There is a simple formula for building a resume that looks professional, clean, and conveys information in a strategic manner. Strategic in the sense that each employer is different and thus you want to tailor your resume to the interests of the company you are applying to. “Cookie-cutter” resumes may work on some low-grade employers, but for a professional career an applicant really needs to hone in on what the employer is looking for. You can even get an idea for this by just reading the job posting itself. It will tell you what you need to know.
Download the Template and Build a Resume, Fast!
Rather than go through a resume-building exercise, bit-by-bit, I have compiled a template that can be downloaded here (.docx format which is compatible with Microsoft Word). You simply need to fill in your own information and tweak the areas applicable to your own situation. One thing to note is that I have placed Work Experience a little bit further down the resume. This is intentional. If, for instance, an applicant does not necessarily have a whole lot of work experience behind them, they can compensate for this by showing their education and real-world skillsets that they have garnered over the years first.
Automated Screening and the Reality of Applying for a Job Today
A lot of employers have focused on in-house digital screening/onboarding systems to recruit new employees. This is because employers literally have hundreds or thousands of applicants to choose from and a manual vetting process would be a time-consuming and wasteful task (especially since you get a lot of people not suited for the role being advertised). What this means for us on the receiving end is that we are faced with a cold and calculating apparatus that is unforgiving in terms of mistakes, omissions, or a general lack of relevancy.
Automated resume screeners will reject any submissions with sophomoric errors in spelling, grammar, format, or simply do not contain the keyword matches an employer is looking for. A resume is often uploaded to a company’s website and then the applicant is asked to take a skills or personality test. Once successfully getting past this first set of hurdles, an HR representative will reach out by phone to schedule more screenings or an in-person interview. You can see why getting the resume part is so important—it is all about getting your foot in the door.
Very Important Notes
Now, not every employer has a rigorous hiring process, so you really must gauge what is important and relevant to the prospective employer. Some places you can just walk in with resume in hand and often talk to someone right away, others would take this as an affront to their hiring system and direct you to their website.
This includes looking at the education/training section of your resume. Ask yourself if an addition or omission in this area would hurt or help your bid for employment. Obviously, if you held a PhD in Engineering and you were applying for a waitress job, you might want to leave that part out. Conversely, if you do not have a college education but you are applying for a position that recommends having one, you really need to talk-up the skills you have that make up for it. I have personally obtained a bachelor’s degree and can tell you that it really means nothing when determining future success in a career. Truth is that a lot of college grads plainly forget what they are taught and someone ambitious enough can simply learn the material themselves.
Increasingly, employers are looking for people who are engaged in community outreach or volunteer activities. This translates to an applicant that is selfless and goes above and beyond to help others, which fits nicely into an organization’s aims. Employers are also looking for problem-solvers, team players, effective communicators, and people who just show up to work on time and have a great attitude. Be sure to play up these traits in your resume. Now that you are armed with useful information on resume-building and strategizing, you should be more confident in applying for your next job. Good luck!