Aida Maëlys January 30, 2021 Resume
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.
Taking the time to perfect your resume is normal if you want to get it right. But, don’t ignore the cover letter and make it an afterthought. It’s important to dedicate the same amount of time to the cover letter to make sure you’re tailoring it to the position and the company you’re applying to. Fonts and colors should be consistent with those used on your resume. The tone of voice should be professional. Although you’ll want to make sure not to sound like you’re copying and pasting the same information over and over.
You don’t need to include your address on your resume anymore (really!), but you do need to make sure to include a phone number and professional email address (not your work address!) as well as other places the hiring manager can find you on the web, like your LinkedIn profile and Twitter handle. (Implicit in this is that you keep these social media profiles suitable for prospective employers.)
”Don’t write a generic resume that could work for any job,” said Wes Lybrand, teacher and former assistant director at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Career and Professional Development Services. Be sure to prioritize your skills and qualifications for each job you try to land. Your resume ”should be focused, clear and concise.”
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.
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.
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