A resume is a snapshot of who you are. It contains highlights of your experience, accomplishments, qualifications and skills. It is considered to be a formal introduction to a potential employer with the intent of capturing and emphasizing your interests in order to secure an interview. Recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing a resume before they may the initial “fit or not fit” decision. Your resume should reflect what your potential employers is looking for in an ideal job candidate.
Resume resources available at the Sutter County One Stop:
• Professional, experienced staff to assist you.
• Variety of resume writing tools and software.
• Resume and cover letter examples.
• Professional resume paper.
• Fax machines to send your resume to potential employers.
Different Types of Resume Formats
A chronological resume starts by listing your work history using your most recent job first. This type of resume works well for job seekers with a strong, solid work history.
A functional resume focuses on your skills and experience rather than your chronological work history. It is used most often by people that have little or no work history, those who are changing careers or have gaps in their employment history.
A combination resume lists your skills and experience first. Your employment history is listed next. It allows you to highlight the skills that are relevant to the position you are applying for, but also include the employment history that employers prefer.
Many employers are using software to store, collect and manage scannable resumes they receive from job applicants. A scannable résumé can be viewed with the aid of optical character recognition (OCR) software, allowing the employers to store resumes in a database and search many applicants electronically. Using a format that is pleasing to the human eye may confuse OCR scanners that perform the initial pre-screening process. Use a basic font such as Arial, Helvetica or Times New Roman and use the same size font throughout the resume. Avoid using bullets, bold text, italics, tables and graphics. Instead, use dashes, left-justified text and simple spacing to format your document.
An electronic resume is a specific format to use online. You are able to paste in into an online application or paste it into the body of your email. It can also be called an e-resume, Plain Text, Text File or ACSII (America Standard Code for Information Interchange). This format is used in order to survive a keyword scan by the programs hiring managers use to screen applicants. A simple font is recommended and bullet points are not to be used.
Resume Best Practices
- Keep your resume professional.
Do not include personal information; it does not belong in your resume. Do not include information regarding your marital status, age, race, hobbies or social security number on your resume. Do not include any special designs, borders or pictures.
If you are emailing your resume to an employer, the name of your resume file should include your first name, last name and the job title or job number of the position you are applying for. For example, Smith, John – Customer Service or Smith, John – Sales Associate
- Do not use pronouns.
Your resume should not include the use of the pronouns “I” or “me”. Normally you would structure a sentence that way, but since your resume is a document about your person, using these pronouns is actually redundant.
- Appearances are important.
Since employers spend such a short time initially reviewing the resume, make sure it is clear, concise and to the point. List the most important items on your resume first. Don’t overwhelm them with too much information. Your resume shouldn’t be longer than 1-2 pages. Make your name stand out by using a slightly larger, bolded font. Remember, a resume is intended to get you an interview, not the job. Utilize the interview to land you the job.
- Use bullet points instead of paragraphs.
Bullet points will allow you to quickly highlight job duties, accomplishments, etc… Paragraphs are too wordy and employers will not spend the time it takes to read everything.
- Utilize keywords and/or phrases.
It is important that your resume contains the right keywords. The keywords in a resume give important info about the job seeker such as: education and training, work history, technical expertise, management skills and industry knowledge. Regardless of how qualified you may be for the position, your chance at an interview could be missed if the scanning technology or human eye does not see keywords that tell them you are relevant for the job. Try using keywords from the job description.
- Lack experience? Focus on your skills.
If you are seeking a job in a field you have no prior experience, don’t focus the resume on your employment history. Instead, focus on the skills that you have.
- Don’t just list your job duties, list your accomplishments too!
To show that you are more qualified than the competition, include specific accomplishments and achievements instead of simply listing the responsibilities and job duties you have had at your previous occupations. Make sure you quantify your statements. Quantifying your accomplishments means describing them in terms of numbers, dollars and/or percentages. For example, “increased customer satisfaction by 25%” sounds much better than “provided excellent customer service”.
- Tailor your resume for each employer.
Sure it saves time to create a standard resume to send out to all employers, but it can decrease your chances of obtaining a job interview. Your experience, strength and skills listed on a resume for a Sales Associate should be different that a resume you would use to apply for a management position.
- Check for errors.
After you have finished creating your resume, check it for typos, grammatical errors, and smudges. Ask one or two people to review the resume to find mistakes you may have overlooked since spell check doesn’t catch everything.
- Do not include references.
There is no need to list your references on your resume or put available upon request. If a prospective employer wants references, they will ask you for them. Be prepared to provide a detailed list of references if needed.