Nichol Aminata January 30, 2021 Resume
Your resume is the most important document you’ll submit in your job search. It’s your front-line fighter, so to speak, as it’s your first opportunity to present yourself to a potential employer. A strong resume can help you stand out from the crowd, but a weak resume can remove you from the running, so you want to do all you can to make sure your resume is the best it can be. It can be difficult to succinctly present all of your experiences and qualifications, but there are many ways to spruce up your resume without going overboard.
The best place to start when preparing to write a resume is to carefully read the job postings that interest you. As you apply for different jobs, you should study each job description for keywords that show what the employer is looking for in an ideal candidate. Include those keywords in your resume where relevant. For example, if you’re applying for a job as a medical billing coder, an employer might list keywords like “coding,” “claims submission,” “compliance” or “AR management” in the job description. Pay particular attention to anything listed in the sections labeled “Requirements” or “Qualifications.” If you have the skills that employers are looking for, you can add these same terms to your resume in the experience or skills sections.
Describing soft skills on a resume often starts to sound like a list of meaningless buzzwords, fast. But being a “strong leader” or an “effective communicator” are important characteristics you want to get across. Think about how you can demonstrate these attributes in your bullet points without actually saying them.
If you have plenty of professional experience and it’s your best selling point, place that above your education. On the other hand, if you’re a recent graduate with only an internship as experience, put your education at the top. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to arrange all your information on the page, try using a resume outline to help you organize the sections of your resume. Additionally, using a resume template with two columns can help you arrange your skills and education sections to best catch the hiring manager’s eye.
Perhaps the role you’re applying for is more administrative, even if it’s within a creative company, or the company isn’t so much a youthful start-up but more an established, formal enterprise. Applying for a role at an architecture firm or marketing company? Perhaps a more stripped-back resume design would be more fitting. This means no photos (or at the very least, no colorful cropped images from Facebook…but I’m trusting you wouldn’t subject any future employer to those anyway), no graphics, and no colors that’ll give a CEO a headache. Choose a classic sans serif typeface and keep the structure of your minimal resume conventional. Flush type to align left, to keep your text traditional in style. Allow for white space to make the whole design appear serene and professional. Use simple, thin lines (look to the Stroke Tools in Adobe software) to divide sections of content into manageable chunks. Use color sparingly—as a little pop of blue to mark out subheadings catches the eye without being overbearing.
As a rule, you should only show the most recent 10-15 years of your career history and only include the experience relevant to the positions to which you are applying. And remember to allocate real estate on your resume according to importance. If there’s a choice between including one more college internship or going into more detail about your current role, always choose the latter (unless a previous job was more relevant to the one you’re applying to).
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