé include? Make sure you include these items to maximize your job search results.
The Basics. The basics for any résumé include your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address. And when it comes to listing an address, be sure to include a permanent address to ensure that if an employer sends you something, you will receive it. Also, for e-mail addresses, think professional. A great way to get overlooked for a job opportunity is to include a non-professional e-mail address, such as email@example.com. Instead, have a more professional e-mail address to include, such as firstname.lastname@example.org. Employers look at every detail on your résumé when deciding if you’re the right employee for them.
Educational Background and Experience. Include what your major is or what certifications and training you have received. The more you include the better. Also, list which school or votech you graduated from or that you’re attending. However, when it comes to your grade point average, only list it if it’s 3.5 or higher.
Objective and Summary of Skills. It’s never a bad idea to include a clear, direct objective and summary of what you’re looking for and what you can offer an employer. Remember, when it comes to a résumé, your ultimate goal is to tell them what you can do for them, not what they can do for you.
For example, if you’re applying for an ad copy writer position, list your top skills that would showcase to the employer why you are the best choice for the job. Keep this object short – only a few sentences at most – and communicate your passion for the job. Grab their attention early on in the résumé.
List of Achievements. Once you’ve told an employer in your objective and summary why they should hire you, you have to show them why. This is the section where you can go more in depth about your skills and abilities. It’s also OK to brag on yourself a little here. Tell them about honors, awards, and recognition you’ve received regarding your area of study. List internships or major projects you worked on that got rave reviews? Did you showcase a major community project for your school?
If you received an award for being the best of the best, include that too. Let a potential employer know what you’re able to do! The more impressive you appear, the better. But remember, a cardinal rule of creating a résumé is to keep everything truthful. Don’t fudge the truth even a little to seem more impressive. If an employer ever finds out you did, your career with them would be over before it ever gets started.
Community and Extracurricular Activities. Be sure to list all the organizations you have been involved in at school and outside of school. Since you don’t have a lot of on-the-job experience yet, this is a great way to show how you’re putting your skills to use.
These are some basic must-haves that every résumé should include. One other thing to keep in mind is the format you use. Usually for recent college grads, a combination of a chronological and functional format is a good choice. The chronological format lists your experience in a timely order, while the functional format focuses more on just your skills and abilities overall. Also, check out additional tips for getting past resume gaps.
Finally keep the overall design basic and try to keep your résumé to one page in length. The busier your résumé appears, the more distracting it will be. When it comes to the design, less is more. Also, create your résumé in Microsoft Word, but save your final copy as a PDF version.
Follow these tips to make sure you start your job search off on the right foot. Tune in next week for information on creating a list of references.